Are you ready to sell your home? Is the constant revolving door of potential buyers roaming through your home becoming overwhelming for you and your family? Have you considered dropping the asking price just to put an end to the sales process?
Before you give up, consider hosting an open house to sell your home. An open house could be the event that brings the right purchaser to your home who is willing to offer top dollar to buy your house.
What is an Open House?
Most home sellers are familiar with “showings” while they are trying to sell their home. Potential buyers wander through your home looking at every little detail to determine if they like your home well enough to purchase it. Sometimes you receive a few hours or even a few days’ notice of a showing so that you have time to straighten your home and make plans to be away from home. However, there are times when your realtor calls to tell you that a prospective buyer wants to visit in an hour, leaving you scrambling to clean the house and get out in under 60 minutes.
On the other hand, an open house is a scheduled event open to any individual interested in purchasing your home. Your realtor is present to answer questions and convince potential buyers that this is their “forever” home. Most open houses are limited to roughly two hours to encourage a large number of people to attend, which can create a sense of urgency and interest. Obviously, one of the benefits of an open house is the opportunity to attract more buyers. However, there are many other benefits of having an open house.
Benefits of Having an Open House
An open house might be a better option for you for several reasons, especially if you need to make a quick sale. The benefits of hosting an open house to market your home include:
- More advanced notice. As mentioned above, it can be difficult to maintain your home in “show” qualify, especially if you have children. When your real estate agent gives you an hour or two’s notice of a showing, it can be very stressful and frustrating. With an open house, you choose the date and time of the event. You usually have at least a few days, if not a week or longer, to prepare for the open house. This time gives you the opportunity to make everything as close to perfect as possible to attract a buyer. In addition, you have additional time to plan where you and your family will spend the afternoon or evening, while your real estate agent is hosting the open house.
- Increased interest and bidding wars. A potential buyer may not believe your realtor when she tells him that there is a great amount of interest in your home. However, when the buyers see a large group of people at an open house expressing interest in the home, it can create a sense of urgency to submit a bid. It is harder to ignore a crowd, especially if everyone is gushing over your home. In addition, an open house could create a bidding war between buyers who want to place a contract on the house. A bidding war can substantially increase the purchase price of your home.
- Reduce Cost and Inconvenience. Multiple showings take time and money. Instead of preparing your home for dozens of showings, you spend the time and money preparing your home for one grand showing. Because you are able to focus on one event instead of multiple showings, you can invest a greater amount of time and money in the open house. This investment can lead to an above-asking-price offer from a buyer. An open house also minimizes the level of disruption for your family. You can leave home for a few hours instead of repeatedly “getting out” for multiple shows.
- As a first-time buyer, attending an open house can be an educational process. You can learn a lot about the process of buying a house by asking questions and listening to the answers that other people receive for their questions from the realtor. In addition, attending several open houses over one weekend gives you the chance to contrast and compare homes while they are fresh on your mind. It also minimizes the time you must spend attending multiple showings.
- You are not the host. At your open house, your real estate agent is the host. It can be easier for a potential buyer to envision living in your home if the buyer does not associate the home with you. You can enjoy a nice dinner or an afternoon with your family while your real estate agent deals with the crowds at your open house.
If you have questions about an open house, discuss the pros and cons of this marketing tool with your realtor.
Preparing for an Open House
As discussed above, holding an open house gives you more time to prepare your home for the event. Some tips and suggestions for preparing for an open house include:
- Clean, clean, and clean some more. Buyers want to see a clean home. A thorough cleaning can make your home appear newer and fresher. Buyers like new and remodeled homes. If you are unable to invest the money into a remodel, deep cleaning your home can make a difference.
- Declutter. People need to be able to move freely throughout your home. You do not want a prospective buyer tripping over furniture or clutter. Therefore, you need to put away toys, sports equipment, recreational items, collections, and other items that create a cluttered appearance. You should also consider moving furniture or other items that could block access to areas of your home or make it more difficult for people to move easily throughout your home.
- Make it less personal. It is difficult for some people to envision living in a home when the entire house “feels like” someone else is living there. Obviously, you are living in your home, and a buyer knows this fact. However, you do not need to broadcast it during an open house. Replace family photos and personal items with tasteful décor. Removing family pictures and other mementos can make it easier for someone to see themselves living in this house.
