How to Hold an Open House

Understanding how to hold an open house can add a powerful tool to the marketing of your home. An open house provides and opportunity for prospective buyers to view your home in a low-pressure atmosphere. Less pressure might help buyers look on your house more favorably as they make a purchasing decision.

Get Ready To Hold An Open House

It pays to be prepared. Before you hold an open house, make sure your home is in the best possible condition to be viewed by potential buyers. Deep clean every room in the house—hire professionals if the job seem too daunting. Make sure all cosmetic repairs are made to both the inside and outside of your home. Take a look at your home from the curb or hallway—maybe painting your door or planting a few blooming plants would increase your home’s curb appeal.

Setting the stage. Consider staging your home for maximum impact when you hold an open house. Staging involves clearing each room of clutter and extra furniture to create a spacious atmosphere that highlights the features of each room. If you don’t have an interior decorator’s touch, you may want to hire a professional staging consultant.

Timing is everything. When should you hold an open house? Weekends are better than weekdays and Sunday is best. Plan to hold your open house on a Sunday afternoon that doesn’t fall on a holiday weekend. You should prepare to devote a three-hour window to the open house and stick to your schedule.

Get the word out. Begin advertising your open house online and in newspapers at least a week in advance. Post signs on the Friday before the open house that state the date, time and address – on the road or in your building’s laundry room. For private home owners, the day before the open house, post directional signs starting at major roads near your home and working back to your front door.

Hold An Open House Successfully

Showing safe. Rule number one for how to hold an open house safely is to never show a home alone. Make sure another adult (friend or family member) is in the home with you at all times. Also, make sure all personal or valuable items are safely stored away.

Name and contact info. Create a sign-in sheet and ask people to sign it as they enter. Leave space for a name, phone number and e-mail address. Don’t be pushy about getting this information—serious prospective buyers will be happy to provide it. This is important info to have, not just to remain in contact with your buyers, but in the event you decide to use an agent in the future, you should exempt buyers that have seen your home before from qualifying your agent for a commission.

Things to give away. Baking a batch of cookies just before you hold an open house provides two benefits: it gives the house a great smell and it gives you some refreshments to provide to your guests. You may also want to prepare flyers or brochures to hand out to home viewers as they leave. While these handouts should have facts specific to your home, don’t forget to include information about your neighborhood and the surrounding area as well.

Don’t take it personally. As people leave your open house, don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback. While the information you receive may be negative, it may also help you spot trouble areas that are keeping your home from selling.

Afterwards. After the open house, take the time to review your feedback and send thank you emails to those who provided contact information. Make sure to get out and remove all of the signs you’ve posted. After a few days, make a brief call to those on your contact list and ask if they have any interest in your home. Follow up on any positive leads with an invitation to view the home again.


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