Sarasota Realtors Robert and Valerie Orr
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Seller's Guide To Open Houses

When you decide to sell your home, you'll be confronted with a number of things to do, from searching and buying a new home, to making moving plans, to scheduling inspections, and more. The list goes on and on, but what too many sellers do is focus on their next property to the detriment of their own home. They rely on a quick cleaning, a little spruce-up of their entryway and curb appeal, and of course, their seller's agent to sell their properties.

However, the homeowners need to be in touch with the entire process and help to market their properties to get it sold quickly and for a good price. It's not just about having neatly arranged furniture and open window treatments, it's also about presenting their home in the most appealing way. Open houses are intended to do just that: make a property appealing enough to generate more than casual interest.

The reason for holding open houses is obvious but too many sellers don't really understand what buyers most want, and that can sabotage their entire efforts. When hosting an open house, you'll have to put yourself in the buyer's shoes. Think about what you'd most like to see and what type of experience you'd like to have if you were the one touring the property for the first time.

What Sellers Need to Know about Holding an Open House

An open house is a time for you to show off the best features of your home to potential buyers. Some sellers believe that hosting open houses aren't necessary because of the internet. They mistakenly think that publishing plenty of photos and perhaps a video, is enough for interested buyers to learn about their property. Of course, this isn't true because with such a large transaction, potential buyers will want to see the home in person to get a better sense of its "feel."
Holding houses open consistently, Sunday after Sunday, can be very rewarding and profitable. You can attract more prospects by investing several hours in this manner than you can in perhaps three or four weeks by the conventional appointment method. Additional benefits are the exposure it gives a salesman to buyers and owners of real estate and the opportunity you have to discuss other properties with them. Last but not least it will sell the property in question. --National Association of Realtors

Open houses are a great way to do just that, and, these are not the only marketing strategies available. In addition to what most people think of when hearing the term "open house" is a broker's open house. This is a time when the seller's agent invites other local real estate professionals to their listing to tour a property. One of the attendees likely will represent a buyer that's looking for this type of home.

Seller's Guide to Open Houses

The reason for holding an open house is to show the property and generate interest. When potential buyers see others interested in the same property, they are more likely to take action. Before you begin to hold open houses, do the following:

  1. Walk through with your real estate professional. Schedule a time to walk through your home with your listing agent and have him or her make a list of everything that needs to be repaired and updated. Have him or her prioritize the list so you know what's most important.

  2. Make repairs and complete updates. Using the list created by your listing agent, repair what's broken and make updates accordingly. Buyers will definitely take notice of things which need to be repaired and might balk at things that are out-of-date.

  3. Declutter your space. This can't be emphasized enough. People that tour your home want to be able to maneuver freely and feel as though there's ample space. Organize and empty closets as much as possible, along with the garage to impart a sense of space and to showcase how much storage there is in the home.

  4. Improve the curb appeal. Give the exterior a pressure wash, plant colorful flowers, and trim your landscaping. Buyers will form an impression about your property in just 7 to 10 seconds, according to studies done about marketing.

  5. Clean, clean, clean. Everything ought to be spotless. Even the sight of laundry in a basket can be a negative. Go methodically room by room and clean from top to bottom.

  6. Dress the part. Because we live in a subtropical climate here in Sarasota, there's a casual lifestyle. Though visitors are likely to be dressed casually, you shouldn't be, if you're going to stay for the open house.

  7. Place documents in a conspicuous place. The appraisal, a pre-listing home inspection report, and information about the house (the listing), should be in a conspicuous place so visitors can read them without having to be conflicted about asking questions.

Finally, if you are going to stay through the open house, have pets stay with family or a neighbor, and don't follow visitors through your property as they walk through.