If you’re selling your home, hosting an open-house is likely on the horizon. They help you target the right buyers and make sure anyone walking through the door isn’t wasting your time or theirs.
An “open house” is when you do just that — open your house for any interested buyers to come in and see what your property is all about. Today, there’s a 95 percent chance that visitors have already seen your home’s specs online before they arrive.
Given this fact, you can follow these pointers for a winning open-house experience:
- Increase your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is just that — how appealing your property looks from the curbside. Newly planted in-season flowers, clean windows and facades, re-painted trim, a fully manicured front yard, getting rid of anything that could be seen as detracting, and a host of other inexpensive tricks can easily raise your home’s curb appeal. Don’t invest too much time or energy; just enough to make your home stand out. On a side note, make sure plenty of natural light and lamp light are glaring throughout your home, and don’t let any family or friends leave their vehicles parked in the driveway.
- Schedule your open-house appropriately, and have your real estate agent plan for multiple events on various days. You can target age demographics (young couples versus families versus singles) if your work-life schedule accommodates such a routine. Families are sometimes more prone to visiting a house on Saturday mid-morning or late afternoon/early evening on Sundays, and young couples can usually fit in a visit between the work day’s end and dinnertime on a weeknight. If those scheduling windows aren’t feasible for you, find a common denominator your real estate agent thinks will fit a variety of people’s schedules. Also, only host open-houses in the daytime — it’s safer, and it also displays your property’s features in a much better light.
- Promote your open-house and consider marketing the details differently depending on your audience. Again, demographics play a role in attracting different buyers in different seasons of life. How would younger first-time buyers get interested in coming to see your home versus a middle-stage family, versus an older couple with adult children? Besides the promotional plans your agent has in store, your own personal social media presence and good old-fashion word of mouth can play a huge part.
- Create a kid space. Put an all-ages, family-friendly movie on the living room TV and keep it on repeat, or offer a popcorn or candy-bag giveaway as children and young teens exit with their parents to reward them for being patient. You can offer much more than this, but simpler is probably better. Present just enough incentives for them to stay entertained while their parents take enough time needed to check out your home. Besides treating their kids to some fun, you’ll be keeping them out of the way of foot traffic and other adults mulling the premises.
- Have your real estate agent do a few videos from their phone. After you re-post them on your personal social media, have your friends and family promote them on their social media. Your agent can give quick glimpses of certain features of the house and show on-site buyer interest and activity as they move around the house in 20 to 30 second mini-clips. Such an approach not only creates real-time buzz, it can also attract first-time buyers who are oftentimes plugged into their social media connections and daily feed more than others.
- A nicely printed top-10 list of “why” you love the neighborhood. You can display it with any other real estate information sitting at a check-in table, dining room table, or elsewhere. Feel free to include photos of the front and backyard landscaping, different blooms and trees, flowers, botanical or vegetable gardens, bushes, and anything native, unique or interesting that comes and goes with the changing of seasons.
- Obtain your guest’s thoughts on a small, quick survey card. From what they’ve seen, do they think your home and property is properly priced? Is there anything they thought was inappropriate during the open-house? Is there anything they’d suggest changing? And most important, how interested are they in the home and why? Increase your chances of getting them to share their thoughts by asking for their email and telling them your agent will send updates if the price drops. Or you can just keep them apprised of what’s going on with the property if it’s on the market longer than expected.
- Have a tangible for folks to walk away with. Maybe it’s as simple as a flyer stating the “top reasons” list mentioned above. Maybe it’s a keychain, a mini flashlight or a USB computer flash drive. Whatever it is, attach a nicely written thank-you message with it. If they enter their email in the survey card mentioned above, you can enter them into a raffle drawing at the end of the event and promise to text-message an announcement if they won.
- Don’t attend your own open-house. Only your real estate agent should be there, not you! Having sellers attend their open-house is akin to a chef hovering over a restaurant table, staring at the establishment’s patrons. If your real estate agent needs assistance, they can bring a co-worker, or you can offer a volunteer to help coordinate and be of any assistance onsite.
- Don’t let a depressing first day rule your emotions going forward. Realize that your open-house is only ONE of many tools you have to sell your house. And remember that you can host as many open-houses as you want — and experiment with as many tips and tricks as you want along the way.
An open house can be a key part of selling your home. Utilizing these tips to maximize your open house opportunities and be sure to get the house sold as quickly as possible.