Selling your home? A successful open house is essential to attracting the right buyer. A truly great open house takes time, and it goes beyond popular ideas about "staging." Use these proven techniques to make an impression:
- Start Planning Early
When selling your home, it's never too early to get started. Your first open house should take place no later than the second weekend your home is on the market. It'll take some time for prospective buyers to find your listing one way or the other.
When it comes to an open house, no detail is too small. Consider things like lawn care, whether you want to offer cookies or a catered lunch, and how to keep kids and pets calm. The more thoughtful your presentation, the better.
- Hire a Cleaning Service
Even if you keep your home immaculate, it's tough to get out all the spots and stains from years of living. When selling your home, making sure it looks its best is crucial — would-be buyers need to be able to imagine their happy futures there!
There are two areas you should be especially careful about: the carpets and the exterior. Carpets can hold pollen and pet dander that might disturb some buyers. And, of course, a freshly pressure-cleaned exterior maximizes the home's curb appeal.
- Get the Word Out
Gone are the days when it was necessary to take out full-page newspaper ads to get your open house noticed. Now, it's simply a matter of making sure your real estate agent is posting them on all the top sites serious buyers look at regularly to find properties.
Still, you should take the time to advertise within your neighborhood — beginning a full week before your event. Starting from a radius of several blocks, put up signs that clearly direct visitors to the home. Tie off each sign with colorful balloons to get them noticed.
- Pick the Right Times and Days
These days, most open houses take place on Sunday. To get even more visitors, however, consider having two days of back-to-back showings. This will give people multiple weekend options. It can even motivate visitors to return on the second day with new ideas or questions.
Open houses traditionally start around 1 PM. . . but they don't have to. By starting later, you may make a stronger impact. That's because buyers are likely to look at several houses in a day and will more clearly remember the one they visited last.
- Have Something to Give Away
When executives look for a job, they bring something that makes an impression, like a portfolio of their top press clippings and achievements. By leaving it with the interviewer, they provide a memory boost that makes them look more attractive — you can do the same for your house.
Don't stop with the traditional baked cookies — have photos of the house from different times of the year, appraisals, and other valuable documents buyers can take away with them. They're much more likely to follow up since they'll have a concrete reminder of your property.
- Get Out of the Way
While there are many ways to get prospective buyers to linger and talk to your real estate agent, you don't necessarily need to be there. Some brokers actually prefer that the owner be away from the house to more effectively stay "on message." Coordinate with your broker — and if you go, be sure to take Fido or Fluffy along for the day.
Ask your real estate agent for more tips on how your open house with wow buyers. That way, you'll know you're on the right track.