Guide to Hosting an Open House

It’s Open Season—for Open Houses that is!
Here’s a great guide to prepare you for a successful open house.

A well-planned Open House can produce qualified buyers for your home. Here are a few rules and guidelines we’ve learned throughout the years that can make your event successful and memorable.

Your Hosts:
When we represent the homeowner as their exclusive Sales Agent, we recommend that the homeowner not be in attendance during an Open House. It makes prospects uncomfortable and they are not able to openly express their opinions to our agent with homeowners present. This can help you better learn how people are reacting to your home.

Remove Pets:
Don’t just move them outside. Move them off premises. And remove any signs of them. This includes water bowls, food bowls and pet toys. Thoroughly vacuum before your Open House, and include any furniture surfaces that may easily show pet hair. Be sure to scoop your yard prior to the Open House.

Store Toys:
Any home with children can get quickly filled with toys and other items. While this is normal for you, it may appear cluttered to your prospects. Take the time to remove toys from the floor and store them neatly in baskets or closets.

Welcoming Scent:
Bake cookies, burn a candle or use HVAC scented filters such as vanilla or cinnamon. Lemon is also a great scent that makes a house smell like it’s just been cleaned. Pledge lemon scent works great for this. Just make sure it’s not overpowering and your guests will feel as though they’ve just entered their next home.

Remove Photos:
We recommend removing all personal/family photos. People prefer to think of the space as their own. Think about the things that are important to you and make your home feel like ‘yours’, and that will give you a good idea of what you may need to temporarily remove. The more personal the item, the less likely your prospects may be able to envision themselves in this space.

Remove Dated Items:
Items like fuzzy toilet lid covers and silk flowers can really date your home. Remove those items to give the home a more neutral, modern day feel.

Neat, organized closets and cabinets make it seem as though the home has been well cared for. And most prospects will open cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Remove excess products (cleaners, shampoo bottles, etc.) temporarily to give your cabinets a more organized look. The same goes for clothes and shoes. Very little (if anything) should be on the floor of your closets.

This includes excess appliances on your kitchen countertops and unnecessary knick knacks atop furniture. Some homeowners even rent storage facilities in order to remove additional furnishings and accessories, which might inhibit the prospect from imagining the space as their own.

Clean Windows:
Cleaning the entire house is obvious, but remember that clean windows and glass doors allow for light and a clear view to the outdoors.

New Hand Towels:
Display new hand towels in bathrooms and the kitchen. It’s a simple way to spruce things up and make a good impression. Nothing says ‘old’ like a dingy towel. For your visitors, it’s a great idea to provide folder paper towels for drying their hands. No one likes to think they’re re-using a towel! You can find the industrial type foldable paper towels at places like office supply stores and restaurant supply service companies.

Curb Appeal:
Make sure your lawn is manicured, water hoses are neatly rolled, patio sets are neatly positioned and all debris or unnecessary items are removed from the yard. If you have a patio set, stage it as though you would for an outdoor BBQ. People love to imagine what it would be like to entertain in your outdoor living space.

Inviting Entryway:
Make sure your front porch is clean and inviting. Place pillows on your outdoor chairs, clean outdoor lighting fixtures and place a simple wreath on your front door. Consider potted plans or hanging baskets to set the scene of a warm, inviting home.   Your guests should see that you take pride in your home and that you take care to keep it well maintained.

Hide Valuables:
This includes jewelry and money, of course. But don’t forget electronics, such as mobile phones, computers, tablets and gaming systems. Just as important, remember to remove prescription medications from bathrooms and kitchen cabinets. This is not only a health hazard, it could also become a liability.

Don’t Hover:
Allow guests to walk throughout the home without someone on their heels. Greet them as you wish someone would greet you in a retail store, and don’t be overbearing or ask too many questions. Introduce yourself and let them know you’ll be there to answer any questions, but that they should feel free to walk the premises as they wish.

Collateral Materials:
You’ll need a flyer for distribution, which gives all the pertinent details about your home at a glance. Our agent will provide this for you.

Visitor Sign-In Sheet:
Collect contact information from all visitors by asking them to sign a visitor sheet (include first name, last name, phone and email address). This allows you to keep a record of visitors AND to market to them individually after your Open House.

Safety First:
Be sure to clear your lawn of all debris and remove leaves from sidewalks (and any other obstacles that could present a tripping or falling hazard). Remove all items from stairways and make sure your handrails are secure. If necessary, post warning signs for steep stairways and areas where visitors may need to be more aware of their step.

GOOD LUCK! And as always, we’re here to help you with Anything Real Estate™.

Keep our number handy! 678-444-4110

Michael Carr is the Co-Founder & COO of BrandFace, LLC. He is also a real estate branding expert and international bestselling author. As America’s Top Selling Real Estate Auctioneer, he has sold billions of dollars in commercial and residential properties.


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