Welcome to Open House Anywhere.
Open House day is an opportunity to show off. Your agent has scheduled time and spent money to promote YOUR HOUSE. He or she should come with handouts and data about your house, plenty of time to do the job right, and an attitude that says "we are going to sell this house today." If you are marketing your home, we assume you have your home ready for display. Clutter and dust are gone. Offensive odors were eliminated (at all cost). Family photos, fridge art, cute collectibles, and extra furniture are stored in the garage. Your agent may have suggested other staging tips. However, agents have a legitimate fear of offending sellers because some have been fired for telling the truth to a seller who did not want to steam clean the carpets. Now that you have handled the basics, keep in mind that the goal of an open house is to find a buyer. Do EVERYTHING within reason to encourage the buyer to "sit and stay awhile." The longer the buyer visits with your agent, the more those buyers imagine themselves in your home. The following strategies encourage the buyer to feel at home in your home.
1. Leave the house. Please, oh please, do not stay at your home during the event. Buyers will feel ill at ease and leave too quickly if you are there. Take the pets, too. They need an afternoon at the park, anyway.
2. Give the agent plenty of time in the house. Leave at least thirty minutes before the start time, and don't come back until one hour after the scheduled end. If you return to find your agent's automobile and another in the driveway, turn around and go for ice cream. Your agent might be writing an offer at that very minute.
3. If you have a fireplace, and the temperature is 60 degrees or less, leave it ready to start and provide instructions to your agent. A roaring fire says "home" in every language.
4. Leave a few refreshments, but do not feel pressured to over-do it. A few cookies or veggies and a two liter bottle of soda will do.
5. Create aromas that invite deep breaths and smiles. We like the scent of vanilla candles, and subtle potpourri. But, potpourri that brings tears to your eyes is too strong. Also, think safety, please. Plan with your agent so burning candles are properly attended.
6. Don't forget the outdoors. Houses are often sold while agent and buyer gazed from a well kept patio out to a manicured lawn.
7. "Bathrooms and kitchen. Bathrooms and kitchen." This is your mantra until your home is sold. These rooms must be spotless. If you have a whirlpool tub, leave it bubbling. Candles burning (safely) nearby will provide subtle ambience. Display your best towels.
8. If you have a spa or hot-tub, heat them up. If you have a pool, it should sparkle even in the winter.
9. Finally, make a portfolio of information for interested home shoppers. Provide the names of your lawn care and pool service. Include information about the school district. Furnish names for the local trash pickup and water companies. If you belong to a Homeowners Association, provide the latest financial statement and information regarding dues and bylaws. A list of your monthly utility costs for the last year is helpful. Recent invoices for repairs or replacements of expensive items should be displayed. If you had a recent home inspection, by all means display it. Its presence is re-assuring to a buyer.
We are sure that you can think of other ideas to encourage potential buyers to linger in your home. But even if you use only these, your agent will love you and your home should sell more quickly.
Good luck, and thanks again for visiting.