It may still be winter, but Open House season will quickly be upon us. We were just blessed by several more inches of snow, bringing the Detroit area total to just over 77 inches. That’s good for third most in a single winter, at least since they started recording this type of information. Temps are expected to get as high as the 40’s this weekend for the first time in months. While we cannot yet put away the snow shovels or winter coats, we can start to plan for the warmer weekends of he not distant future. Better weather will release the pent up home-buyers who have been waiting for the weather to break to get out there and make the dreams come true! If you are selling a home, it’s time to start planning for the Open House.
An open house is one way that REALTORS® attempt to expose a home to multiple buyers at once. It is also a fairly common event for many going For Sale By Owner. Not only is an open house designed to market the home in a way that differs from a simple listing, but it also opens the door for competitive offers as more than one buyer could potentially fall in love with a home on the same day.
Step # 1: Make Your Home Shine
A successful open house begins with cleanliness, so make sure that your home is ready to be shown. This means the clutter should be removed and the home should be “staged” to allow potential buyers to envision themselves living in a beautifully decorated home.
Step # 2: Cross Your T’s & Dot Your I’s
Your next step to an open house is making sure that the price is right. If the day is successful, you may be fielding offers within hours, so be ready to make a deal. Most open houses are advertised locally in order to attract buyers looking to move into the area, which means a newspaper ad or an ad on a hyper-local news site may have a lot of potential. (I’m so incredibly upset about AOL selling the Patch, but that’s another topic) The advertisement should feature at least one high quality photo, along with text that outlines all of the unique and positive aspects of the home. The date, time and clear directions should also be given in the ad, along with contact information. Before your ad goes to press, make sure that you have proofread it to ensure accuracy. If you’ve hired a REALTORS® make sure they are handling this on your behalf.
Step # 3: Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal
As buyers begin to show up for your open house, they will want to see attractive landscaping with an inviting atmosphere. If the snow still hasn’t melted, make sure it has been removed from walkways and entrances. This will make them eager to see what’s inside the home. The front yard should feature an Open House sign with colorful balloons, but don’t forget to place signs along the street (with permission, of course) to help potential buyers find you.
Assuming you’ve waited until spring is in full gear, make sure the lawn is freshly cut and flower beds are well kept. Any clutter, including bicycles or yard care equipment should be removed to produce a visually pleasing image of the home. Make sure your windows and doors are sparkling clean and free of fingerprints. Nothing should distract buyers from the prize, which is your house.
Step # 4: Feed Your Guests
It’s customary for every open house to have complimentary coffee or other refreshments and/or cookies. The smell of freshly baked cookies will give buyers the feeling of being at home—exactly the type of reaction you want when trying to sell your home.
Step # 5: Reading Material Is Golden
Your REALTOR® should provide a business card and/or informational sheet for each potential buyer that tours your home. If this is not a service that they offer, you may have hired the wrong REALTOR®! Since you’d be under contact, you best option is to take a few minutes to design your own flyer using a computer and print out some full-color circulars to offer interested parties as they arrive. You should also provide copies of any appraisal, inspection or other information about the home that potential buyers would find interesting.
We hope your Open House is a successful endeavor!