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Most real estate agents know that 99% of the time open houses do not sell homes. Typically, a serious and capable buyer uses a buyer's agent who shows them the property on a different day and time in the course of showing multiple properties that fit their needs. However, most sellers are hooked on the notion that they want several open houses when they put their property on the market, and though they generally end up attracting nosy neighbors and people looking for a little Sunday afternoon entertainment, we oblige them. It is usually a good opportunity for us to get in front of the community face-to-face and meet people while showcasing our listing and getting the word out about it.
That being said, when we do hold an open house, any number of people could be strolling through there, and they just might be a potential buyer, a buyer's agent previewing the home for her client, a neighbor with an aunt who needs to move, etc, etc. For this reason, the house needs to be in tip-top condition and looking its absolute best.
Last weekend, I planned open house with a client whose home I listed when it was vacant, empty, and very cute. Since then, this client has allowed a family member to move in and stay while it is on the market. I discouraged this, but he chose to do it anyway. I spent money placing the Washington Post Ad, took my afternoon, drove over, and placed signs in the neighborhood (in the rain). Then I walked into my listing - after giving detailed instructions on what condition it needed to be in for the open - and found it looking like this:
I also found (but didn't get a picture of) a live mouse in a bug trap full of dead bugs. Because this was not the first time I had found the house in dissaray for an open (though this was by far the most egregious), I was forced to cancel my listing agreement because the sellers were clearly not taking this seriously. No buyer coming into this open house would want to purchase this home. Moral: before your agent holds an open house, make sure it looks like a home you would want to buy if you were a buyer walking into the open.
Clean the house, top to bottom. Dust, sweep, scrub the bathrooms, mop, vaccuum, clean the windows. Clear off all surfaces (counter tops, tables, dressers, etc). Empty out closets as much as possible. You will be moving anyway, and you need to pack. Get a head start and pack up your closets. This maximizes the appearance of spacious closets, which are important to buyers. Run and empty your dishwasher so when buyers look in there, they don't see your dirty dishes. Paint all non-neutral rooms a neutral color. Give the yard a little landscaping and make sure to cut the grass often - double your usual efforts. Tidy and organize - don't leave out clothes, kids toys, or anything that isn't tasteful furniture. Remove all personal items so that the buyer can imagine themselves living there, rather than you. Take down photos, religious insignia, personal artwork, kitschy items, etc. You want the property to look like a model home. You may even light some nicely scented candles and play some soft music to make the place inviting. Do a scan before the open. If you were a buyer, would you want to live here?
If you are going to go to the trouble of having an open house, make sure your house is worthy of one!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.