Robert Donica

Know the Ins and Outs Of Your Open House

First and foremost, let me state that I’m not a fan of open houses. They are far more a tool for agents to market themselves than a tool that will sell your home. But used wisely, and with proper expectations, you might be able to leverage the folly of agents for your own success!

If you live in a neighborhood, you’re probably already aware that agents tend to team up to do open houses. The more houses that are open on the same day in the same neighborhood, the more likely people will show up to tour them. Agents will put signs up, run ads, invite other agents, and put a notification on All their efforts might drive in a few potential buyers, or it could be a “zero visitors” kind of day. Either way, getting your house cleaned up and ready to go won’t hurt a thing.

If your neighborhood allows it, put a sign in the entry saying the date, time, and address of your open house (it needs to be the same date and time of the other open houses). That sign, as well as the other sign you should be putting in your yard, needs to go up on a Wednesday. This gives time for passerby’s to see the sign and note the event’s schedule and location. These signs can be bought at Lowe’s or other hardware stores. Be sure to use large, bold letters that can easily be seen from a distance._0000s_0000_city

Make Your Mark

Now that your advertising is complete, it’s time to get ready for your visitors. You should provide a brochure for potential buyers to see the important points of the property: number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, what appliances or furnishings are included in the price of the home, the asking price, and recent upgrades (new roof, new windows, etc.), special features (heated floors in master bath, in-ground pool, etc.), and anything that’s excluded from the sale (chandelier in the dining room, granite bench by the garden, etc.). These brochures deliver all the relevant information to buyers so they don’t have to ask a million questions or make assumptions. Hand one to each visitor as they enter the home.

Bake cookies, prepare a relish tray, and/or provide drinks. Encourage people to make themselves at home. Be near, but don’t hover. Ask visitors to sign in and include their phone number or email address. Now you can follow up with them a day or two later and gauge their interest.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do an open house by yourself. Ask a friend or two to help out, and station them in the master bedroom, basement, etc. You don’t want visitors to get the impression they are unattended. PLEASE hide all valuables and prescription drugs. Open house theft has become an increasing problem in our industry.

I know open houses are a tempting options for those who are anxious to sell their home. And I hope you are the one out of one hundred sellers who get anything productive from this method of marketing. So if you’re going to do it, we want you to do it right.

Good luck out there!