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Open House Best Practices

Selling your home can be an exciting yet undoubtedly stressful time. With the right approach, however, things can be smooth sailing. One of the most effective ways to get a number of prospects in to see your home at the same time is with the open house. You can’t just approach this without a strategy, however, as there’s nothing more disheartening than throwing one where no one attends. Need some guidance? Read on for open house best practices that will ensure yours go off without a hitch.

Yep, There’s an App For That

You might have a real estate agent who considers herself old school, and that’s all well and good. However, if she’s not taking advantage of the power of technology in today’s world, she’s excluding a good portion of prospects. Not only should she be posting on popular real estate sites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and more, but Realtor.com also has a free app that can used. While she might have to pay for additional services, any real estate agent worth her salt will tell you this is money well spent.

Perfect the Photos

In order to advertise when you’re trying to sell your house, you need someone who knows how to take stunning photos. The ones you took with latest iPhone won’t do. They might look amazing to you, but an experienced real estate photographer (which you or your real estate agent should secure) knows the perfect angle and lighting to make your house look absolutely perfect. A veteran photographer will know how to take advantage of natural light at dusk, use landscape to his advantage, emphasize the best features of each room, and much more.

Also, never underestimate the power of video. As Julie Gurner of Fit Small Business puts it, “Traditional photography is wonderful for showcasing individual rooms and features, but a video can express the entire layout of a home. Buyers will be more able to envision themselves in the house making them more likely to call you for a showing.”

Make Sure the Home is Perfectly Staged

If you or your real estate agent feels qualified to do this, go for it. However, you might consider investing in a professional stager to make your home look spacious and inviting. In fact, your real estate agent should really pay for this service for you. On top of knowing design trends, a home stager will enlist your help in decluttering, which is probably one of the most important things you can do when you’re about to have potential prospects view your home. She will also highlight the architecture, put the right amount of furniture in each room (most of us have too much!), add finishing touches like throw pillows and fresh flowers, and ensure premium curb appeal. The power of the latter cannot be overstated. As Natalie Way of Realtor.com says, “Make sure that your lawn and garden look great, trash cans and bikes are put away, house numbers are attractive and easy to see, the front door is spectacular (because you’ve replaced or painted it and perhaps updated the hardware), and you have attractive potted plants by the door.”

Take Yourself Out of Your Home, Literally and Figuratively

When throwing an open house, you want these potential buyers to envision themselves in the home. If you’ve got family photos, sports equipment, and the like all over your house, it will be difficult for them to see themselves living there. Take photos down, put your dog or cat supplies away, and generally remove yourself and your family from the home. Another thing to consider in this regard is paint color. You want to ensure you’ve got freshly updated neutral colors like white, cream, taupe, or light gray. This is another way to help prospects picture themselves in the home. Bold colors can be gorgeous, but they are also very subjective. You want colors that are universally loved.

As tempting as it might be to stick around and gauge the interest, experts will tell you that it’s best for you to leave the home during open houses. People want and have the right to observe every square inch of your home if they’re about to plunk down a huge part of their savings, and they’ll feel self conscious about doing so if you’re there. Run some errands. Go shopping. Or simply think about how you’re about to better your life.

Don’t Forget the Low-Tech, Too

We mentioned the power of technology, but you don’t want to forget what’s called “riders”, too. They “ride” on top of your “For Sale” sign. Your real estate agent can do this for you or, if you’re selling your own home, you can find these at most home improvement stores. Announce the open house with date and time to attract anyone that’s driving by your home. Make sure your brochure holder is full, too, as passersby will want to grab one for a preview.

Don’t throw an open house without a thought. Follow these best practices to maximize this effective real estate strategy.


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