10 Tips for a Successful Open House

Here's a collection of actions you can take during an open house and immediately after to increase the payoff:

1. Don’t be a chatterbox. Greet your visitors, give them your card and a property brochure, and allow them peace and quiet while they tour the home.

2. Be honest about the home’s features and improvements. A seven-year-old roof isn’t “new,” although the owner may describe it as such. Many owners think any improvement they paid for themselves is “new,” even if it was made more than a decade ago.

3. Don’t drop vague hints about offers having been received for the home if that’s not the case. When the truth later comes out, the buyers may feel manipulated and back out of the whole transaction.

4. Make copies of presale home and termite inspection reports available to prospective buyers along with estimates of the costs for any needed repairs or fumigation.

5. If your state requires a disclosure form, have it completed ahead of time, and make copies available to prospective buyers.

6. Display photographs of popular neighborhood amenities (e.g., local parks and recreation center).

7. Have comparable sales data available.

8. Give visitors property information sheets with important facts about the home and the community. Examples include a flyer highlighting the home’s features, summaries of room size, lot size, taxes, and assessments; and a map showing the location of schools, hospitals, public transportation, libraries, supermarkets and other services and retailers.

9. Ask visitors for immediate feedback about the home. Also, use a guest book to collect visitors’ names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Follow-up with a telephone call or e-mail after the event.

10. Don’t forget to turn off the lights, close the drapes, remove the guest book and brochures, and lock up before you leave.

11. Provide visitors with a CD that includes information about the property, floorplans, views and anything else pertinent or unique about the home. This way they can review what they've seen and not just rely on memory.

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