Preparing for a Successful Open House
TIP: Not every home needs or will benefit from an open house. In a sellers’ market, you may be able to sell the house before you can get the open house arranged. Also, devoting an entire afternoon to one property may not be a good use of your time.
Success with open houses depends a great deal on your prep work. Here are some items for your open house checklist.
- Make sure the date and time of the open house don’t conflict with a major holiday or sporting event.
- Make sure the date and time of the open house don’t conflict with other events being held in the neighborhood on that day.
- Plot a road map to the home from the nearest major streets and decide where you’ll place your flags and directional signs. Allow yourself time to put the flags and signs in place in advance of the open house starting time.
- Familiarize yourself with other for-sale homes in the neighborhood, and be ready to answer questions about how the home you’re holding open compares with them.
TIP: Once the listing is signed, work with the sellers to develop a list of repairs and cleaning they will complete by the open house. Set a deadline several days before the open house and call sellers the day before the deadline. —Barb Schwarz, author of How to List and Sell Residential Real Estate Successfully.
- Encourage the sellers to vacate the premises during the event, but keep you informed of their whereabouts in case an offer for the home materializes.
- Ask sellers to arrange for pets to be away from home during the open house.
- Showcase the home by opening the drapes or window blinds and setting out fresh or artificial flowers.
- Encourage the sellers to call in a professional cleaning service the day before the event.
- Advise sellers to put away any jewelry, valuables, or items with great sentimental value.
- Practice your presentation of the home. Walk through the home and familiarize yourself with its features. Anticipate prospective buyers’ questions and objections, and be ready with your replies.
- Arrive early. Allow yourself ample time to resolve any last-minute problems or glitches in your plans and get settled in the home before the first visitors arrive.
- Contact a lender prior to the open house and ask him or her to be available to prequalify any buyers who may be interested in making an offer to purchase the home.
TIP: If sellers are resistant to making repairs, explain how much more they will realize if the house sells rapidly and at full list price.
- Plan to work with other salespeople holding open houses near yours. Refusing to cooperate with the competition won’t prevent prospective buyers from visiting those homes.
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