Holding an open house is a marketing tool that real estate agents use to reach more potential buyers. Some buyers (especially early in the home buying process) have not chosen a real estate agent and often start their home search by visiting open houses and looking at homes on real estate websites on the internet. Allowing anyone to view your house without an appointment is risky and is just one of many tools that can be used to attract more buyers. Typically, the more buyers that view a property, the better chance the property will sell faster and for a higher price. A successful open house should be supported by streets signs, internet ads, newspaper and real estate magazine ads, and marketing to local real estate companies. There are many types of people that may show up to view your house; these individuals will likely fall into one of the following categories:
1. Unqualified Lookers – Many individuals cannot qualify for mortgage financing due to their income or credit history. They may be self-employed, or have had a recent bankruptcy, foreclosure, or excessive derogatory credit. These individuals may be looking for owner-financing, or to enter into a rent-to-own agreement for one or two years while they try to clean up their credit.
2. The Neighbors – Many neighbors are noisy; especially, if they have never seen the inside of your house and how it is decorated. If you have the same model home, they may simply want ideas on how they can decorate their home. Most neighbors find open houses hard to resist.
3. Permanent Home Lookers – Some individuals have a hard time making a decision and take years to finally purchase a house. Every real estate agent has had a client that has looked at hundreds of homes. They often spend every Sunday afternoon attending open houses.
4. Burglars – Open houses are the perfect opportunity for someone to check out your home and what valuables you have. If the real estate agent is not prudent in watching every individual that shows up to look at your property, it will give potential thieves the opportunity to steal valuables.
5. Qualified Buyers – Most serious home buyers view properties via the internet and work directly through a licensed real estate agent. When they find a house they are interested in, they contact their agent to set up a private viewing of the property.
It is clear to see that attracting qualified buyers is the key to a successful open house. The following is a list of things that you and the real estate agent can do that will improve the odds of your open house attracting more qualified buyers.
1. Make sure the house is clean and uncluttered
2. Price the house accordingly
3. Use ample street signs directing potential homebuyers to your open house from main roads (attach balloons)
4. Extensive advertising (online and print ads)
5. Make the house open and well lit (open all the drapes, turn on all the lights)
6. Bakes cookies to make the house smell nice and appealing
7. Turn-on pleasant music
8. Leave pictures of recent improvements to the house on the kitchen table
9. Leave documents regarding the house and community on the kitchen table, such as: financing information, inspection reports, comparable sales, recent utility bills, information on community events, and documentation on the school system
Just remember, open houses are just one piece of a marketing plan. To properly market your house, a successful marketing plan should include a strong internet presence, social media presence, and the use of marketing materials that can be distributed to other real estate agents and potential homebuyers. The key to selling a desirable and properly priced house is exposure. Marketing is the key to increasing the odds of your house selling quickly and for top dollar.