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What You Should Know About Open Houses

For most real estate agents, an open house is part of the marketing strategy. These days very few buyers inspect by appointment through the week. The more potential buyers you can get to view your home, the better chance you have to sell it.

Open houses can provide instant feedback to sellers, as well as word of mouth once neighbours know it's on the market. An interested buyer may notice other interested parties and make a decision sooner rather than later.

But open houses also have their drawbacks.
You get lookers trying to pick up decorating hints and curious neighbours who always wanted to know how your house looks on the inside. You also get real buyers who were attracted by your open house sign, but need a home of a different size or in a different price range.

The other downside to open houses is ensuring the security of your possessions. Although I have never had a problem in about twenty one years of marketing real estate, leaving small, easily portable valuables lying around during open houses is an open invitation to thieves. Put expensive jewellery, and your other small valuable items into a safe place out of harm's way.

There are a number of things to do before holding an Open House including:

Boost your street appeal. Mow the lawn, manicure the gardens, plant a few colourful annuals amongst the gardens or in large containers. Make sure your paths and front verandah are clear from any clutter, debris, or leaves- Spruce up the front door, perhaps a fresh coat of paint, or new hardware.

Clear the clutter. Nothing turns off prospective buyers - or will get neighbours gossiping - more than a house in disorder. Clear the benches, get rid of the knick-knacks, and limit the number of family photos and personal items on display.

If you have too much furniture, put some of it in storage. Don't crowd your wardrobes -the fewer clothes hanging in them, the larger they will appear.

Clean. Get down to the nitty gritty and clean every corner from the kitchen to the laundry to the kids' rooms. And don't forget the windows. This is the one time you'll want be sure the windows are sparkling.

Do repairs. Make sure everything is working properly. If that door handle has been loose or the dishwasher isn't functioning, now's the time to fix it.

Place some fresh flowers in several locations throughout the house. Make it smell nice. Turn on some soft music.

Have somewhere to go…sellers shouldn’t be in the house.

Finally, ask for the advice of others before the open house. Get suggestions on what can be improved. Is there too much furniture? Should the carpets be cleaned first etc. It’s sometimes difficult to look at your own home objectively when you see it day in day out.
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