How To Get The Most From Your Open House

Now that you have signed a listing agreement with a real estate agent, made the recommended preparations for selling your home, including paint touch-up and dressing up the landscaping for great curb appeal, and put the "For Sale Sign" strategically placed in your front yard, what are the next steps for you to take?

Here are three approaches you may want to take to show your house off to its best advantage to prospective buyers:
  • Stage your house. The current thinking on staging a home is that it can prove to be very valuable to sellers in terms of price and actual length of time needed to sell. There are professional staging services available for, very often, a small fee. However, with a little thought and effort on your part, you can certainly do the staging yourself. Here are some tips:
    • Remove as much clutter as possible, including personal photos and collectibles. Clean out overflowing closets, remove oversized and worn furniture, and clear kitchen and bath countertops. Buyers become easily distracted by personal belongings and may end up passing on a house (potentially yours!) that suits their needs.
    • Strategically place freshly cut flowers, make sure pet odors have been masked, and light the fireplace while showing for a warm and inviting feeling.
    • Open the window coverings to give a light and airy feel. The more open a property appears, the larger and more welcoming it seems to prospective buyers.
  • Plan to be away during open houses Likely your agent has scheduled to hold one or more open houses over the next couple of months. Whether or not you are present during an open house is something your agent should have discussed with you. Real estate brokers are almost unanimous about sellers leaving the home while they conduct open houses. This allows buyers to mentally place their furniture and visualize themselves living in the space they hope to call home. Best practice is to take their advice, step out for a few hours, and let your broker show your home off in the best light to prospective buyers
  • For pre-arranged showings, leave the house in the good hands of your agent. Your agent has likely already shown many properties to his buyers. He knows the features and benefits your home offers, and he knows the special requirements of his buyers. It may be they require a large living room to place a piano, or a fenced-in backyard for pets. Your agent has carefully chosen your home to show his prospective buyers, based on their needs and his assessment of how your home meets those needs. It's wise to let your agent take advantage of his knowledge and experience at this step. The buyers will have more opportunity, and feel more comfortable, peaking into the closets to see if they are adequate and flushing the toilets if you are absent. Before they are ready to make an offer, buyers most often need to get a good sense for the feel of a particular house, including where they might potentially place their furniture. This is done better with the seller absent.
Your agent is a skilled professional who can easily pick up on the obvious and, not so obvious, buying clues prospects give off. They will know best when to "close" the prospective buyers and offer to write up an offer they can present to you - the seller - and your commission will be money well spent.

Good luck selling your home!