5 strategies for a successful open house as states reopen
States are beginning to reopen, and Buyers are preparing to venture out for open houses. Though different states will have different restrictions, there are some universal steps that agents can take to protect themselves, Buyers and Sellers.
Sanitize for your open house, and let Buyers know about it
Keeping the home you’re showing clean is a given. But now, agents will need to go the extra mile to ensure that the houses they’re showing are sanitized. This means constantly wiping down high-traffic surfaces, offering hand sanitizer before and after viewings and encouraging Buyers to limit touching things in the house. There are several additional things you can do to keep your houses sanitized.
Ask Buyers to wear masks. As you market your open houses, think about requesting that all visitors wear masks. Although states may be lifting restrictions, wearing a mask in public is likely to be one of the last restrictions they lift. Rather than keeping people guessing (and potentially scaring Buyers away), make it clear what you expect from visitors regarding masks.
Have a specific viewing plan and schedule. Having a viewing plan and schedule can give Buyers more assurance that they’re safe at your open house. It also prevents large groups from congregating while they wait their turn to view the home. Your viewing plan can include how long Buyers can expect to be in the home, an outline of the rooms they’ll see in order and other expectations. As you create your viewing plan, be sure to highlight it for potential Buyers in your marketing. Consider holding open houses by appointment only so that you know exactly what to expect.
Bring extra pens. Having enough pens for everyone to take home is a win-win. It minimizes unintended contact among strangers (reducing the likelihood of spreading germs), which is the most important reason for having extra pens. It can also serve as a reminder of your brand to potential Buyers after they’ve left the home.
Consider going digital for handouts. Rather than printing out fact sheets, consider sending them to interested Buyers digitally. Doing this lets Buyers get the information they need without the risk of touching contaminated hard copies.
Keep pets and pests off the property
Recommend that your Sellers keep their pets off the property during an open house. Sellers should also clean up any pet waste, litter boxes or hamster cages, along with pet toys from around the house. Likewise, encourage your Sellers remove any signs of pests around the house, such as wasp nests or burrow holes.
Commit to exterior touch-ups
Small exterior touch-ups can make a big difference. Replacing sun-bleached house numbers or tattered welcome mats is a quick and easy touch-up Sellers can make. If the Seller has a rusted or worn mailbox, you might suggest they apply a fresh coat of paint or replace it outright (check with the United States Postal Service regarding size and construction specs). You can even recommend potted flowers on or near the front porch, but make sure the flowers are alive and healthy when open house day arrives.
Some slightly bigger touch-ups might include repainting or replacing the front door to make it stand out against the façade. If you notice worn sheetrock, advise Sellers to patch or replace it. You can also suggest new external light fixtures for an easy refresh and make the home look more welcoming.
Make minor internal improvements
Prior to the open house, encourage your Sellers to remedy small problems inside the house. Cleaning scuff marks off walls, removing carpet stains and fixing torn window screens are simple ways to show Buyers that your Sellers take care of the home. Sellers can also test things like ceiling fans, light bulbs and house fans (if applicable) to confirm that they’re in working order before the open house.
Let there be light
A well-lit home never goes out of style. If the Seller’s house has good natural lighting, accentuate it as much as possible. Encourage your Sellers to clean their windows and screens to allow the most light in. You can also use the home’s exterior lighting to further brighten doors and patios, even in the daytime.
Bonus open house tip: Recommend a home warranty
As Sellers reopen their homes to Buyers across the nation, protection will be an important factor in everyone’s decisions. A home warranty from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) can provide protection against systems and appliances breakdowns that occur from routine wear and tear. Seller coverage is complimentary where allowed by law ($60 in Florida) and protects the home during the listing period. And Buyer coverage can provide budget protection in case of unexpected breakdowns, putting them on steadier footing as they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.
2-10 HBW offers comprehensive systems and appliances home warranties to help protect your clients from unexpected repair and replacement costs. Contact us to learn more.