When you're selling your home, your realtor may want to do a few open houses to bring potential buyers onto your property. This is a great way for interested people to see the inside of your home without having to schedule a showing. Since you won't be around during the open house, it may seem like there's not much you can do to prepare your home for the upcoming event. However, as a seller you are an integral part of open house success! Here are 5 tips that you can do to sell your home without even being present at the event.
- Make Sure Your Home is Ready to Sell
Before listing your home, make sure it's ready to sell. That means that first you'll need to fix anything that's broken. There's little to no chance that you'll get great value out of your home if there are repairs that need to be made and systems or appliances that need to be replaced. Most buyers will expect a reduced price or credit so they can make the repair or replacement themselves, which won't entice them to buy as much as a newly replaced appliance or system. Hire a home inspector or appraiser to go through your home and help you determine what needs to be repaired or replaced to help your home's value. Read more here if you're still wondering what home improvement projects you can do to increase your home's value. After your home is repaired and replaced, you'll want to list and stage your home with a realtor.
- Help Your Realtor Stage the Home
"Home staging?" you may be saying, "But the realtor takes care of all that, I can't do much ... I have absolutely no eye for interior design."
Actually, homeowners hold the keys to excellent home staging. The actual interior design step of staging is the last part of a much longer process. Here are the first steps that you as the home seller should be involved in:
De-Clutter Your Home
The first part of staging a house is getting rid of your extra "stuff" you have lying around. Take some time to sell, donate, throw away, or store items that you don't need. Not only will this make your home feel more spacious, but eliminating things you don't use will help make moving easier.
Organize What's Left Over
In open houses, people peek in closets, open drawers, and look in the basement. It comes with the open house territory, so make sure that whatever you have left in your home after de-cluttering is organized. This will help potential buyers feel less stressed and frazzled. It will help the home seem like somewhere where they could easily move.
With showings and open houses, every part of your home is going to be on display. That means that every part of your home needs to be cleaned (even the fridge!). Either deep clean your house or hire a cleaning company to come in and make sure the floors sparkle and the counters shine.
Get Rid of Personal Items
Buyers will want to step into your open house and feel like they could move into the space and make it theirs. By removing personal items like family photographs and kid's art on the fridge, you'll make it feel more like a potential home. Open houses can make people feel like they're intruding on someone's life if the home isn't staged properly.
Increase Curb Appeal
Getting your front stoop ready for the open house is a great way to stage the home. Put a fresh coat of paint on your door or power wash your stairs. Whatever you need to do to make sure your home looks beautiful on the outside, do it. A potential buyer will be more interested to go inside if the outside looks great.
Let There be Lights
Open up the shades, clean the windows, replace your light bulbs, and clean off the lampshades because more light means your home looks more open. Light makes a potential buyer feel cozy and at home and if you accentuate your lights during the open house you'll have more interested buyers.
Set the Thermostat to a Cozy Temperature
Make sure your home is not too hot, but not too cold! It needs to be set at a comfortable temperature for everyone so they'll want to stay a while and look around. If the home is too hot or cold, buyers will leave quickly without being sold on the home.
- Invite Everyone You Know to the Open House
Once you've gotten the home decluttered and staged, it's time to plan the open house. One of the hardest parts of having an open house is getting people there. Your realtor will probably post an event online, so share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #openhouse. Invite your neighbors, family, and friends online and in person. When you invite everyone you know to your open house, they'll spread it around to their friends and family. Never underestimate the power of a friend's recommendation. If a potential buyer hears about how cute your kitchen is, or how much they love your backyard, and how great it would be to live down the street, you'll end up having more interested clients at one of the open houses.
- Have Security Measures Put in Place
Although you want everyone to come see your home, for your safety and your realtor's, you'll want to have some security measures put into place for the day of the open house.
Make everyone who comes into your home check in with a valid identification and leave their information. This way realtors can get leads with the houses and ensure that the people who are entering your home are there for the right reasons.
Clean out any drugs from your medicine cabinets and make sure all of your valuables are either locked away or with you during the open house. You don't want to have the open house be an invitation to steal your possessions. Make sure your real estate agent has everyone chaperoned as they walk through the home and don't allow anyone to use the bathrooms while they're there.
- Before the Open House Starts ... Leave!
Finally, make sure you and your family are off the property while the open house is happening. Buyers will feel uncomfortable voicing concerns or asking questions if you're there listening. They'll also feel pressured to buy if you're the one showing them through the home, which will usually result in them feeling frustrated instead of intrigued; the exact opposite of how they'll feel if they're interested in buying the home.
Also, take your pets (and any trace of them) away from the home. Although you love your pets and can deal with barking, shedding, or strange smells, some buyers can't. A frightening experience with a barking dog could set a potential buyer off your property.
Bonus tip: Include a home warranty in the sale, feature it at the open house
Of course, as you begin to sell your home, consider purchasing a home warranty to protect it. With Landmark Home Warranty, you can put free listing coverage on your home when you put it on the market, and any repair or replacement up to $1,500 on a system or appliance that failed from normal wear and tear will be covered. It really is free, and it extends into a true warranty that you can purchase for the buyers during closing. Not only can this provide peace of mind to a buyer, it can make a home sell faster and for more money.
You can find more information on home warranties and free listing coverage on our website.