An open house can be a little frightening for some sellers. Having a bunch of people stomping through their space, touching their belongings and possibly judging their lifestyle can feel invasive. If it doesn’t go well and multiple showings are needed, there’s the added stress of keeping the house perpetually clean (and having pets ready to whisk away) in anticipation of a last-minute showing. The good news is, if all goes well and the open house generates an appropriate offer, it may be the only one you need.
Your top priority for a successful open house includes these 3 main tasks:
#1 – Ease sellers’ fears of strangers invading their privacy.
#2 – Generate enough interest in the open house that you only need one.
#3 – Make the home look and feel irresistible!
Here are some tips for accomplishing your tasks in a snap!
Task #1 – Ease Sellers’ Anxiety
Lock up or remove valuables. This might seem obvious to you, but there are a few items sellers may not consider. They will most likely have credit cards, car keys, cash and IDs with them, but urge them to also hide anything that could contain personal information like bills, electronics, prescription medicines, etc.
Ask attendees to sign in. Just in case something DOES come up missing, make sure you have contact information for all potential buyers who enter the home. Have them show you their ID, as well, to avoid false representation.
Follow your instinct. If someone seems shady or tries to sneak off in the home on their own, kindly ask them to either stay with you or exit the home.
Task #2 – Generate Ample Attendance
Take advantage of technology. Utilize all of the online marketing search engines, PLUS social media, to get the word out. Be sure to list the open house on real estate sites like Realtor.com, Trulia.com, etc. According to a recent Bankrate.com article, “Realtor.com has a free real estate app for consumers. It finds and lists all of the open houses within a certain radius, with maps and directions to each. It includes salient features, such as asking price and number of bedrooms.” On all media outlets, include plenty of quality photos that emphasize the home’s best features.
Update your yard sign 2 weeks in advance. A simple sign rider with the date and time of the open house instantly alerts buyers of the upcoming opportunity. If these “drive-by” peepers don’t already have an agent, guess who can step in and take on both sides of the sale? That’s right — YOU!
Invite the neighbors. Letting the neighbors know about the open house through a personal invitation will encourage them to (a) invite their own friends to move in next door, and/or (b) meet potential new neighbors and tell them how much they love the neighborhood! They could be your best and cheapest promotional source.
Time it right. People often host open houses from 1-2pm or 2-4pm. But, according to Patricia Szot, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors and owner of Keller Williams Realty/Lake Cities at Firewheel, the sweet spot is really from 3-5pm — most likely the last open house of the day for buyers. “At the beginning of the day,” she says, “they are excited about all the houses they’re going to tour. They fly through them, eager to see the next one.” But toward the end of the day, if buyers are still looking, Szot claims that those open houses will receive more serious consideration
Task #3 – Stage and Show!
Amplify the entryway. Whether we like it or not, first impressions are everything. It all stems from the “Primacy Effect,” which is the cognitive bias towards remembering primary information received over latter information. Since the entryway is the first thing buyers see, it will leave the most memorable impression of the inside of the home. This could ironically be the seller’s most neglected area of the home, since they probably spend a minimal amount of time hanging out in the entry way. Remind your clients to clear cobwebs, sweep floors and maybe decorate the space with a well-placed flowering plant.
Take decluttering to the closets. This might be a tough one for sellers to stomach, but chances are, at least one of their closets will be opened and filtered through. Encourage them to pack up items that are out of season, and organize shoes and other items to make the closet look as appealing as possible.
Nail it on the first round with a thoughtfully-planned, strategically-marketed open house, and it could be the only advertising you need!