Holding an open house is a tried-and-true method for boosting the visibility of a house for sale. An open house also provides buyers with a valuable opportunity to see the home firsthand while making connections with its sellers.
Whether you're a realtor or selling a home on your own, capitalize on the open house by incorporating these valuable tips for planning and presentation.
Get the word out
Use everything at your disposal by listing the open house on websites and in local publications. Realtors should enter the open house in the Multiple Listing Service and announce the date and address at weekly realtor meetings.
Signs, signs, everywhere a sign
Lots of people follow nothing but signs to an open house, so don't just put signs on the corner and in the yard — post them at busy intersections and along popular routes that lead to the home for sale.
"But first check with your city offices to make sure local ordinances allow the signs," advises Sara Walker, a real-estate broker and certified EcoBroker with Patricia Sprague in Ashland. "Some cities are quite restrictive."
"Let's face it, you've got to provide some attraction because so often so many of these roads just go off over a hill," says Ramsay Realty broker Kelly Quaid, who specializes in Applegate Valley property.
"Sign placement is critical — it has to face people when they're driving around."
Rural signage should be "active," says Quaid, who recommends attaching streamers or other materials that catch the breeze and the eye.
Draw attention with balloons, flags, flowers — anything that makes drivers see the signs and the house, itself. Walker has even rented a bubble-making machine for unexpected drama and fun.
Invite the neighbors
They may be thinking about moving or may have friends and family who are looking to buy a house nearby.
"Plus, it's good public relations in the neighborhood," says Walker. "If you'd like, you could invite the neighbors at a special time all on their own."
Sparkling clean and smelling wonderful
A home that's open to potential buyers needs to make a great impression. That means it should squeak with cleanliness. And every room must pass the sniff test.
"Smell is an underappreciated aspect of a house, and it should always smell at least neutral and, hopefully, really good," says Walker.
Feels like home
Create a welcoming atmosphere by baking and offering goodies and freshly brewed coffee.
"People like to see that you've taken some time preparing the home, so they're not just staring at walls and floors," says Quaid. "You actually put in their mind that it's not just an open house — that it's a home where they can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a cookie and just relax."
If cookies aren't on the menu, bake apples or light some candles. If it's hot outside, always provide cold water and lemonade.
Flowers for flourish
Greet visitors with a walkway of planted or potted flowers then fill the home with a few bouquets cut from the yard or purchased from a flower shop.
Sellers should be invisible
If you're selling a house on your own, be present but very unobtrusive. If a realtor is in charge, the seller shouldn't be present.
Provide useful information
In addition to the listing and the sales sheet about the house, Realtors should offer potential buyers a list of other houses that are in the same price range, as well as a list of other open houses available that day. And don't forget to put your contact information on all the paperwork!
Create a computer slide show
Have a laptop set up with a slide show of the home's landscaping at different times of year. In a condo, townhouse or other situation where that's not appropriate, feature scenes of Rogue Valley life and area attractions.
"You'll get people from out of town who will appreciate learning about these benefits of the region," says Walker.
Sign-in sheet for follow-up
"It's always good to know who's coming through, and the seller likes to know how many people showed up," Walker says. "Plus, it provides contact information if follow-up seems important."
Once you've adopted these tips, it's time to open the door to your next home sale.