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How To: Have a Successful Open House

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Having an open house is a great way to show off your home to potential buyers.

If you’re looking to sell your home, holding an open house is one of the best ways to attract buyers. In fact, estate agents report that one in five of their sales come from such events.

So what can you do to ensure yours is a success?

Clear up

Once you’ve decided to hold an open house, give yourself some time  – at least two weeks, possibly more – to get your home looking its absolute best.

First, get rid of all the clutter. You may need to rent a storage space as you don’t want the closets to be overflowing; they should look as neat and tidy as possible, too. Remember that clutter also includes dirty dishes in the sink, toys scattered in the kids’ rooms, and toiletries left out in the bathroom.

Next, consider removing rugs and wall-hangings so that buyers can see as much of the space as possible. Seeing bare floors and walls can help buyers imagine themselves in the space more easily. If you don’t want to remove all decorations, at the very least you should take down anything that might be controversial.

Enhance the exterior

The first thing potential buyers will see is the outside of your house, and you want to make it as enticing as possible. Mow the lawn and make sure any plants look good and healthy. If you have a driveway, make sure no cars are parked on it and ask your neighbours to avoid parking in front of your house on the day. In the back, you can put out garden furniture to make the setting more appealing.

No pets

Animals can do a lot to put off potential buyers. Rather than have them barking at strangers or making litter boxes smelly, the best thing to do is ensure there’s no sign of them on the day of your open house.

Open the space

Light is a great way to make your house feel like a home. Open the window coverings and turn on all the lights so that there is as much illumination as possible. This will also mean that buyers won’t have to test the lights themselves, able to see that they are all in working order. In addition, consider moving the furniture to allow easy movement through the house.

Remember too that buyers need to see the whole house, which may include rarely used rooms or storage spaces. Make sure these areas are not only presentable, but accessible. If you have a loft, you might consider leaving the ladder down so buyers can explore the space. this also means you should not lock any doors.

Take security seriously

It’s important to remember that by holding an open house, you’re inviting strangers into your home, so it’s good practice to take some precautions. Have people sign in and show ID before coming into your home. Also, make sure there is always an escort to take buyers around the house. There should never be a closed door between you and a buyer, which means no one should use the bathroom. You should also make sure there is nothing around that might be stolen, including cash, jewellery, medication, alcohol or documents that might be used for identity theft.

Schedule at an optimal time

Most open houses are held from 1pm to 3pm or 2pm to 4pm on a weekend. Holding your open house between 3pm and 5pm could help make it successful. You’ll have less competition, and if people are still looking at the end of the day, they’re more likely to consider your house seriously.

Image: Julie Lopez