Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

Once you have decided to sell your home, one of the first things your real estate agent will do is schedule your open house. An open house is a showing of your home and property where prospective buyers can drop by and visit during a certain day and time. This is a proven way to get buyers interested in placing a bid or offer on the house quickly. More offers lead to getting a sale close to – or even above – your listing price at closing. When the date for the open house draws near, there are some proven ways to prepare your home to look its very best.

 

Boost the curb appeal: Be sure that the lawn is freshly mowed if it is during the spring or summer months. Clean up any yard damage from play or pets, fix fences, or even hire a landscaper to spruce things up around the yard. Do not assume that a buyer will see the potential in your property; rather, show them an inviting entrance to a home.

 

Kick the clutter: Clean it up! Sellers sometimes think that a buyer will be attracted to a homey atmosphere. This is a common mistake. Prospective buyers aren’t interested in seeing how the current inhabitants live. Instead, a buyer wishes to envision him or herself living in the home. So, avoid excessive knick-knacks, store excess furniture and any valuables in a storage locker or friend’s home, and put fresh towels in the restroom. A professional carpet cleaning or a coat of paint can also go a long way towards impressing the next owner.

 

Make other plans: Owners, their children, and pets should not be present for the open house. Many sellers find this uncomfortable, as they worry about their belongings and wish to supervise or answer questions. While this is a perfectly normal way to feel, it does make the buyers less likely to make an offer. They will feel disinclined to voice their honest opinions of your property to the agent.

 

A successful open house can culminate in multiple offers and a faster sale. A great agent will help with tips specific to your home’s unique appeal and be your guide through the process.

 

Staging 101: Taking Advantage of Spring

Staging 101: Taking Advantage of Spring

Spring has finally arrived and with it better months for home sales. Realistically speaking, those looking for homes in the winter are usually desperate to make a change for a specific reason – a move for a new job or a lease ending. But those who have been too busy with the holidays or unwilling to come out in the cold will soon resume their serious house hunts and you’ll definitely want to be ready.

Clean the House

Seriously. We shouldn’t have to say it but it’s a given. Scrub the house down, wash the windows, wipe down the walls, have the rugs cleaned, and consider having someone come out to power-wash the outside as well. Melting snow and salt can leave an unsightly layer of grime on your home and you’ll want it to look nice.

Cleaning does not mean shoving stuff under your bed or into a closet, either. People will want to look there – at least in the closets! Declutter and get rid of anything you don’t need. Pro tip: pack away and store your winter clothes so that those who do open your closets don’t see all of the bulky items taking up space.

Evaluate Your Interior Decorations

Warm, dark colors make a home feel cozy in the winter, but they make it feel drab during the warmer months. Swap out some of your darker decorations for lighter, brighter colors. You can do this with a simple throw rug or blanket, some brighter pillows, and some bright flowers. Make sure you’re keeping your windows open so the natural light can shine in, too.

Gardening and Landscaping

Make sure your lawn is kept nice by scheduling regular maintenance – whether that means doing it yourself or hiring professional help. Have your bushes trimmed and proceed with your regular spring planting schedule. Bright flowers, a manicured landscape, and even a decorative flag or welcome sign will give your home an added bit of curb-appeal. Potted plants work great on steps and in garden areas and will detract from the fact that your trees and other plants may not be in full bloom yet. Pro tip: avoid wreaths during the spring months as the design tends to remind people of the holidays.

Not sure where to start? Your real estate agent can and will walk through your home and help you determine what areas need attention. It’s not always easy to have someone else tell you what changes to make or what personal items to put away, but great staging is key to a successful year – no matter the season.

Making the Most of an Open House

As a prospective buyer, open houses are a wonderful opportunity to drop by, view a home and meet others in the neighborhood in a semi-relaxed environment. The advantage to an open house is that it’s completely open, and you can drop by during the specific window without an appointment or even being a serious buyer. Below are helpful tips for making the most of an open house.

Attend open houses early on in your search.

Before committing to a realtor, attend a few open houses and get a feel for the market. Seeing what homes are on the market, what they look like on the inside and how much they are selling for are all important criteria to learn about. Plus, it puts you in a position where you can meet realtors and agents who may be a good fit for your needs.

Introduce yourself when you walk in.

Prospective buyers are often concerned that if they sign in, they’ll be hassled for the next few months by the realtor. This can happen, but it’s not the norm. Still, if you don’t feel comfortable signing in, that’s okay. Politely decline. But, you should introduce yourself and be polite, as it’s important for safety reasons for the agent to know who is coming into the home. And, if you’re a serious buyer, make yourself known to the agent. Putting a name to a face is helpful when reviewing offers.

Ask the listing agent questions.

The realtor may ask you questions, but don’t be afraid to ask your own. Listing agents know the most about the property, and they can direct questions to the seller if need be. Some things to ask: how long the property has been on the market, why the home is being sold, what costs are attached to the property and what fixtures/furniture are being sold with the property.

Watch the other buyers.

If you notice that people are leaving as quickly as they came in, that’s a sign that there are issues with the property on some level. If people are asking questions, sticking around and envisioning their own stuff in the house, you know that it’s probably a good property you’re looking at. Take direction from the other buyers and gauge their confidence level.