Think of your open house as a party. You have to consider the date, decorations, invitations, your guest list and so much more. Instead of having people rave about your party for weeks after, there will be home buyers talking about putting in an offer. Start prepping for success by following these steps.
Planning the party
- Date and time.
Avoid scheduling at a time when other big events are occurring such as holidays, sporting or local community events. Consider how you want to show the house depending on the time of day. Do you want to show off the great mood lighting in the evening or big windows that give off a lot of natural light during the day?
- Market the open house.
We’re in an era where we have many platforms to communicate our message. Don’t sell your open house short by limiting it to a sign outside the house. Consider the following tools to market your open house:
- Newspaper (print and online)
- Your website
- Social media
- Listing websites (Trulia.com)
- Printed invitations for the neighbors
- Word of mouth/Networking events
- Provide directional signage to your open house.
Place the correct signage outside the open house, on the “for sale” sign and arrowed signs around the neighborhood with the address and date. Attach colorful balloons to make your house stand out.
- Invite the neighbors.
The neighbors already love the area, why wouldn’t they refer a friend to the neighborhood? Referrals are the best way to gain new clients.
- Instruct your seller to clean, repaint and organize.
Show the home at its best by decluttering personal items (pictures, toys) and cleaning up behind closets and cabinets. If the home has nice wood floors, show them off by removing area rugs.
- Let sunshine in.
Open drapes and blinds and turn on lights in all the main rooms. Guests will feel welcome and find themselves in a well-lit and happy home.
- Don’t forget the outside.
The front yard, driveway and windows are the first things your guests will see as they arrive at your open house. Make them look good by trimming the landscaping and washing the windows. Clean windows also let in more light! Clear the driveway of debris and ensure there is ample space for parking.
- Provide simple snacks and drinks.
- Few people can resist a chocolate chip cookie, an easy and cheap standby.
- Cheese, crackers, cured meats and a nut mix. Easy finger food that isn’t too filling.
- Sparkling water. It’s refreshing and compliments any sugary or salty food.
- Hot cider. Great for warming up on a cold day and makes your buyers feel cozy.
- Provide the correct marketing material and informational packets.
This includes detailed listing information and extra warranty purchase options (like a Home Warranty Service Agreement).
- Ask for feedback post open house.
This will show that you care about what you do and help you improve your next open house.
HOW TO BE SAFE
- Work with a team member. Try not to be alone during an open house to avoid any issues.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged and has a decent signal. Have an emergency contact if something does occur.
- Know escape paths and procedures in case of an emergency.
- Lock up, secure or remove all valuables for the open house. This includes any pharmaceuticals, jewelry, alcohol and high-end electronics.
- Require all guests to sign in with their driver’s license.
- Escort guests around the open house, but give them enough room to avoid appearing suspicious. Let them lead so you are not caught off guard.
- Discourage guests from using the bathroom in the open house by closing or locking doors.
- Check all rooms and spaces before locking up and leaving the house.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Stage only one room in the house
Make sure to stage the entire house or the entire floor where the main open house is taking place. Don’t fully stage one room, but leave the rest of the rooms empty or messy.
- Cover things up by accident
Your guests might assume you are covering up negative aspects of the home or neighborhood. Avoid these:
- Overdoing air fresheners or cleaning supply scent (be aware of allergies)
- Playing music or the TV too loudly
- Leave right after the open house
Clean up after your guests, put items back in their place and make sure the current homeowner will be comfortable when they return.