When you are buying a home or listing your home for sale, you have a lot to consider. If you are buying, you will no doubt be viewing and walking through many houses in search for the one that makes you feel “at home.” If you are selling your home, you will need to make your home feel less “yours” so that it can appeal to buyers.
Both of these situations can be emotionally challenging and so it really helps to have a trusted friend with experience in your area, namely a knowledgable real estate agent, at your side through the process.
A real estate agent has more experience than you when it comes to knowing how to market or discriminate between homes in your area. Trust your agent to have your best interests in mind so that you can utilize that knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to open houses!
Work with and listen to your agent’s suggestions to meet with the most success (and follow my advice in this post).
Staging A Successful Open House
- First off, make sure the interior of your home is clean and de-cluttered! If it is in your budget, consider removing the bulk of your house contents to an alternate location. Your ultimate goal as a seller is to move, so start packing – it will help your home to sell more quickly! Consider the model home concept that new builders use and set that as the goal for your home – neutral, tasteful, open.
- Make sure the outside looks great, both in regards to your property, and your neighbors’ homes. Does your street look safe, well-kept and friendly? If not, brainstorm about what you can do to achieve a friendly neighborhood feel. Maybe you can offer to help trim or mow your neighbor’s lawn or put away their trashcans, resulting in a more attractive canvas for your home. Check that your for sale sign is standing straight and tall and consider adding a few balloons (bright colors) to attract even more attention.
- Speaking of neighbors, invite them! This is an opportunity to hand-pick a new neighbor, and they can have a say in it by inviting their interested friends. Plus it will create a buzz, increase positive energy, and make sure your open house is well attended. If you have a neighbor who has listed their home, be sure to visit their open house, too, so you can see what your home is being compared against. In including your neighbors you may actually find that they are more than willing to assist you with your open house with small favors like making sure there is ample street parking or repairing a broken brick planter. Ask your agent for the best way to handle this as it depends on the area – it might be better to host an early preview for neighbors for homes where a huge turn-out is expected.
- Since you’ve invited your neighbors to stop by, make sure you have fresh baked goods (and their accompanying aroma) present in your home as a thank you for visiting. Nothing says “home” better than the smell of vanilla and cinnamon. If you are unable to do this, do NOT resort to air fresheners as many people are allergic to them. Ask your real estate agent for advice on dealing with the odors in your home well before the open house occurs.
Please feel free to add your comments on what you feel makes open houses more valuable to you as a home buyer and seller, too. I’d love to learn from you! Consult with me for other more specific suggestions on how to make YOUR open house more successful – as each home uses a different approach. You’ll be glad you did!