One of the best ways to sell your home is to hold an open house. It allows prospective buyers to check out your place without the pressure of signing with an agent and scheduling a showing, especially for those who are just casually looking until the right property comes along.
An open house attracts prospective buyers and can help sell your home faster and for more money, but not all open houses are created equally. Here are six ways to prep for a successful open house.
- Prep the house. Make sure the house is ready. That means cleaning, decluttering, organizing, removing personal items such as family pictures, and staging. Don’t overlook anything. If you can count on one thing at an open house, it’s that people will open every closet and cupboard door they find. If you’re still living in the house or have tenants, put excess furniture and personal belongings in storage temporarily. Springing for a housekeeper is an excellent way to prep for an open house, as it will get the house looking (and smelling!) fresh.
- Make first impressions count. Curb appeal is important, and so is a prospective buyer’s first impression when they walk through the front door. Prep for an open house by making the exterior look welcoming. Touch up the landscaping or decorate the porch with potted plants and stage the entryway to create a warm, inviting impression.
- Provide a takeaway. Give prospective buyers something to take with them—a flyer with pictures and descriptions of the home is a great idea. And think outside the box. People often have questions about the neighborhood, too; they’ll appreciate a list of local restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and parks on the flyer.
- Offer refreshments. Few people will turn down free food. The cost of your house and the type of buyer you’re trying to attract might determine what you serve, but at the very least offer lemonade in summer and hot beverages in winter. Finger foods such as cheeses and veggies with dip are another affordable option. For higher-end properties, you might consider wine-and-cheese pairings or a food truck.
- Coordinate with other sellers in the neighborhood. Instead of having just one open house, put together an entire open-house tour. Coordinate with other sellers in the neighborhood and encourage prospective buyers to visit the other homes for sale. You can provide maps to help them find their way and check off each house as they see it—maybe even add a little space for them to jot down notes about each property.
- Shout it out to the heavens! Let people know about this not-to-be-missed opportunity! Advertise online on high-traffic sites such as Zillow and put up adequate signage in the neighborhood. Opt for attention-getting directional signs and plant them along the nearest main roads and on the block where the house is located.
Hosting an open house doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. Some of these things should be done anyway before listing the house for sale, which will make it easy to prep for an open house. Remember that inviting prospective buyers to a warm and welcoming event doesn’t just help sell a home—it often sells it faster and for more money, so going the extra mile can offer a very real payoff.