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Open Houses

open housesWhen you have a house on the market, sooner or later the question will arise: "Should we have an Open House?" Open Houses are a bit different from normal showings for a couple of reasons. First, instead of having to deal with just one buyer, there is the possibility of 5, 10, perhaps even 50 visitors, all arriving in a compressed period of time. Some may be honestly interested in your home, but others may be neighbors, people thinking of putting their house on the market, or just folks out for an afternoon drive. Regardless of the quality or type of visitors, there is the possibility of a large volume of people coming through the house in a short amount of time, which can tax you (if you are a self seller) or your Agent. It is important that you or the Agent knows how to quickly qualify the visitors in order to focus attention on the most serious buyers.

The second reason that makes an Open House different from an ordinary showing is that when a house is held open, people do expect the house to be 100% ready to view, which will take a bit more preparation. When a buyer sees a house during a normal showing, a few things out of place is not seen as a deterrent. To some degree, they expect it. It is understood that you, the seller, do still live in the house on a daily basis. In an Open House situation, though, things that aren't "just right" can be a major distraction. Extra time must be put into preparation when an Open House is scheduled.

It is okay, then, at this time to put on a bit of a "show": fresh flowers in a vase on the dining room table, soft music playing in the background, and a little potpourri (with a gentle fragrance) may all be appropriate at this time. (For "regular showings", though, this may be a little overdone. Even though it is widely recommended, buyers sometimes feel "set up" when they visit a house where the stage has been too obviously set).

When you are discussing the possibility of an Open House, some Agents will tell you "I don't believe in Open Houses. They rarely bring buyers." To some degree, this may be true. What Open Houses do, though, is frequently bring traffic to your house and traffic (the people kind, not the vehicle kind) is good, Even though an Open House may not bring a ready, willing and able buyer, it may bring someone "who knows someone" that may have an interest in your home.

SPECIAL TO-DO'S FOR OPEN HOUSES

Make sure the house is extra clean. Do a complete walk through to check.

Take particular care of the approach to the front door and the entry.

"Dress it up." Flowers, music, and the dining room table set with your best china all add to the effect.

Make sure there are extra copies of your Fact Sheet (enough for 20 or more visitors).

Speak to a mortgage officer to have them develop a "Loan Example" sheet for your home. If your house is listed, your Agent will know exactly how to do this.

Keep security in mind: Put all valuables out of open sight.

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