When you put your house on the market, you might consider hosting an open house as a way of increasing foot traffic in your home and creating some buzz surrounding your listing. But hosting an open house isn’t as simple as placing a sign in the yard and attaching some balloons to the mailbox. If you want to make it worth your time, you need to know exactly what to do – and what not to do.
7 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making
There are many different ways to host an open house. Some people prefer small and intimate settings, while others spend lots of time with marketing and advertising as a way of getting as many people as possible in the door. The approach you choose is totally up to you.
With that being said, there are certainly some mistakes you don’t want to make. By avoiding the following, you can ensure your open house goes much smoother and ultimately leads to a sale.
- Don’t Attend
An open house is an open invitation for anyone to come check out your house – except you. Under no circumstances should a seller ever be present at an open house (unless it’s a for sale by owner situation). It will actually make serious buyers uncomfortable.
While it sort of goes without saying, you should never pretend to be an interested buyer and show up at your own open house. Not only will this be awkward to explain at the closing table, but you’ll probably hear some things you don’t want to hear.
“Your agent will be happy to consolidate, sort through and deliver the most useful insights from buyer and broker feedback provided at the open house in a way you can use to drive your future pricing and marketing decisions,” real estate expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson explains. Go out for coffee, stay at a friend’s house, plan a vacation…just don’t attend the open house.
- Don’t Leave Clutter
An open house is supposed to make a good first impression. It’s also designed to give prospective buyers a look at what could be their next home. In other words, they need to be able to picture themselves living in the space. If you have a bunch of clutter in your house, you’ll prevent people from doing so.
If you’re serious about selling your home and getting an offer at the open house, you might even pay professionals to come in and stage your house for you. This will guarantee you get the clean look buyers like.
- Don’t Leave Pets in the Backyard
Don’t throw Fido in the backyard and assume he’ll be okay. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is leaving pets at home during an open house. It’s not that people mind that a pet lives in the house (though it’s better if one doesn’t), but they really don’t want to deal with one barking, jumping, or nipping at their feet. Since you both need to be out of the house, why not take your dog to the park for an afternoon of canine bonding?
- Don’t Distract
When it comes to open houses, there are attractions and there are distractions. The former is fine, the latter is tacky and a waste of time.
An attraction at an open house would be something like free refreshments or “thank you” gift bags. These small elements make people remember the open house and may even encourage some people to come in the first place.
A distraction is something that’s unrelated to the open house and totally unnecessary. For example, live entertainment or a bounce house in the backyard is rarely a smart idea. This isn’t a carnival for families to bring the kids and hang out for a couple of hours – it’s a showing for serious buyers.
- Don’t Ignore the Neighbors
A lot of nosy neighbors like to visit open houses just to see what it looks like on the inside, or to get the scoop so they can gossip to their friends. As a result, many sellers keep an open house quiet until the last moment so they don’t get this sort of foot traffic. And while you don’t have to openly invite the entire neighborhood, do mention the open house to the folks on your street.
The last thing you want is to have dozens of cars show up and your neighbors to get frustrated. Even worse, what happens if your neighbors are throwing a party at the same time and all the parking is gone? It’s best to speak with them first.
- Don’t Require People to Sign-In
Some people like to require open house guests to sign-in when they enter, but this is a bad idea. It’s fine to have an optional sign-in, but requiring them to give their information is a major turn off.
- Don’t Hire the Wrong Listing Agent
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring the wrong listing agent. Some listing agents don’t like open houses or don’t have much experience hosting them, which can make them more of a risk than a benefit.
One of the worst things a listing agent can do during an open house is to reveal too much information. They’ll talk about how many showings you’ve had, what your motivation is for selling, or mention that you’re willing to negotiate on the price. A good agent, on the other hand, will showcase your house and know when to be quiet.
Contact Green Residential Today
Looking for the right listing agent in the Houston area? At Green Residential, we’ve gathered some of the most experienced and talented local real estate professionals in all of Greater Houston. Whether you’re relocating for a job and need someone who understands the area, or are simply moving across town and want someone who has your best interests in mind, you’ve come to the right place.
Contact us today and we’d be happy to speak with you personally.