For Sale by Owner: Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House and Selling Your Home Quickly

Open houses allow you to expose your home to the largest number of people in the shortest period of time, and are thus crucial for home sales. This is especially true if you are selling your house yourself. A successful open house can mean the difference between selling your house quickly and having it dwindle on the market for months or years. When done correctly, open houses can guarantee your home great exposure and can even lead directly to a sale. Here are several items to focus on in order to make your open house a success.

1.      Marketing

Nobody will show up to an open house they haven’t heard that it is available so it’s incredibly important to get the word out. Post an ad in your local newspaper, utilize the internet and your social media networks, and create large and easy to read signs to plaster at the busiest intersections in your neighborhood. Some people like to add balloons to these signs on the day of their open house to garner more attention. On the day of the event put an enormous sign in front of your home with the hours of the open house and plaster it with balloons. Make sure that anybody looking for the open house knows that this is the right building. Don’t shy away from arrows that point to your house, and don’t convince yourself that you have put up too many signs. In this scenario, more is better.

2.      Presentation

Before you invite prospective buyers into your home make sure that it is in pristine condition. This means de-cluttering, cleaning, removing family photos and other miscellaneous decorative items, and placing flowers in vases throughout the house. Other suggestions include: opening all of the blinds and window shades, making sure that every bed is properly made, and clearing out closets to show their full size. Proper presentation is equally applicable to the outside of the house as it is to the inside. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, and remove spider webs or other intrusive animal remnants. If you have pets, find a safe place away from the house for them to go to for the duration of the open house. The same goes for children. You might love your screaming toddler, but buyers most likely will not.

3.      Preparation

Be ready with all of the paperwork that prospective buyers will want to see. It is wise to have your home appraised prior to putting it on the market. If you have done so, present a copy of that report at the open house. Alongside it should be any inspection reports you have obtained. You can also make a list of any upgrades you have made to the house (and their cost). Buyers like to know what they’re getting into, so honesty is always the best policy.

4.      Ambiance and Hospitality

When buyers come to see your home, treat the experience as though you were going on a job interview. Dress nicely, be cordial, enthusiastic, and helpful. Answer any questions they may have with class and grace. In many ways, they will see the house as a reflection of how you present yourself. Do not make the mistake of losing the buyers’ trust before they’ve even seen the property.

5.      Gather a Crowd

Prospective buyers are in direct competition with each other, and those who view the house alone may think that it is less of a hot commodity than those who view it with others. Other buyers remind people that there is a limited amount of housing stock, and it can make them more eager to buy. Ask a few friends or family members to mill about during your open house. Have them ask intelligent questions and pretend to be interested in making a purchase. You can also invite representatives from real estate investment companies to stop by during an open house. These companies (such as Blake Buys Homes that buys homes in Los Angeles County and Orange County, CA) specialize in purchasing homes quickly and in as-is condition. After contacting them, a representative will come out to tour your home, and you will automatically have an offer in place within a few days of the open house. If the offer doesn’t suit your needs, you have lost nothing.