Should you have an Open House?
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Many sellers insist on holding open houses; others don’t have any interest. And some sellers want to hold their own open houses.
It’s a very different market here. When I lived in Florida and California, open houses would usually attract more than 50 people, and often result in a bidding war. Here, we are lucky to get one or two couples to show up. Consequently, a lot of agents often believe they are a waste of time.
Yet, open houses can be successful, if done correctly.
Keys to a Successful Open House
1. Preparation. Turn on all the lights in your home, clean and unclutter. Bake some cookies or bread to infuse a pleasing fragrance. Make sure your yard is mowed, weeded, free of leaves and debris, and sidewalks and driveways free of ice and snow.
2. Have your paperwork ready. Gather MLS sheets, colorful flyers with pictures of your home’s best features, seasonal photos of your home and yard, a survey of your property (especially if you have acreage), your agent’s cards, and feedback sheets so your visitors can offer their comments. Consider creating a list of extra features that make your home unique, a flyer with local information, and offer free area maps provided by your agent.
3. Offer snacks, preferably nothing too crumbly that can be tracked through your home.
4. Have a box of shoe covers at the door.
5. Advertise. An ad in your local newspaper can attract visitors. As well, ask your agent to post the open house date/time on the MLS, Zillow, Facebook, our Realtor’s CARTalk forum, and Realtor.com. Discuss with your Realtor the idea of sending a post card to your neighborhood advertising your open house. Although your neighbors are probably not going to buy your home, they have lots of friends and families who may be interested. Post open house signs at the major intersections leading to your home. (only 3 allowed in Fairfield, including the one in your yard).
6. Be a part of a community open house. If several homes are for sale in your neighborhood, ask your Realtor to contact their listing agents to see if they would join in a community open house. That will attract a lot more visitors, especially if you advertise it.
7. Hold a garage sale/open house. This is often a good way to attract visitors. Just make sure one person is available for home tours, while the other one oversees the sale.
Don’t Forget about Safety
If your agent is not in attendance, it’s a good idea to have another person with you—one to accompany the visitors in your home, while the other remains in a neutral area. If several parties arrive at the same time, ask the second party to wait until you are finished with the first customers. You may offer them a drink, snack, and literature on the home to occupy them while they wait.