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13 May Tips for a Flawless Open House: Do’s and Don’ts

If you search Google for anything related to open houses, you’ll find a fair number of people saying that open houses don’t sell homes. But, those people are actually wrong.

According to a study by the National Association of REALTORS®, 45% percent of buyers said they use open houses as part of their home search. Plain and simple, open houses help drive people to your home. And if you want to sell your house, the more people who see your home, the better. Still, you can increase the chances that your open house will draw qualified buyers (and maybe even an offer) by following these simple do’s and don’ts:

Open House Dos:

  • Advertise online: Ask your real estate agent how they’re planning to market your open house. There are a lot of great websites and apps people are using to find open houses in their area. Your real estate agent should be tech-savvy and engaged with these tools.
  • Promote with photos: An open house is dead-on-arrival without great photos to generate interest in your house. Make sure your listing features the best possible photography.
  • Capture drive-by traffic: Make sure your home is well-marked with a sign advertising your open house one week in advance. Your real estate agent may have a “rider” to add to your “For Sale” sign, too. Invite the neighbors; your neighbors are great salespeople for your home — they want friends to consider moving to the neighborhood and can help spread the word.
  • Stage for success: Showcase your home’s best features by staging with the right furniture, decor, lighting, and arrangements. A few simple touches like fresh flowers, table settings and the right lamps can really make a difference. Move furniture away from the walls and into “conversation” areas for a more inviting look.
  • Light it up: Buyers are drawn to bright and airy spaces. Make sure there’s enough natural and artificial light. A few well placed and decorative lamps can really warm up a room.
  • Let it shine: Outdoor photos should be taken when the sun is out. Let your REALTOR® know when your house captures the most sunlight to get the best shots to promote your open house.
  • Clean and declutter: Clean your house top to bottom. Make sure personal items are put away and that all that “stuff” you’ll get to someday is stored away and out of sight. Remember, buyers are focused on storage space. Be sure to clean and organize your closets, cabinets and drawers. Leave only a few dishes in the kitchen cabinets, and make sure closets aren’t filled to capacity. Keep the basement and garage as empty as possible. Buyers want to imagine themselves — not you — living in your house.


Open House Don’ts:

  • Attend your own open house: Buyers want a chance to explore your home without pressure and at their own pace. They may not feel comfortable asking questions with the homeowner present. Let your realtor handle the open house.
  • Waste money on expensive print materials: 90% of home buyers are searching for homes online, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Instead of spending your money on expensive flyers and brochures, advertise your open house where people are most likely to see it — online.
  • Leave your pets at home: Pets should go away during your open house — and so should their stuff. Pets can distract a buyer or make a wrong first impression.
  • Ignore the outside: With so much cleaning, organizing, and staging to be done,  it’s easy to overlook the outside of your home. But you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Scrub the outside of your home with soapy water. Clean the windows. Make sure your yard is clear of “stuff” like fallen branches and sports equipment. Mow the lawn. Trim any overgrown shrubs. Group some potted flowers and plants near the front door.
  • Tell people where they can and can’t go: If it’s too messy for people to see, you probably shouldn’t be having an open house. Buyers need a chance to see the whole house from top to bottom.
  • Wait until the last minute: Preparing for an open house is a lot of work. From marketing and advertising to decluttering, cleaning, and staging, there’s a lot that goes into a successful open house behind-the-scenes. Procrastinating could cost you a serious offer and a faster sale.


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