Are you ready for the open house? You better be! Having an open house is not as easy as it may seem. A lot of preparations must go into having a successful day open house. Throwing a couple signs on the road and waiting will likely not yield results. Make sure not to make these all too common mistakes
- Neglected Curb Appeal. First impressions can make or break a deal. I cannot stress that enough. Pulling up to a house with bushes growing out of control, waist high grass, or un-shoveled sidewalks or driveways is an immediate turn off for buyers and will put you at an instant disadvantage. It may seem trivial but mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, cleaning the address letters, and power washing the facade will go a long way.
- Clutter. Did I mention that first impressions matter? Seems obvious but you would be shocked at how many open houses I have attended and have not been able to navigate the rooms due to a mess! It goes without saying but make sure all dirty clothes are nowhere in sight, put away dishes, and de-clutter areas of the house where you store the extra junk. It will make the rooms look larger and nicer and will keep the potential buyers interested in going towards the next room instead of the front door.
- Leaving Pets at Home. This is the perfect time for you to get out the leash and go for a nice, long walk (or drive in the winter). Buyers do not want to view a home with constant barking or meowing in the background. Some people are scared of animals and will not be able to pay any attention to your homes detail. Remember, when there are less distractions, more attention will be paid to your home.
- Foul Smells. Do not cook anything with a strong odor prior to an open house! There is nothing quite as unpleasant as walking excitedly into a house only to get hit with a stench of fish. If you have pets or smoke, make sure to take proper measures a couple days in advance to rid the house completely of the smell. A professional cleaning will go a long way. Pleasantly scented candles are also a good idea as they can sometimes mask minor smells.
- Staying Home. Go away from your home. Far away. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it makes buyers to have the owner hovering over them during the tour. Buyers like pointing out negatives and criticizing. They just do. They need space and the freedom to voice their concerns. Having the seller under the same roof or going on and on about how great their house is will irritate the buyers and they will leave with a bad taste in their mouth. Make sure your agent is present with marketing material on your behalf. If you are selling by owner, pay a neighbor. It is also quite emotional for sellers to part with their homes, and if they hear someone making critical comments, they will probably get defensive and nothing good will come of that.
- Not Getting a Second Opinion. Many people do not do this but it is important. Sellers are used to their house – the smells, lighting, image – and what seems presentable to an owner may not be to a third party. Have a friend walk through your home and and provide you with constructive criticism. While you may be used to a dim setting, a buyer will likely prefer an abundance of lighting and natural sunlight. You may not notice the paint that has been peeling for the last year but a buyer may be thinking water damage.
- Not Depersonalizing. I usually get a strange look from my clients when I recommend this. If possible, remove all photos, political statements, and religious art. The idea is for the buyers to see your home as theirs. Walking into a house filled with family photos is putting the seller at the center of attention. I don’t want the potential buyers being distracted with how beautiful the sellers family is or where they went on vacation. The buyers should be focusing on the the finishes and amenities of the house and imagining themselves living their. Leaving political or religious articles can contrast with the buyers beliefs and while that should not be factored into their decision, it can sometimes leave a negative impression.
- Forgetting to Put Away Jewelry and Valuable. This one is self-explanatory. Don’t get robbed.