With National Open House weekend approaching the weekend of April 28 - 29, I think it's important to dispel some common misconceptions about open houses and provide suggestions that will ensure you get the maximum mileage when opening your home to the public.
The most common misconception I hear from other real estate agents and occasionally from home sellers themselves is that they aren't sure that having an open house is an effective means to sell the home. I've heard some say that open houses only attract tire kickers or nosy neighbors. Yes, it's true, you may get a nosy neighbor that pops in but you will also get serious buyers who aren't available to come and see the home at other times during the week due to their work schedule. They may come on their own because the agent they are working with may be occupied at their own open houses.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you hold an open house:
1) Two open houses per month is perfect. If you have too many, the home can become stale and, if you have too few, you may forego potential buyers who may not be able to come at other times.
2) You should not be home during your open house. I know it's tempting to want to hear how your home is received, but trust me, it's better to have your agent relay that message. Selling your home is an emotional time and you don't want to jeopardize a sale because you happen to be privy to someone insulting your decorating. Sometimes what you don't know won't hurt you.
3) Remove cars from the driveway. Not only do you want to make room for potential buyers but you want to create an environment where potential buyers envision themselves living there. Having a car in the driveway reminds them they are just visiting.
4) Store valuables in a secure place. I would suggest removing any valuables from the home, just to be safe. Once the home is under agreement, you are going to have home inspectors, movers and other potential strangers in the home, so finding a safe place for your valuables is an inevitable task. You might as well address it now.
5) Choose the right agent with the experience to hold a successful open house. Find out how your agent is going to market the open house. Find out how they track and follow up with the people who attend and most of all, find out what they are going to do once people show interest. The last thing you want is to be displaced on a Sunday for naught because no one showed up. A knowledgeable agent will be able to lay out reasonable expectations for the traffic they expect and then have a solid plan for follow up.
There have been a record number of people attending open houses this spring, so take advantage of the uptick in the market and get your home ready to be showcased!