Open House? 8 Best Practices You Need to Know

Open HouseDo open houses really work? 

Some realtors swear by them…others say they’re a waste of time.

Obviously, as a seller, it’s your choice, but if you and your realtor do opt for an open house, consider the following best practices.

These “do’s and don’ts” reflect the experiences of countless sellers and their realtors across a wide variety of markets, so as is the case with any marketing effort…choose what you think will work for your situation, and ignore the rest!

1. Put away personally identifiable items

Family calendars are great…unless they’re left out for anybody and everybody to see that you’re going on vacation at the end of the month.

While most people who visit your open house are either seriously interested in looking at it (or are simply curious) why take a chance? 

Besides…you want a potential buyer to envision living in the home themselves, so for that reason alone it’s a good idea to put away any and all calendars, personal photos, etc. that could tell visitors anything about you and your family.

 

2. Secure valuables

Secure anything you don’t want to lose, especially if it’s something that can be easily tucked into a pocket.

Your realtor should advise you to stow items such as:

  • ◆jewelry and/or watches
  • ◆small electronics
  • ◆computers
  • ◆prescription drugs
  • ◆cash
  • ◆guns
  • ◆collectibles

Lock them up on site, and for larger items consider putting them in a secure, off-site storage unit.

3. Think safety

Ask your realtor if another agent will be on site during the open house. This is for the security of the agent as well as your home.

Sometimes criminals will take the opportunity to “inventory” a home during an open house. They’ll have one person speak with the realtor while the other one tries to roam through the house unescorted.

That’s why two sets of eyes are always better than one…especially when the open house brings a lot of people to your door.

4. Lock up afterwards

Your realtor should lock up after the showing, after confirming that any valuable item you couldn’t secure, is still where it’s supposed to be.

They should also go throughout your home to ensure that all windows and doors are securely fastened and to be certain that everyone has left the home (and the backyard).

5. Stay away

You wonder what the buyers think about your home. You wonder if anyone is interested enough to make an offer…you wonder if anybody came at all!

Yes, it’s tempting to drop by…but don’t!

Serious buyers will be put off when they know that you’re there…after all, they’re “tearing your house down” in order to try and get it for a lower price. That’s simply part of the negotiating process, but if you’re there, you’re interfering with the process, and potentially losing the sale.

6. Consider the season

Have a pool? Make the most of it, and book your open house in the summer.

It’s been shown that buyers will rate homes with swimming pools and air conditioning higher during the summer than during other times of the year.

Stage your pool with beautiful outdoor furniture and ice cold lemonade refreshments and you may start a bidding war!

7. Reduce friction 

Make it very easy for buyers to access your property.

Ensure that they’re able to look at every room, closet, basement, attic or area of the yard (unless their safety would be at risk).

Don’t make prospective buyers jump through hoops to see your property…have your realtor set open house hours, during the same times that other homes are being viewed to reduce any friction between your home and it’s potential new owner.

8. Remember the neighbors

Yes your neighbors will probably want to drop in.. so let them. Even better, invite them. Very often, your neighbors will know somebody who wants to live in the neighborhood who may be interested in your home.

Finally, it’s also the neighborly thing to let them know about the open house. After all, it’s not fun to have a normally peaceful Sunday afternoon interrupted by the buzz of traffic and people up and down the street – if your neighbors know about the event ahead of time they can make arrangements to be elsewhere if they’d like.