How to Hold a Successful Open House
By ForSaleByOwner.com staff
When real estate agents hold open houses, they are trawling for new clients. Your house is just the stage for their self-promotion.
When you hold an open house, buyers know that you’re about selling this house, now.
Here’s how to get the most marketing value from your open house.
- Make Sure Your House Is Ready: Just because you put your house on the market doesn’t mean it’s ready for inspection by prospective homebuyers. Your house has only one chance to make a great impression, so make you do a thorough cleaning and make any minor home maintenance projects that would make it more aesthetically pleasing. For helping locating skilled professionals in any home improvement area, visit our free “Find a Pro” section.
- Weekends are Best: Open House are traditionally held on non-holiday Sundays between 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Let people know that you’re having an Open House by placing ForSaleByOwner.com directional yard signs at key intersections. ForSaleByOwner.com sellers can also advertise their Open House on their online property listing by accessing their account, which will help attract buyers looking for upcoming Open Houses.
- Have an Open House When Others Are: Time your open house to take advantage of traffic drawn by other open houses. Because you’re not relying on a broker to get the word out at her own convenience, you can react quickly, through social media, Craigslist and e-mail marketing.
- Stage Your Home: People arrange their furniture and decorations based on their family’s lifestyle and tastes, but buyers are mostly attracted to homes that appear spacious. Stage your house so it makes a good first impression…and brings them back for a second look.
- Create a Sign-In Sheet: Create a simple sheet that asks people to provide their name, phone number and e-mail address. This enables you to follow up with them after the open house.
- Print Our Property Flyers: Print out plenty of copies of your ForSaleByOwner.com property flyer so that prospective buyers have information on the house and your contact info.
- Offer Refreshments: One of the oldest tricks of the trade is baking cookies right before an Open House. It gives the house a pleasant aroma of baked goods and the treats give people a reason to stay and ask questions about the house, which will provide you with more opportunities to talk about its features. Put the cookies in the kitchen so visitors will follow their noses from the front entryway into the house.
- Use Fresh Flowers Strategically: Is there a better way to complement your home’s beauty with a vase of freshly cut flowers? Buy them from a local florist so that when people inevitably remark how nice the flowers are, you can ease into a conversation about the terrific shops and restaurants located in your community and the area’s great quality of living. Place the flowers deep inside a room so that visitors will be drawn in. You can also use the flowers to draw attention to a room’s features — such as a bay window — and draw attention away from an awkward element — such as an unattractive radiator.
- Keep a Professional Mindset: Visitors may make comments about what they do not like about the home. They may ask critical or pointed questions about the quality, age or brands of finishes and appliances. Remember…it’s not your house any more. When people make comments, stay neutral and respond with factual answers.
- Answer Questions About The House: You can never anticipate the wide range of questions that a prospective buyer might ask about the house and local community, but be prepared to answer questions about property taxes and the age of the roof, heating and cooling units, and major appliances. For questions that you don’t know the answer to, tell that you’ll call them with an answer.
- Find Out If an Interested Party is Pre-Approved: Not every person who comes through your house will be interested. But for those who ask questions indicating that they might be, don’t be afraid to inquire if they are pre-approved for a mortgage. If they are not, recommend that they contact a financial lender or a mortgage broker to take the necessary steps. Insist on proof of their pre-approval before spending more time on a private showing.
- Follow-Up: Within a day of your open house, send a “thank You” email to everyone who took the time to visit your house. Include a link to your ForSaleByOwner.com listing and ask if they had any questions regarding the house. A few days later, call up each person who visited your open house and – in a friendly manner – ask if they are considering your house. If they are not, thank them for their time and ask if they have any feedback that might make the house attractive to other buyers. For those who are interested, offer them the opportunity to come back. with their pre-qualification documents. Without getting your hopes up, be prepared by getting state-specific real estate forms needed to begin the formal sales process.