How to Plan for a Successful Open House

Young couple speaks with realtor outside home after showing

Holding an open house is a great way to get people interested in your new home.

For many homeowners, the decision to put their house on the market is just the first step in a process that can be full of stressful moments and to-do lists. One important part of the old home selling process is hosting an open house.

Many dread this part for various reasons, such as a fear of not having many people show up to concerns about how the agent they’ve enlisted to help with the open house is handling things.

While there isn’t just one set of open house blueprints available, there is a multitude of ways that homeowners can achieve the goal of a successful open house.

1. Don’t be at your open house

One suggestion that many realtors and real estate agents give their homeowner clients may feel like the toughest one to follow: don’t be there when potential buyers arrive. It helps to prevent discomfort, as explained by Maryann Reid of LG Fairmont in New York City.

“It could be uncomfortable for clients to hear others critique their space,” Reid said. “Home buyers may also feel uncomfortable being open and honest about their opinions. If that happens, then neither I or my client have a good idea of what they are thinking.”

This way, the agent helps the client to effectively separate themselves from the idea that they’re being appraised along with the house.

2. Make your guests feel like they are already home

Brett Ari Friescher of Lee & Associates Residential feels that tapping into how the homeowner feels works best. “My main tip is to show the home as if the prospective buyer were going to be having guests over for dinner,” he explained. “Make sure everyone feels welcome as residential real estate can be an emotional process, meaning that a rude broker can alienate people from the home. “

3. Advertise, advertise, advertise

Marketing is a prime piece of the open house puzzle that can lead to highly successful results. For Nicole Charles of eXp Realty based in Madison, Wisconsin, being on the ground goes a long way. “My team door-knocks the neighborhood about two to three days before the open house,” she explained. “Now, your neighbor isn’t exactly looking to buy your home, but they’re good resources in terms of spreading the word around. Plus, they’ll provide detailed feedback on the neighborhood itself to prospective buyers.”

This way, people will have flyers to pass on in addition to the signs that the real estate agent will post around the neighborhood on the day of or the day before the open house. A knowledgeable agent will also be hard at work marketing the property and the open house up to five days in advance on resale home websites. Social media is also a key tool,as some utilize Facebook for advertising open houses. 

One other key factor to consider to guarantee a good turnout? Great photography. As Ms. Charles states from her experience, “if your realtor is taking photos only with a cellphone of the property, you might need a new realtor.”

4. Clean up

When it comes to the open house itself, do a bit of tidying up beforehand. As Lisa Rowe of Century 21 New Millenium advises, “Less is more! Uncluttered, clean areas are more appealing.” It’s also wise to secure your valuables and other items like firearms if you have them in the home.

Want more advice on how to clean up your home? Read: “How to Prepare for an Open House.”

5. Set a clear day-of plan

An open house should typically last from two to four hours. Having it longer than that can stifle the flow of potential visitors – a more concise period of time spurs more interest. Also, the realtor shouldn’t be manning the open house by themselves if they can help it and have information that gives an overview without too much detail readily available such as a general factsheet to those who patronize the open house.

With these sage tips in mind, having a successful open house is an achievable goal and it will remove one less headache for those on a mission to sell their old home.

Christopher A. Smith is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience covering stories and developing trends in the technology and music industries. He is enjoying writing about new homes, home design and everything else home related.

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