Unless you’re a real estate agent you’re probably not used to hosting an open house. Honestly the whole concept can be a little bit weird, you’re letting a bunch of strangers into your own home or you’re visiting the home of a total stranger. This is a weird necessity, open houses are a part of the selling process and they are essential to both sellers and buyers. Let’s go over some of the do’s and dont’s when having or attending an open house
Warn your neighbors about your open house! And while you’re at it, make sure to invite them. They may not know that your house is on the market and they could potentially invite friends or family that might be interested in purchasing a home next to them. They can also provide some positive feedback on the neighborhood. It also just common courtesy since you will might have a good flow of traffic flowing through and can affect parking and ambient noise.
Prepare yourself. It’s important to put your best foot forward just like you would if you were going on a first date or a job interview. You’ll probably spend the extra time grooming yourself and picking the perfect outfit. This is the same with a home, if there has been little home improvements here and there that you’ve been putting off, this is your chance to fix that. Make sure the house is neat and clean.
Set expectations. Is there any parts of the house that are off limits? Why are they off limits? Do you have a price range that you need the house to be listed at? What comes included with the house? These are all things that you need to consider before hosting an open house. As someone who is visiting you should know all these things because you have a budget that needs to be met. If a real estate agent is handling your sale or purchase, they need to have all this information ahead of time. If they don’t then they may not be doing their job properly.
If you’re the homeowner, don’t be at the house. Have your real estate agent or someone else present to answer any questions. It is not customary for the homeowner to be there because they are attached emotionally. A third party will treat an open house as a business transaction which is exactly what you want. Also, you don’t want to give a specific impression of the type of person that lives there, you want the house to be treated as a blank slate. The visitors can form a biased opinion on the house based on the homeowners presence.
Give short notice. If you want a have a high success rate you need to give people plenty of warning that an open house is happening in your neighborhood. Use tools like social media and real estate websites to get the word out. Let your neighbors and your association know (if you have one). Place the appropriate signs in advance with a date as an indication. This will give people the chance to plan on attending.
Wait until last minute. Be prepared and have a gameplan. Place things in storage in advance, make sure you have no unexpected visitors, clean ahead of time and make home improvements prior to the event. The last thing you want is a prospective buyer is having doubts on a possible buy if the home owner is unorganized.
There are more things to consider with open houses but this could serve as quick guideline that resonates with my experiences as a realtor of many years.
WandaFears, Realtor ABR CRS GRI WCR
Richmond, Va. Long and Foster Realtors