Finding your dream house can be an arduous process, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Likewise, putting your home up on the market can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re hoping to get the best price you can. In both situations, one of the best tools out there to connect buyers to sellers is the tried-and-true open house, a traditional approach that’s often led to great results for house hunters and property sellers alike.
But open houses can be a lot of work, and this goes for not just organizing a home and getting ready to show it but also for buyers to get all the information about a home they’re looking at. That’s why we’ve come up with a great collection of open house tips for both home buyers and home sellers to help you get ready for your own open house.
Let’s face it: looking through MLS sites is a great place to start when it comes to a house hunting journey, but even a property with the most attractive listing with dozens of beautiful pictures isn’t going to be enough to convince you whether this property is the one for you. You need to see it in person, walk around the space, and get a feel for the home with you standing inside it – and that’s exactly what an open house offers you the opportunity to experience. That is, of course, if you approach your open houses with the right things in mind.
There are plenty of open houses from which to choose, though, and trying to squeeze in as many as possible is going to just leave you exhausted and unable to make any kind of choices or evaluations. When scheduling open house visits, limit yourself to just one or two a day, make sure they’re all in close proximity to each other, and leave yourself plenty of time to explore each property and ask questions of the real estate agents you meet there. Finally, make sure you spend some time looking learning about the neighborhood itself and finding out information about local school districts. Even if you don’t have kids, this can be a great indicator of the overall quality of the neighborhood.
Home sellers have their work cut out for themselves when it comes to staging a property for an open house. You’ve got to ensure that the home looks warm and inviting, isn’t overly cluttered, and, of course, is clean and spotless. If you’ve already moved out, consider investing in a home staging service to dress the property so that prospective house hunters don’t have to imagine what the property would look like with furnishings. Yes, it’s an added expense, but if it helps sell your home faster - and at a higher price – such an investment is obviously worth it.
Even if this is the umpteenth time you’ve sold a property, do yourself a favor and defer to the real estate agents you’re working with. They’re professionals, and they’ve got even more successful home sales under their belt than even you do – they have the resources and expertise necessary to ensure any open house you hold is going to attract plenty of attention that will hopefully lead to a sale. And above all else, be sure to make yourself scarce during open houses! You might feel like it would be beneficial for you to be present during an open house to help answer questions and showcase the features of your property, but you could end up influencing potential buyers negatively. Likewise, remove any personal photos of your family for the same reason.
If there’s anything that the 21st century has taught us is that not everything has to be done in person. Remote technologies have made it easier than ever to host a virtual open house or virtual tours, and these technologies were proven time and again during the COVID-19 outbreak, allowing house hunters to still get a good idea of a home they were interested in buying without possibly exposing themselves to any unnecessary health risks. Keeping this in mind, both buyers and sellers can enjoy virtual open house tours in safety and security.
Still, it’s always a good idea to see and show a property in person. While COVID fears are still lingering, this can be a frightening proposition at times, but there are ways to offer and receive additional protection. Wearing a medical-grade N95 mask during an open house is always helpful, and home sellers can have complimentary masks and hand sanitizer available for any visitors stepping through their doors. Additionally, products such as MicrAgard fabric are leading the way in infection control with its superior properties of being anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and over 97% effective against COVID. A little peace of mind in this area is most certainly worth it!
As one of the most powerful tools for connecting home buyers with house hunters, the open house is invaluable and needs to be part of your plan, no matter whether you’re looking to buy or hoping to sell. Whether you’re a buyer taking the traditional route of visiting a home that’s been opened up to the public, if you’re a seller leveraging new mobile technologies to create interactive virtual tours of your property, or developing a hybrid approach that provides the safety and security of limited contact ads part of the pandemic response, there are nearly countless ways you can prepare for a positive experience during an open house.
Thank you for your advice to limit your open houses to one to two a day. We're buying our first home and have been thinking about looking at houses now that we're pre-approved for a loan. I'll be sure to remember this while we start looking at some of our options.