My extensive experience selling homes in the Oklahoma City metro area shows that hosting an open house rarely leads to selling your home. Most homebuyers today start their home search on the internet, so the most important way to have an “open house” is to provide potential buyers a fantastic view of your house on-line. That is why we take so much care with high quality photography, a great web site, and attractive virtual tours. Open houses are more often visited by neighbors who want to look inside your home or get ideas on remodeling, or just folks who like to look “up-market” at homes above their price range. Open houses are often a great way for a real estate agent to pick up leads. But open houses seldom if ever lead to a serious buyer who is willing and able to purchase your home.
Sometimes we hold what is called a “Broker’s Open” to bring in other Realtors to see your home. This seems to be more effective. If you have a home that is somewhat slow to sell because of odd features or an unusual floorplan, a Broker’s Open can be a way to show agents the best features of your home. I network with various vendors that co-op with me to have successful Broker’s Opens, often providing food and drawings in order to entice busy realtors to stop by for a look.
If we decide open house or broker’s open would benefit your home sale, here are a few tips for getting your home ready:
It goes without saying that your home needs to be clean and free of clutter. Nobody wants to see dirty laundry or dishes stacked in the sink. Follow my guide to preparing your home for sale for tips on getting your house ready to show to potential home buyers.
Leave – and take your pets
When buyers are walking through your house, they want anonymity. They don’t want to feel uncomfortable peaking into your bedroom while you are there. We will have a licensed Realtor at your event that can answer questions and make sure your home is safe.
Collect all your pets toys, food bowls and dishes, and put them away in storage. Make sure there is no sign of pets for buyers to see. Nothing turns off a potential buyer or visiting agent faster than pet smells.
Secure your valuables
While open houses are generally safe, you still will have strangers wandering through your home and we cannot always keep a close eye on them. You need to be sure and lock up your valuables – jewelry, documents, credit cards, liquor. Be especially diligent with guns. These need to be locked in a safe or removed from the home since they are especially valuable and potentially dangerous to young children. Prescription pain killers are another hot item. Make sure those are removed or locked away in a safe place.
Enlist your neighbors
If you are friends with your neighbors, be sure and notify them of your open house. They may have friends or family that want to move in nearby and could be know of potential buyers for your home. Provide me with their email and I will make sure they are on our email notice about when we are holding an open house.
While we normally prefer not to host open houses because of their ineffectiveness, sometimes they are appropriate for certain houses. If so follow these tips to make the most of people visiting your home.