If you are a homeowner who has decided to put your house on the market, chances are, you have talked to your F.C. Tucker Emge REALTOR® about the possibility of holding your house open and how that might serve your selling objectives. While the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the pace of open houses for much of 2020 and the early part of 2021, we are seeing a return of more open houses in our community.
Most open houses last 1.5-2 hours in duration and your agent stays in attendance the whole time to welcome guests and answer any questions that they may have about the property and collect feedback. They usually have data sheets handy as well as other pertinent property information. Occasionally, an agent will partner with a licensed lender who can answer questions about financing, especially if the house qualifies for a specialized loan product. The homeowner should make plans to NOT be around the home during the open house event. But what do open houses accomplish? And, do you have to do anything special to prepare your home for an open house?
First, let’s discuss some reasons why you and your agent might decide to hold your house open:
- Open houses are great ways to get more traction in the local real estate market. Simply by advertising that your house will be held open, your agent automatically generates more eyes on and interest in your property. You never know who will pop in and help spread the word about your property. Maybe a neighbor has a friend they are trying to convince to move close by. Perhaps a family member is doing research for an out-of-state relative. Word of mouth, in addition to other rigorous and measurable marketing tools, plays an important part in getting your home sold.
- Open houses also allow people who are just starting to think about making a housing change dip their toe into the market. You never know if by holding your house open, someone might attend the event, unexpectedly fall in love with your home, and call their real estate agent to schedule a private showing to follow-up. Open houses are a way to cover all of your bases.
- In addition to the increased signage and marketing that an open house generates, another advantage comes with the instant feedback generated from prospective buyers walking through your home. This is especially valuable if the open house is held early in the listing period, which would allow you, the seller, to adjust the staging of the home to make it more appealing to as many eyeballs as possible. F.C. Tucker Emge agents LOVE to talk to everyone who walks through their clients’ homes, and they always pass along constructive feedback to the sellers.
In the current competitive market, open houses are serving quite a different function than ever before. While traditionally, open houses used to be only on Sunday afternoons, locally, we have seen an uptick in open houses being held in the middle of the week as soon as a house goes active in order to leverage as much interest as possible as quickly as possible.
While deciding whether or not an open house is the right option for you and your situation is a discussion best left between you and your F.C. Tucker Emge real estate agent, we do want to offer some insight in this space for how to best prepare yourself and your house for an open house event:
- Clean clean clean. You thought you cleaned when you got ready to list and prepared for photographs and the first showings? Clean again and take it to the next level.
- Dust every surface: ceiling fans, window blinds, wood trim.
- Sweep, vacuum and mop floors.
- Shine counters, sinks, and cabinets.
- Scrub toilets, showers, and tubs.
- Make beds, stash toys, straighten shelves.
- Pick up dirty laundry and hang fresh towels in bathrooms
- Empty all trash cans
- Polish windows and mirrors.
- Mow grass, trim lawn, pick up pet waste.
- Pull weeds and maintain the garden.
- Put away valuables, like jewelry, important documents, and other high commodity items. If you have a home safe, lock them up. If you have a safety deposit box, put them there. Maybe you already did this when your home went on the market, but if you haven’t done it, now is the time.
- Hide prescription medications. Or, again, take them with you. Besides the fact that your health is no one else’s business, some medications are highly sought after on the black market and yours could go missing if left in the medicine cabinet for anyone to find.
- Have a pet? Neutralize the house as much as possible. While plenty of people adore animals, remember that the people coming to your house want to see your house and not be distracted by your pets.
- Stow beds, crates, and food bowls out of sight.
- Prepare to take the animal off premise during the open house
- Back to point one, clean up all pet hair.
- Have you been told your house has a unique smell? DO NOT spray heavy air fresheners or use too many heavily scented candles.
- Try to air out your house as much as possible
- A good cleaning will also help to neutralize odors.
- One other trick is to bake a dozen chocolate chip cookies just prior to the open house so the delicious smell of butter, sugar, and vanilla wafts naturally through your home. Take the cookies with you, or leave them for your agent to hand out to attendees. Just make sure you clean up the kitchen thoroughly (Better yet, use refrigerated cookie dough and save yourself the time and effort of making them from scratch.).
- Make a plan to re-home yourself for the duration of the open house. Maybe you and your family can catch a movie or drop in to visit a friend. Shopping is always an option or a nice long outing to a local park is a fun way to pass the time with young children and family animals if weather permits.
If you are contemplating whether you want to sell your home or not, please know that all of our agents here at F.C. Tucker Emge REALTORS® are committed to working with you in getting your home sold and they have a collection of powerful tools at their fingertips to make it happen. Casting a large net yields the best results when it comes to selling homes. Our agents’ superior training paired with our company’s powerful website, our T.V. show Tucker Talks Homes, and numerous other marketing options, ensures that your home will be broadcast far and wide. Only you and your agent can determine whether holding an open house is the right strategy for you. Having an F.C. Tucker Emge REALTOR® agent you can talk to and trust is the best way to get your home sold efficiently and effectively. Let’s Talk.