- Store fragile items and expensive items. Even though you hope everyone attending your open house is there for the right reason, you cannot be too safe. You need to store and secure valuable items, such as jewelry and family heirlooms. Also, items that could break, such as fine china, should be stored during an open house. If there is something in your home that could not be replaced, like your child’s ceramic handprints, put that away to prevent accidental damage.
- Remember curb appeal can sell a home. When you are preparing for your open house, do not forget to take care of the front of your home. The outside of your house is the first impression a potential buyer has of your home, and it can be a substantial negative or positive impact. Freshen up the front of your home, cut the grass, plant flowers, store toys and equipment, and move your vehicles. You might want to consider power washing the driveway, sidewalk, and front of your home.
- Hide evidence of pets. Some individuals are so opposed to indoor pets that they could leave your open house if they see evidence of a pet. Put away your pet’s toys, bed, and bowls. Hide all evidence that you have a pet to be on the safe side.
- Pleasant aromas of home. Fresh baked bread and cookies are appealing scents that can make some buyers feel intense emotions that could translate into offers. Discuss the pros and cons of using inviting scents during your open house with your real estate agent.
Your real estate agent works closely with you to make your open house a success. Hiring a realtor is one of the best things you can do to increase your chance of selling your home for top dollar.
Unique Open House Ideas
To generate interest in your open house and attract a larger crowd, you might have to create a unique idea for your open house. We might as well face it and embrace the concept that our society likes gimmicks. If you think of a unique idea for an open house, you might be able to attract more people, thereby increasing the chance that you will get at least one bid at listing price or above.
There are many unique ideas for an open house, including throwing a themed open house (i.e. Christmas or Halloween) or making the open house like a party (i.e. children’s carnival in the backyard or an art exhibit).
Let use the example of setting up an open house to attract families with young children. If you live in an area that is attractive for families with small children, you can use that as a selling point. You can set up an area for children inside and outside of your home with games, activities, and snacks to encourage families to attend and linger to learn about the positive features of your home.
Some ideas include a reading area with a tea set in the playroom where you can have someone reading stories using hand puppets. Use this area to highlight the school district, daycares, private schools, and libraries in your area. Make sure to include brochures or handouts for these locations.
In the backyard, you can set up an area with chalk drawing, face painting, small games, and a lemonade stand. You can use this area to highlight the parks and recreational facilities close to your neighborhood. Finally, set up an area with a pretend doctor’s office, complete with baby dolls and doctor’s equipment. This area can focus on the excellent medical and healthcare facilities near your home. You can add as many areas as you can think of to highlight why your home is perfectly located for a couple with children.
Other unique ideas for an open house include:
- An art exhibition highlighting pieces from local artists and galleries (partner with galleries and artists to feature their work free of charge).
- Explore the tastes of the town by providing light snacks that are samples from various shops, cafés, and restaurants close to home.
- Hold a free raffle featuring items from small businesses in the area. You can offer to feature the business for free or discounted items to use at the raffle.
- Make goodie bags for adults and children featuring items that highlight the area. For adults, including information about schools, businesses, entertainment, security, restaurants, and recreational facilities.
The idea is to create an open house that highlights the best features of your home, your neighborhood, and the community.
What is a Broker’s Open House?
A broker’s open house is similar to a general open house with one exception — the people attending the event are not potential buyers, they are representatives of potential buyers. If you do not want your neighbors and every nosy person around wandering through your house just because you are trying to sell your home, a broker’s open house might be a better option for you.
Your realtor hosts other real estate agents and brokers to view your home during an open house. This gives buyer’s agents and brokers a chance to see the positive features of your home and discuss details with your listing agent without their clients listening or asking questions. It allows agents to discuss the finer details of your home.
In addition, by generating interest in the real estate community, you might receive more listings. Realtors usually show properties they are familiar with to their clients. Attending a broker’s open house is a chance for a buyer’s agent to become familiar with a home so he can pair the home with the right buyer.
If you want to host an open house or a broker’s open house, you should discuss the idea with your listing agent. The agent can give you practical advice on whether an open house is a good option for selling your home.
This information is provided courtesy of The Eastside Real Estate Team. Keep us in mind for all your real estate needs. Call us today at 425-200-4093.