Once sellers put their home on the market they are bombarded with advice from…everybody and everywhere. Each seller has at least one friend
or relative that practiced real estate a million years ago who completed a grand total of two transactions, but claims to be an absolute authority on the sale of your home. Then, of course, there are other agents who lost the opportunity to sell your home and are looking for any opportunity to discredit the competition. Finally, there’s the Internet which as we all know, never lies! And each one of these sources has a different opinion about the importance of open houses.
You may hear the statement that “open houses don’t help to sell your home,” and only assist the agent-host pick up new buyers. Granted, open houses can help the agent build rapport with new customers, especially if the home doesn’t meet the needs of the customer. In that case, the agent would help the customer find something else based on her search criteria. However, the reality is open houses do help in the sale of your home, because it maximizes exposure locally, and if done correctly, can be quite successful. In fact, we at The Sugar Team have done quite well selling the homes we hold open. We have sold at least four Albuquerque homes directly from open houses, and have written multiple offers as well.
Nonetheless, not every home is a good candidate to be held open. For example, homes that are far removed with few to no neighbors, no drive-by or pedestrian traffic, or are located in gated communities can have a very poor turn-out. The exception to this last example would be if your agent held your home open in a gated community in conjunction with other homes (and agents) in the same gated community (i.e. an open house blitz). And keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if the other homes were being sold by other brokerages. We all are working together to ultimately sell all our inventory and provide a choice to the buyer.
Sellers also play a crucial role especially when they make the following preparations prior to an open house:
- Remove all clutter both inside and out.
- Open all drapes and light lamps including those in closets, the basement or attic, creating an environment as light, cheerful and calm as possible.
- Make the beds and put away clothes and toys.
- Turn the blinds so slats are uniformly open.
- Put out a clean hand towel, fresh soap and clean soap dish.
- Put all toilet seats down.
- Put away all dishes and discreetly conceal countertop articles.
- Consider setting the table with fine china and linen.
- Straighten pictures on walls and wipe all tabletops.
- Fluff and arrange couch cushions and throw pillows.
- Dispose of newspaper and drink containers.
- For those with cats, clean the litter box and replenish with fresh litter.
- Light/turn-on fireplace in the winter.
- If available, turn on any inside/outside sound systems to a light jazz station at a minimal volume.
- Don’t cook anything in the kitchen at least one hour prior to the open house (unless it’s fresh-baked cookies or bread!).
- Notify your neighbors of scheduled open house days. You never know if they have friends or family that are in the market for a home.
- And most importantly…. LEAVE (that includes the dog)!!! Generally, buyers don’t feel recepetive viewing a home that has the Seller present and feel uncomfortable voicing their objections which is an integral part of the buying process.
The Sugar Team also has its own key role for an open house:
- Announce the open house throughout the Internet on all Webpages, including but not limited to: TheSugarTeam.com, Century21.com, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Craigslist, facebook, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), among others…
- Purchase a classifed ad to go in the Albuquerque newspaper for that day.
- Prepare full-color flyers/brochures (take-aways) to give to all open house guests.
- If appropriate, walk the neighborhood a few days prior to the open house and hand-deliver invitations to all the neighbors (because who doesn’t like to be invited?!).
- Put out open house signs in the most visible locations, directing drivers and pedestrians to the BIG EVENT!
- Follow-up tenaciously with each and everyone of the open guests until we obtain an offer.
As you can probably surmise, The Sugar Team takes open houses very seriously, since we feel that they are a key component to getting your home sold as quickly and as painlessly as possible. So, what are you waiting for… why don’t you try us out?