Most homeowners believe that the process of selling a home simply means teaming up with a realtor, setting a price, throwing a grand open house and waiting for the offers to pour in. While this may happen on popular television shows, that’s not the reality in most cases. With the lingering effects of the housing market crash, open houses are not all they were cracked up to be. According to a study performed by the National Association of Realtors, less than 2% of home purchases are the result of a buyer attending an open house. So, the question remains, are open houses a valuable tool in selling your home? The answer is yes, but only if you are able to think outside the box.
Find Out Who Your Target Buyers Are
Before you can properly foresee the success or failure of an open house, you first have to identify your target buyer. You would not market your open house to buyers in their twenties and thirties if the décor and appeal of the house has baby boomer written all over it. You will need to work with your agent to define your target buyer and prep your house for that group of people. You want them to be able to see themselves living in your space and they can’t do that with junior’s basketball trophies all over the mantle. Preparing your home for the target buyer means depersonalizing, cleaning and decorating it to satisfy someone else’s taste and style.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
Most homeowners leave the advertising part of an open house to the realtor. While this used to be the way to conduct business, with today’s market, sellers should also play an active role in letting people know about their open house. Leave a few flyers at places that you frequent, or post one up on a bulletin board at work. You don’t have to put as much effort into marketing as your agent, but you may be surprised at how many connections you already have to people who could be interested in your home.
Give People A Reason to Show Up
If you were in the market for a new home, would you attend the regular old boring open house where you and dozens of other people all crowd several rooms, fight to see the bathrooms and kitchens, only to then grab the realtor’s business card on the way out the door? Or would you prefer to attend an open house where there are prizes and entertainment and private time with the realtor and the homeowner? Find a way to make your open house stand out and give people an incentive to attend. It could be something as small as a coupon to a restaurant or a free wine tasting during the event. Make your event stand out and remember to advertise!
Your agent should work with you to come up with the best open house plans for your time and your budget. You may want to invest a little extra cash into decorating your home and fixing minor repairs. While this is not mandatory, it certainly doesn’t look good to have an open house with the screen door barely on the hinges.
If you decide to go forward with the event, don’t expect to get a sale from the first person that walks through the door. Many homeowners wait for several months before they receive an inkling of interest from a buyer, and sometimes the outcome remains “no sell” for several more months. With any open house, patience is king and advertising is the crowned beauty that sits beside him.