Tips for a Successful Open House
By Bob Lipply
You’re having the jitters. Your open house is tomorrow. And first impressions count!
Help your real estate agent make it a smashing open house. Help him clinch that sale. The rule of thumb is to prepare well in advance, and not 24 hours before. Twenty-four hours will not be sufficient time for the nitty-gritty that will make or break a public showing.
You remember how it was during school. If we crammed, we most likely failed the exam the next day. But when we studied weeks in advance, we felt we knew the subject matter by heart. The same principle applies to open houses. The harder and longer you prepare, the better the results will be. It may even put a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket!
Make a lasting first impression – most real estate agents agree: a clean house is the #1 priority. The word “clean”, however, does not only mean a house that has been tidied up a few hours earlier, a walkway that was swept and hosed over, or windows that were cleared of dust and dirt. “Clean” means a lot more than that.
Studies have shown that dwellings painted in neutral colors convey a more pleasant and warmer welcome to visitors; they are able to visualize better about how their own personal effects can blend with the colors. Imagine having a wall that’s painted fire engine red or bedrooms that look more like an artist’s mural because too many psychedelic colors are flooding the eye. Re-painting your house may become a must, but do it a few weeks before, that way the fumes don’t linger.
The clutter, please – if you don’t want your potential buyers to trip just as they’re entering the house, eliminate unnecessary furniture and house accessories to allow for more breathing room. If visitors can’t move about freely because there are obstructions along the way, chances are they’re likely to go somewhere else.
Buyers will want to see the size of the closets, so eliminate the clutter. Leave the clothes and shoes neatly hung, but remove your grandmother’s old sewing machine. Remember, closets that look like storage rooms are unattractive. Don’t make your guests feel that there are real skeletons in the closet!
Be considerate – while dogs and other pets are adorable creatures, they have no place in an open house. One or two of your buyers might not be animal lovers or are allergic to animal hair. Some buyers also know of the damage and dirt these creatures leave on their tracks, so keep them out of the house until the open house is over.
Also you need to be out of the house. Leave your real estate agent to do what he does best. Potential buyers feel more comfortable when you are not there initially – they are not ready to meet you yet!
And oh yes, how about some nice, delicate flowers that don’t give off a strong smell? This simple gesture will do wonders to liven up your home. Choose different pastel colors to serve as a contrast to the neutral background.