Open houses can be a great way to show off a property to many potential buyers all at once, but you want to be careful to leave a good impression. USA Today describes common open-house mistakes that could be a turn-off to would-be buyers. Among some of the common mistakes it notes:
1. Half-baked staging: “If you’re going to professionally stage your house, stage the whole house or at least one entire floor,” USA Today says. Maureen Reddy, a professional stager and owner of DaVinci Designer Gallery in Winthrop, Mass., says it can be jarring to see two elegantly designed rooms followed by an empty dining room or den.
2. Music: "At best it is distracting," says Rona Fischman, owner of 4 Buyers Real Estate in Somerville, Mass. "At worst, buyers will get suspicious that there is more road noise or mechanical noise or neighbor noise that you are covering up."
3. Lack of marketing materials: Have information packets available for buyers to take with them and make sure you don’t run out of copies, says Elizabeth Weintraub, with Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, Calif. If buyers don’t have anything to take with them, the house can become forgettable.
4. Strong odors: Bypass heavy air fresheners and aromas of cleaning products like bleach, which can be a distraction and make buyers question what smell you’re trying to cover up. "You only get one opportunity to make a first impression and if the impression is an overwhelming smell, you lose," says Fischman. "Whether it's cookies or disinfectant, if it is noticeable, and not merely background, buyers will notice."
5. Left-out valuables: Tell your sellers to make sure they lock up their jewelry, prescription medications, and any valuables prior to the open house. The seller risks losing something when valuables are left in plain sight; and then that raises needless suspicion where everyone who visited the open house then becomes a suspect, which could sour any potential deal with an innocent buyer, Fischman says.
6. The wrong temperature: Keep the house comfortable -- warm but not hot in the winter and cool but not cold in the summer, agents advise.