Open The Doors And Buyers Shall Come — But Prepare First!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

If your home is on the market, chances are your agent will be holding an open house. Open Houses can be a great way to drive buyer traffic to your home. But most often the desire to physically come and see your home starts with a picture on the Internet.

"I have developed a proprietary way to build layers into a room to give that depth when you're putting the photo on the website," says Christine Rae owner of Certified Staging Professionals (CSP) and co-author of Home Staging For Dummies.

She says, "Curb appeal starts on the Internet so it's very important to make the pictures of your home attractive. If the Internet picture doesn't sell your home, you might not ever get the buyers to actually do a physical drive by and come inside your home.

Once you entice buyers with an eye-catching picture, then you have to keep up the good work.

"Everywhere the eye rests, the sale begins. So that means everything counts: floors, walls, ceilings, windows, the stuff outside, inside, cleanliness, attention to detail," says Rae.

"The buyer is expecting something fantastic and if you've got anything less than a fantastic-looking property, you're less likely to get the offer that you're looking for," explains Rae.

Rae shares a few tricks of the trade to help you before you hold an open house.

Target your buyers.

Rae says target the buyers you think are most likely to buy your home. That means paying attention to economic trends in your market. Also, when advertising, feature the items that are likely to attract the targeted buyers.

For example, "there's a big demographic growing for single women buying homes. They bought 20 percent of the homes last year and that's a growing trend. You've got to target what's appealing to them such as building in a security system - - a very crucial element to selling that home to them," says Rae.

Energy efficiency can help sell your home.

"Anytime you can bring light into a house, that is going to make people feel good," says Rae.

That's why agents typically open curtains and blinds and turn on all the lights before a showing. It's a simple thing to change all the light bulbs to energy-efficient light bulbs. "By 2010, North American energy costs are going to rise 50 percent. Who would not want a more energy-efficient home? If you're focusing on energy-efficiency, that's going to help the buyer buy your house," says Rae.

Rae says the energy-efficient light bulbs in a daylight finish are great for helping show off your home. "Daylight bulbs, when they are placed in retail stores, increase retail sales by 40 percent. That reduces energy costs and increases sales; so doesn't that make sense that it's going to have a dynamic effect when you put it into a domestic home?" says Rae.

Good sound system? Then play music.

"You have to target the buyer. It can't be elevator music and it can't be funeral music or rock-generally an easy-listening good sound track lifts spirits. People are always apprehensive when they are looking at houses. They feel like they are prying into somebody else's house. So, make your house not feel like that," says Rae.

Remember, that buyers need to feel comfortable when viewing your home. Don't cook anything the night before that might permeate through the entire house and leave a pungent odor. Put away personal items. Get the dog out of the house and roll out the welcome mat!

"A buyer doesn't want to feel like a guest in your home so you have to remove anything that would cause any trepidation," says Rae.

Invite your neighbors over for a preview. You never know who your neighbors know. They might have the perfect buyer for your home.

So, open the doors and invite buyers into your home, not as guests but as potential homeowners and watch the offers roll in.


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