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10 Essential Open House Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers

May 06 2015
May 06 2015

By

open-house

Spring and Summer are the busiest times in real estate according to statistics nationwide. For home buyers, this busy season means doing your homework to find as many homes that fit your needs and scheduling times to attend open houses. For home sellers, it’s all about the prep work and taking those extra steps to boost your homes curb appeal so that it stands out from your competition. In any case, an open house is a long-standing tradition that's essential in any real estate transaction. It allows sellers to showcase the best features of their home, while giving buyers an opportunity to visualize themselves living there.  Based on 20+ years of real estate experience, we can tell you that an open house has the potential to make or break a home.  Knowing the tips and tricks of getting the most out of an open house will not only give you an edge over your competition, but will also help you to find the right real estate agent to work with. So for those of you who are looking to start this process the smart way, here are 10 Essential Open House Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers.

HOME SELLERS

1. Take advantage of technology

YourListing

Did you know that 90% of buyers are going to look at your house virtually before attending an open house? This means that you not only need professional photos that'll entice buyers to want to look into your home more, but you also need to know how to get your listing the most visibility. That's why it's important to hire a real estate agent that works with an experienced photographer and can get your listing on every major real estate website such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, as well as portals on Yahoo and Google. What we like to do is give a sneak preview of a home through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Blogger) days before the open house so that we can generate a buzz and attract the most potential buyers as possible.

2. Enlist the neighbors

Selling your home

You would think that the last thing you'd want at an open house are your neighbors nosing through your closets. However that might not be such a bad thing considering that neighbors could act as scouts for you. They're the people who want their friends or family members to move into the neighborhood, so you can bet that they'll be helping you spread the word. Consider mailing out invitations or fliers to the open house and make sure to give your neighbors an incentive for helping you get leads.

3. Clear out your storage

decluttering

We all know the importance of depersonalizing a home before an open house and keeping things as neutral as possible so that buyers can picture themselves living there. However, what many sellers don't think about is that serious buyers will look at the home's storage options.  This means that they'll be looking through all the cabinets, drawers and closets so it's best if you don't hide your personal belongings there. It's also important to remove or hide all of your medications because open houses tend to be a hot crime for pharmaceutical thefts. Rent out a temporary storage space for all your personal and valuable items and make sure that all storage areas in your home are clear of clutter before hosting an open house.

4. Time your open house right

timing for open house

In most cases, you'll find that an open house is usually held on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays tend to be the most popular) because those days bring in the most traffic.  However with the busy season bringing more sellers to the market, you'll want to set your open house at a strategic time so that you'll stand out from your competitors. We recommend having an open house from 3PM to 5PM on Sunday or even from 5PM to 7PM on Thursday. Chances are that buyers will hit several open houses in one day and if they're still looking by the end of the day, you'll get serious consideration. Study your competition and make sure you know what open houses are going on around the area so that you can avoid any overlaps.

5. Create a lasting first impression

welcoming_environment

The front entry of your home is pretty much the first thing that home buyers will see, so give your home its best shot of grabbing some attention by enhancing it's curb appeal.  Do this by mowing the lawn, planting some fresh flower beds and removing any dead/unhealthy shrubs or plants. Also be sure to create a soothing and welcoming environment for buyers by playing soft background music and enhancing the lighting in each room (opening up windows to let natural light in and sometimes even increasing the voltage of your lights).  We like to stick with some good old classical music and depending on the home's ambiance, we'll spruce it up with some jazz. We like to throw in some pupus and wine/champagne as well to help get the guests comfortable. Trust us...if there's food and alcohol involved, people will come and be more willing to engage in meaningful conversations about your home.

HOME BUYERS

6. Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions when selling your home

At an open house, the beautiful light fixtures and appliances will most likely catch your attention. However, don't assume that they come with the house. Ask the listing agent about it and if they're important to you, make sure they're on the contract when you right up the offer. Also be sure to ask the agent about any special assessments, fees you may be unaware of and their general opinion about the neighborhood. The best time to pick an agent's brain is at an open house, so get as many details about the house as possible. Keep in mind that the agent works for the seller so try not to share too much personal information about yourself or your housing situation. You don't want to share any information that could compromise your bargaining position.

7. Arm yourself with a toolkit

Arm yourself with a toolkit

Prior to attending open houses, create a list of all the must-haves and deal beakers for a home so that you know exactly what you want going into each situation. Have a notebook ready with all the listings you'll be visiting that day and take notes on each home so that you can compare it to your list at the end of each visit. Bring a measuring tape so that you can measure the spaces in the house to see if your furniture will fit in the spaces you want it to. If the listing agent gives you the OK to take photos, capture pictures of the most important things in that home and also things that you have questions about (ex: a leaking pipe or a crack in the whole). You could use these photos when it comes down to negotiation time.

8. Look past the decor

Look past the decor

Anyone can fall in love with a home at first glance. Home stagers are paid to make a home look beautiful, not functional. When you're looking at the home, look past all the fancy decor and try to look out for any moisture issues or cracks. You don't want to move into a home with lingering issues that will end up costing you more in the long run, so be sure to bring these up to the listing agent if you spot them. Also make sure to thoroughly inspect the basement since it's the foundation of the home and can tell you a lot about the structural health of the house.

9. Know the DOM of a home

Know the DOM of a home

DOM stands for days on market and can tell you how a particular listing in faring in the marketplace. If you see a home priced a little higher than what you can afford but its DOM is at 100, chances are that home won’t be selling at its list price. Knowing the DOM of a home before going to an open house can better prepare you to ask questions. Probe the listing agent for some history details on the home to see why other buyers haven't been biting at the opportunity. If the home has been on the market for a while, you're more likely to convince a buyer to negotiate.

10. Get a feel for surrounding areas

Get a feel for surrounding areas

Before stopping at an open house, take a quick drive around the neighborhood to study the surrounding areas. This will help you to spot things you might've overlooked during your research. Is the home near railroad tracks? Is it near commercial buildings? Is it near a quiet location or busy location? How's the parking situation for nearby areas? These are all important factors in determining if a home is the right fit for you and your needs.

For more information about essential open house tips for home buyers and sellers, contact your Eichler Real Estate & Sunnyvale Real Estate Experts today.

Email us: Team.Erdal@Cbnorcal.com
Call us: (408) 973-9805
Visit our website: www.erdalteam.com
"Like" us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ErdalTeam
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Scarlet Mcpherson

April 29, 2018 6:43 AM

Thank You.


William

April 30, 2018 1:14 AM

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