November 6th, 2020
Lots of studies have been done on the effectiveness of an open house and the fact is that the chances of your home selling as a result of an open house is very, very low. There are so many other more productive things your broker can be and should be doing for you to get motivated buyers aware of your home and wanting to make an offer on your home. That being said, if you’re going to insist on having an open house, and sometimes that is an efficient way to get buyers to see a new listing, you best learn how to prepare a home for an open house
Think of a beauty pageant and your home is a contestant in that beauty pageant. That’s the first mind set you should get in to prepare a home for an open house. Your home isn’t the only home for sale. You have competition. How are you going to win the beauty pageant. Ok, I get it, maybe your home hasn’t been completely remodeled in the last year with all the latest designs, fixtures and appliances, but that doesn’t mean there are things you can afford to ignore
Buyers go in and out of a house pretty fast many times. You have less than 5 minutes to make a statement and give a buyer a reason to stay and linger a while. You want to help buyers have reasons to say yes to your home.
Here are some common mistakes sellers make that you need to avoid to prepare a home for an open house
Having an unclean home is just patently stupid. If your home is dirty, cluttered and messy, you just reduced your chances of selling by enormous margins. Think about sending your kid to school for photo day. You’re going to comb your kids hair, wash their face and have their best smile. Do the same for your home. I’ve noticed so many homeowners who just live with untidiness so much, they don’t even see it. Get rid of clutter. Make your home seem as spacious as possible. I advise my sellers to abide by the 50% rule. Take half your stuff, I really don’t care what stuff, just take half of it and store it somewhere. Ideally, rent an offsite storage facility if you have to, but at least get it into the garage and out of the house. Empty your closets out. Make sure there’s enough room where a buyer opening the closets (and they will and should do so) can think, “…hmmm, plenty of room, I could add another couple of suits or dresses here…”
You’d think this next one is obvious and actually all of these points are really obvious but it blows my mind how many homes I’ve shown in which every one of these pointers are ignored. MAXIMIZE YOUR CURB APPEAL! Do you have a pool? Clean it, make sure there isn’t anything floating around in it. Yes, I’ve seen dead rats, squirrels etc in pools. Get some colorful flowers, rake and sweep. If you can’t afford to paint, powerwash the roof and exterior trim and stucco. Get rid of the cobwebs and accumulated dead leaves. Put out some “walkon bark” in dirt areas. Trim bushes and trees.
Get out of your home for the open house. Don’t hang around. Have you gone to Nordstroms or whatever clothier you shop at and tried on a suit or a dress while someone else is wearing it. Ridiculous right? Well so is you as the seller hanging around while buyers are “trying on” your home.
I love my dog, and if you have a dog or a cat or whatever, I bet you love your pet too. Get them out of the house too. Go to the park for a couple of hours. As adorable as your pet is, no one wants to hear them barking or see them doing their business at the open house.
The issue of family photos comes up all the time. Do you take down your family photos? Do you leave them up? There are differing thoughts on this. Bottom line, to prepare a home for an open house we want to make the home look “neutral” enough for buyers to feel that they can own it, but at the same time, we don’t want to make the home feel so sterile that it loses what it is … a home … So if you have a wall with dozens of family photos, follow my 50% rule. But if you have just a few family photos around; that’s fine. Don’t worry about it. After all, it is still your home until you sell it. On the other hand, we seem to be living in a highly polarized political society these days. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground so if you do have political stuff out on display, I would strongly recommend getting rid of that. Store it somewhere so it can’t be seen. Take it back out when you’re in your new home.
One of the other irritating issues I’ve observed when showing a home to my buying clients is when a seller has locked a room or has an instruction to not go into the garage or something like that. Look, are you ready to sell or not? If you’ve got something that precious that it has to be locked in a room, then go rent a storage facility to secure whatever it is you don’t want people to see. The “don’t go in there” thing is a sale killer. You’re either committed to having your home shown … all of your home … or not. And if not, you’re not ready to sell.
I hope these tips have helped. Meanwhile would you be interested in accessing a site where all the Palos Verdes open houses with maps, pictures, details and more are listed and which you can filter by price and location? Here you go, click the link below. The site is updated live every time you visit so even if an agent lists a property as an open house just a few minutes ago, you will be on it.
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