Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Holding an open house is an important part of the home selling process, but it's more involved than a couple of balloons on a sign. Your agent, if you're working with one, will have an open house plan, but that doesn't mean you can't help out as well! Here is a list of simple things you can do to make your open house stand out from the rest.

1. Declutter

The goal of an open house is to get people to look at your house, not all your possessions! Having too much clutter can draw focus away from the house and make it appear smaller than it actually is. Pack up anything you don't need on a daily basis and put it in an out of the way place.

2. Remove Personal Items

Pack up all your photos, drawings on the fridge, awards, trophies, and anything else that says you live there. You don't want people to feel like they're walking through someone else's home. Removing personal items will allow them to imagine their own family living there.
The other personal items you should remove are prescription medications, mail, and anything that contains personal information.

3. Open Up the Room

People are drawn to a home that has an open, airy feel. To create this, experiment with rearranging your furniture to create an easy flow from one room to the next. Pull couches and chairs away from windows and door ways, people should be able to get to these areas easily. Be sure people can walk through without having to navigate around a piece of furniture. 

4. Let the Light In

Open all the curtains and blinds, and turn on all the lights in the house. If there's a fireplace have a fire burning in the fall and winter, it's a great way to make a house feel warm and inviting on a dreary day.

5. Make it Spiffy Clean

Potential buyers will scrutinize every nook and cranny in your house, so it's best to get in them first and clean them out! Clear the cobwebs out of the corners, wash the fingerprints off the windows, and wash the walls (unless you've just painted). Expand your cleaning outdoors to porches, balconies, and decks. Hose them down, sweep away dirt and leaves, and remove spider webs. 

6. Clear Out the Garage and Basement

Many people believe it's OK to use their garage or basement as a place to store already packed boxes and other such belongings, but this can be unappealing to potentials buyers. Clean out both of these areas so they appear wide open and large. If you have some boxes, stack them neatly against one wall. Do not leave bottles of chemicals, rodent traps, dirty gardening tools, or any other such things, lying around in these areas. Always keep the garage door closed, it creates better curb appeal when people first show up. 

7. Think Outside the Box

Potential buyers can sometimes feel a little awkward walking around another person's house, especially if they're the only ones in there, so think of some ways to make them more comfortable. One way to do this is by eliminating the silence with background music. Choose family friendly music and play it at a low volume, just loud enough that it's noticeable, but not so loud that it becomes a disturbance. If your open house is on a Saturday morning have some cartoons playing for the kids. Instead of setting cookies out have something a little more enticing, like doughnuts, cupcakes, or even pizza. There are no rules here, so be creative!

8. Create Curb Appeal

The outside of your home is the first thing people see when they show up, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Mow your lawn the night before and clear it of any toys, sprinklers, and gardening tools. Keep the walkway clear of hoses and other things people may trip over. Use a lawn edger around sidewalks, walkways, and garden beds. Pull out dead or dying plants and replace them with fresh flowers. Lay down a new layer of mulch around trees and flowers, and cut back shrubs that may be growing over the walkway. If necessary put a fresh coat of paint on the front door to make it more inviting. 

9. Call Your Friends and Family

Now that your house is all set up you'll want to get some people in there. Call all your friends, family, members of social organizations, basically anyone you can think of, and let them know you're having an open house. It's OK if they're not looking to buy, they may have friends and family of their own who are! Suggest that they take a moment to think of anyone they know who might be in the market for a new home and encourage them to let these people know about your open house. 

Well that's it, the recipe for a perfect open house! Remember that the main reason for holding an open house is to let people know you have a great house for sale, it's not to find a buyer. In fact, only about 1% of homes actually sell at an open house, so don't be disappointed if you don't get any offers. This is simply a method of advertising your product, and if done correctly the offers will come soon after!

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