Hosting an open house is an essential step in selling any home. It’s a seller’s one opportunity to showcase their home’s beauty and it gives potential buyers the opportunity to tour the house in person, imagine what their life would be like in the home and get a feel for how much space is really on offer. But hosting an open house isn’t quite as simple as baking (or buying) some cookies and cleaning your home. The perfect open house comes down to the smallest of details that can make a huge difference in terms of selling or not selling your home.
But don’t worry, I’m here to share some of the expertise I’ve gained over my years of helping families buy and sell their homes so that your open house goes as smoothly as possible and hopefully leads to the sale of your home.
Timing is Everything
Timing is everything when it comes to hosting the perfect open house. You want to host your open house when the majority of potential buyers are available. This means choosing a day when most people are not working (typically, weekends), but one that also doesn’t conflict with any major holidays, community events or social events (think Super Bowl). If you can, it’s also a good idea to plan your open house on a day with nicer weather. Once you’ve chosen your day, decide how long you will host your open house for— the longer it is, the more potential buyers you’ll see.
Make a Good First Impression
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but that’s exactly what potential buyers will do. It’s not unheard of for buyers to decide to pass on a house without ever seeing the inside. For that reason, take some time a day or two before your open house to tidy up the exterior of your home. This could include cleaning doors and siding, painting weathered doors, weeding flower beds, planting fresh flowers, laying new mulch and even mowing the lawn. It doesn’t have to cost much, but the more time you spend making your home’s exterior look beautiful, the more potential buyers will want to come in and hopefully, the quicker you’ll sell your home.
Clean and Stage
As I mentioned above, cleaning isn’t the only key to a successful open house. It is, however, a significant part. Leading up to your open house, consider hiring a cleaning service or doing an extensive cleaning yourself. This includes staging your home as well. Removing furniture that is old and worn or that makes a room from crowded and cramped is a great way to improve your home’s overall appearance.
Remove All Family Items
Simply put, buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home. And when family pictures, drawings and other keepsakes are present, it can make it tough for buyers to do this. Just for your open house, tuck these items away in a closet or somewhere else to make it easy for potential buyers to come in and picture themselves in every room of your home.
Remove Any Pets
Just like how family pictures and drawings can distract potential buyers from imagining themselves in your home, family pets can do the same. Specifically, dogs, cats and any other pets that are allowed to roam free. To ensure your open house is as successful as possible, consider sending the family dog or cat to a neighbour’s or friend’s house where they won’t be a distraction to potential buyers. And believe it or not, some people dislike pets, so this is also a great way to make sure you won’t scare any potential buyers away.
Signage, Signage, Signage
Signage is key to a successful open house. Ensure you have adequate signage out front of your home and at all or most of the major intersections surrounding your home. This will make it easy for buyers to find your home, but could also help draw in buyers who hadn’t originally planned to visit your home.
Let There Be Light
Open all the curtains and turn most (or all) of your lights on. This will make your home feel brighter and more spacious for buyers.
Provide all Necessary Information
Be sure to provide all the information a buyer could want on a clean, professionally-printed brochure or sheet. This includes the price, features, square footage, neighbourhood facts and anything else you think a buyer may find useful. Once a buyer leaves your home, they’ll have nothing but their memory and your information sheet to remember your house by, so the more you can include, the better.
Supply Refreshments and Snacks
Now I said a successful open house isn’t as simple as baking (or buying) some cookies, but food and drink are still an important part. You want potential buyers to spend as much time touring your home as possible and this means they could get hungry or thirsty while there. I recommend purchasing a case of water and some baked goods from a local bakery or grocery store (this is a great time to showcase popular businesses in the neighbourhood) to make things as simple and stress-free as possible. If you prefer to bake your own, that is ok too.
If these select tips for a successful open house seem overwhelming, that’s because, honestly, they are. It’s no easy task to put together a successful open house while balancing a family, full-time job and searching for your new home. But that’s where a realtor comes in. Working with a realtor you will receive all the insider information surrounding your new home and neighbourhood, but they’ll also handle every aspect of your open house too. This means signage, brochures, food, staging and everything in between is off your plate and managed by your chosen realtor. Say goodbye to the stress. Should you decide to handle your own open house, I encourage you to reach out to me by phone or email if you have any questions or concerns. And if you’d like to set up a meeting with me to begin the process of selling your home and searching for a new one, reach out to me and I would be more than happy to help with that as well.