An Open-House can solve a difficult contingency. And it can be one of many keys that unlocks selling your house. In our previous blog, we pointed this out in Part I of our coverage of this topic. We also explained that one of the most difficult contingencies to defeat in buying a new house is the sale of your old one. There are many ways to sell a home. But today we continue to de-mystify the Open House. This is very timely since the neighborhood streets in Central Florida are sprouting balloons and open-house signs. You might want t review last week’s article as we continue revealing our favorite secrets behind open houses.
Open-House Goes Beyond Vanilla Cookies
We explained that clean was supreme when it came to having your open house. But beyond clean, you must de-clutter. And before you feel defensive about it and all the work, remember that our expert, Mitchell states, “Homebuyers want to walk into the house and visualize it as their new home,” Mitchell says. When a potential buyer sees your family photos and your children’s crayon drawings on the refrigerator during your open house, that becomes more difficult.”
Sunday, Most Important Day of Week
The experts at Relator Magazine state, “I treat Sunday as the most important day of the week,” says Wendy Cutrufelli. Wendy is a sales associate at Alain Pinel, REALTORS®, in Walnut Creek, Calif. Her enthusiasm for the Open House has never dimmed in spite of all the new ways homes can be sold on the Internet.
“When else will you be in a room full of buyers and sellers? You spend a lot of marketing dollars to reach these people, and open houses put you right in front of them.”
They would warn you that the event is an investment of time, effort and heart. “As Cutrufelli and other open-house enthusiasts can attest, orchestrating a great event isn’t easy. From getting people to show up to following up after the event, every open house requires careful prep work, excellent conversational skills, and a positive attitude.”
That being said, Palm State Mortgage Company takes this opportunity to show you the basics of how to make the event work for you. And whether you host it or your real estate agent does, being fun and friendly is important.
Keep that Contingency in Mind
At Palm State Mortgage Company, we are always reminding sellers about the contingency and main point. This contingency is to sell the old home before you can buy the new one. The Open-House event could help you sell your old home.
As a result, you have that cash to get that good mortgage deal on your new home. That is how you defeat the most difficult contingency in the book.
Welcome to the De-cluttering Zone
To put it bluntly, if the house is full of furniture and knickknacks, then potential buyers cannot see the home’s features. If you cannot sell the home, the contingency says you cannot buy your new one, so keep your eye on the prize and clear out the clutter.
Besides, you know you must pack anyway. So, we always say, now is a good time to begin. Let’s present your home to the public with a clean, sparse, streamlined look.
By the way, you can see exactly what we mean by “streamlined,” as you follow Zillow’s new show, “Open House Obsessed.” And take examples from some of the homes being shown.
Open-House for Dogs, Cats and Other Pets—Not Really
Your four-footed or feathered family members need to go visit their pet-grandparents for the duration of the Open-House. We do not want the visitors to even be aware of them.
So hide them and their food bowls, leashes and beds. Open-House events are for people.
Trust us, Palm State knows your pets will understand and forgive you.
House Magic and a Little PR
Your real estate agent, if you have one, will take care of a lot of publicity for you. However, you should also help to spread the word. And with this article and our previous one, you have a complete guide to the Open House Event. This could be important, should you need to do it yourself.
List your Open-House:
- in the multiple listing services,
- on all the major real estate portals,
- and Craigslist. Send flyers out to your Neighbors,
- Post notes about your Open-House on Nextdoor.com,
- Share the news with friends and don’t spare the use of social media.
Never Under-estimate the Power of Open-House Signs
Of course, you will put a sign on the front lawn. But remember, signs at main crossroads on the way to your house will help direct more people to your Open-House event.
And balloons are the icing on the cake. To some house hunters, those balloons tied to the top of signs are irresistible.
Open-House Means, You are on the Side of the Light
Open up those nice, clean curtains and blinds. Turn on every light even if you have sunshine. Light does magic to every nook and cranny of a room. So, avoid the dark side, and flip those switches on.
Do Not Tempt the Treasure Hunters during Your Open-House Hours
We advise you to remove or lock up any valuables. You know your agent cannot be in every room all the time. And if you are handling the Open-House event by yourself, you will be very busy. Thus, pack away and lock up your special treasures and expensive items.
Open-House Brochures and Flyers
In addition to looking at your house, prospective buyers will want information about it, preferably in a concise brochure or flyer that they can take home with them.
Here are the secrets you want to tell or show:
1. Photos of the house,
2. Info on Comparable home sales in the neighborhood,
3. School and Community information.
Perhaps you can also include mortgage information and a few nice examples of loan situations. You know this is not the only house on their route, so you want your visitors to have something by which to remember your home. You will find some attractive template to print your flyers at this handy online resource.
Buy, Bake or Borrow those Cookies
Some agents do not believe in the power of refreshments, but most of them do.
We know agents who go so far as to invite food trucks to Open Houses in certain neighborhoods. Having food or drink for your visitors allows you to mingle with them and interact. Some realtors give little trinkets like notebooks, pencils or key chains to visitors.
Rules of Engagement for your Open-House
You might like to research a few online articles to discover the tips companies give real estate agents about your Open-House event.
If your real estate agent is organizing the event, just leave, or at least be in the background. Actually, the common protocol is for the owner to be absent.
If the event is “do-it-yourself,” be professional. Also, be unobtrusive. Please allow your visitors walk around and do not make them feel guilty if they discuss the defects of the home.
Finally: The Terrific Take-Away
Chances are that you will hear some opinions or get some feedback. You may not necessarily agree with the feedback from your Open-House event. Be sure you listen closely to the feedback. Perhaps the house really is over-priced. If that is all you hear from 8 different visitors, they are probably right.
“If you don’t get opinions and people’s thoughts, you’re wasting a lot of audiences,” our experts say.
At the end of your Open-House event, you or your agent should have a nice list of names. Do not hesitate to call them or email them after the event. And find out more of what they really thought of your house. Again, this follow-up can be done by you or buy your agent. Either way, it is a valuable reason behind successful open houses. You or your agent should Collect names and contact information from everyone who visits.
Hopefully, with the help generated by your Open House, you will have a quick buyer for your home. Then at closing, you will no longer have a contingency against the mortgage for buying a new one.
A Special Reminder:
Mother’s Day is May 13th. We just wanted to remind you to take some time out of your busy week. Be sure to schedule something special for her. A card, a gift, a visit, sometimes the smallest expressions of appreciation will make her day special. And speaking of appreciation, thank you for visiting the Palm State Mortgage Company Blog.