The Four DON'TS of an Open House

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty


The Four DON'TS of an Open House

     Most of us are all too familiar with the television channel HGTV (Home and Garden Television) with its lavish home remodels and spunky hosts.  Although it has given the common man both first-hand glimpses into the ins and outs of home maintenance and great tips for buying and selling a home, it has also provided a dramatic exaggeration of real life residences and home owners.  And when it comes to Open Houses, the TV entertainment may have on display fine art showings and free-flowing champagne.  Even though everday home owners and their agents have upped the ante on hospitality, the focus of the most successful Open Houses is still the same: showcasing the house to the right population of prospective buyers and staging your house to sell.

     Sometimes, to keep the right focus and successful sale of your house, it is best to eliminate the things we shouldn't do.  Here are four tips that smart sellers should avoid during a sale.

1. DON'T: Attend or pretend. A seller's place at an Open House is elsewhere.  It used to be that only "looky-loos" showed up at Open Houses, however it is becoming increasingly common for serious, qualified buyers to tour Open Houses with their agents every weekend.  In addition, these buyers want to have serious conversations about your home - pro and con.  It is easier to have these conversaions without you present.  Trust that your agent will successfully consolidate and deliver the most useful insights from buyer and broker feedback provided at the Open House.

2. DON'T: Create distractions vs. attractions. When it comes to hospitality in your Open House, it is essential to be particular about attracting potential buyers and not creating an area that becomes more distracting.  Treats that showcase the home in its best light like iced lemonade in your newly remodeled kitchen on a hot summer day would be a great 'attraction.'  However, live entertainment or fully catered meals can easily slide over the line, registering at 'distractions.'

3. DON'T: Complicate buyers' access to the property.  There's a reason it's called an Open House.  The objective is to grant buyers relatively free access to see and fall in love with your home.  Don't undermine your own Open House by blocking buyers from a room, closet, basement or area of the yard (unless safety absolutely dictates.)  Anything you do that requires a buyer to come back and see it at another time just puts one more roadblock between them and buying your home.

4. DON'T: Neglect the neighbors.  Inviting your neighbors to the Open House could possibly get your more buyers.  Your neighbors are the people most likely to know other people who want to live in your neighborhood.  And on a side note, they would most definitely appreciate the heads-up about the extra parking all over thier street!

If you'd like to know more about homes in the Walnut Creek area, contact Renee White with Keller Williams Realty.

Renee White     Keller Williams Realty East Bay, Top Producing Team 2011/2012





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Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Nice post.  Here's one:  don't let your agent us your property as a personal calling card to drum up more buyers.  Their job is to sell YOUR property, not pick up buyers and sell them the house around the corner.

Mar 04, 2014 12:02 PM #21
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In my market, many agents are with their buyers at open houses.  It is sometimes the easiest way to get into all the houses that the buyers want to see without making an appointment.  Especially if buyers don't give a lot of notice to set up showings for lived in properties.  Thank you for sharing your list of don'ts.

Mar 04, 2014 12:46 PM #22
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
I like number two. We're not magicians, we are engagers. Huge difference! Love and light, Laura
Mar 04, 2014 01:30 PM #23
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Renee, one more thing - inviting the neighbor may lead to one more listing! 

Mar 04, 2014 01:32 PM #24
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Neighbors do come to open houses and call later to find out how is the sale going. I don't want them to miss my first open house leaving 'invitations' on doorsteps.

Mar 04, 2014 04:19 PM #25
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I meet so many people all with interesting stories to be shared...Yes to open houses

Mar 04, 2014 10:16 PM #26
Nicholas Costantino
Engel & Völkers - Hoboken, NJ
CRS, ASP, e-Pro

I like number four. Letting your neighbors know you are hosting an open house might bring you that perfect buyer but it also makes you stand out in the neighborhood as the expert and one who cares to inform the people who live there. Great post!

Mar 04, 2014 10:18 PM #27
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Good advice. Enlist the help of neighbors can be a hidden resource.

Mar 04, 2014 10:42 PM #28
Jim Griffin
HouseLens: Video Marketing for Real Estate - Nashville, TN

Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I especially like #3. Throwing up just one more roadblock can send buyers to properties that are truly open.


Mar 04, 2014 10:57 PM #29
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I don't do open houses, myself. And actually I have mostly clients who really don't want them. But these are great tips for anyone who is doing open houses.

Mar 04, 2014 11:58 PM #30
Anne Hensel
South Beaches Real Estate Professionals - Saint Petersburg, FL
Realtor - Broker - St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island

Great suggestions for open houses, first impression is so important!

Mar 05, 2014 12:27 AM #31
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Great advice!  I never understood the Come eat my food factor- it is about the house, nothing else... and you are so right. Seller- Get out of your home and let the agent do their job!!!

Mar 05, 2014 01:09 AM #32
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Really like Number 3. Like you said it is a Open House not restricted House. Home buyers need to see everything. Thanks for sharing this. Great post.

Mar 05, 2014 01:37 AM #33
Jason Watton
Realty One Group of Scottsdale, AZ - Scottsdale, AZ
Realtor - Scottsdale Arizona Homes for Sale

All true - nicely put!

Mar 05, 2014 02:16 AM #35
Stephanie Arnett
ERA Town & Campus Realty - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR

#1 is my favorite ;

Mar 05, 2014 03:28 AM #36
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

Some very good points but food as we have found out may bring someone that knows someone that is buying 

Mar 05, 2014 06:42 AM #37
Jennifer Green
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Gilbert, AZ

Great tips to keep in mind as I prepare for my open house in the morning. 

Mar 07, 2014 03:30 PM #38
Nicholas Costantino
Engel & Völkers - Hoboken, NJ
CRS, ASP, e-Pro

Great tips. So many Realtors forget to invite the neighbors thanks for that reminder.

Mar 07, 2014 11:07 PM #39
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

Having the sellers in the house during an open house totally defeats the purpose.

Mar 08, 2014 01:49 AM #40
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Congats on your featured post!  Love your thoughts on open house do's and don'ts.  Makes a lot of sense and one I hadn't thought of, distractions vs. attractions. 

Mar 21, 2014 01:15 AM #41
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