If you’re a real estate agent or someone who is trying to sell their own home, you have inevitably heard of open houses and probably experienced a few of your own. Open houses are a unique opportunity for several potential buyers at once to experience a home and its neighborhood in an atmosphere that is similar to going to a model home. (Who doesn’t have fun touring a model home?) It’s a no-pressure situation that can even be fun for potential buyers if done right, and can be extremely beneficial to sellers because not only do they get several showings done at once, but you’ve also got the elements of competition (interested buyers feeling motivated to make an offer because other people touring may be thinking same thing) and word-of-mouth (passing the word on to their friends who may be better suited to the home).
Once you have gone through all the steps of properly staging your home for sale, there are extra steps you can take for the day of your open house to stage it for success. Here are 10 open house staging tips that will make buyers feel at home:
1) Freshen up your lawn. While you should be following the tips of creating beautiful curb appeal throughout the time your house is on the market, for the day of the open house you can run the sprinklers shortly before it starts to assure that it is at its most sparkling and fresh. Placing some fresh flowers next to the front door is also a nice touch.
2) Appeal to all the senses, including the nose. Buyers are instantly turned off by unappealing odors and get a sense that a house is “dirty” if they smell the presence of pets or other unpleasant odors. As a homeowner, you may not notice these smells if you live in them on a daily basis, but they will be very obvious to buyers coming into your home for the first time. To ensure freshness and enhance the overall pleasantness of a home, try baking some fresh cookies. You can bake some before the open house so the scent is already there when the first guests come in, and bake another batch during the open house to keep the scent present throughout. Then serve them in the kitchen to prospective buyers with a pitcher of water, bottled water, or lemonade.
3) Let the light in. Open all the windows so every room can be illuminate by natural sunlight. You definitely don’t want to give buyers the impression that your home is “dark” or “dreary” so the more light, the better. If you don’t have many windows or there just isn’t sufficient light coming in, make sure you have alternative lighting fixtures that still bring warmth to the home and set a welcoming mood.
4) Play music throughout the home. Music can greatly affect a person’s mood, often subconsciously, so why not take advantage of that? Model homes, hotels, restaurants – they all play music to set the mood. I suggest playing something that is unobtrusive and not too taste-specific, such as jazz music with a medium tempo or a blended radio station (meaning it plays music across many genres).
5) Be prepared to offer information. If possible, have the blueprints of the home ready to be seen by potential buyers and any other information pertaining to the home, such as inspections, information about the community, flyers and FAQ sheets.
6) Don’t forget the kids. Consider offering them something fun to do, like playing a family-friendly movie on your living room television or offering some toys for them to play with, such as coloring books and crayons. This will keep them busy and happy while their parents tour the house. (And will make some pressure of their folks, too!)
7) Set the table with some of your nicest tableware. This may sound like an unusual tip, but setting the table as though you were going to entertain guests is a simple way to make your home look more inviting. It will give potential buyers a chance to envision themselves entertaining there, too. Don’t worry about setting out your grandmother’s precious china if you aren’t comfortable with it; nice white plates, colorful napkins in pretty napkin rings, and stemware will achieve the effect you need. To step it up a notch, consider adding some candles and fresh flowers, too.
8) If you have a fireplace, light it. This is a great way to show off an attractive selling feature in your home while also setting a warm and inviting mood. Who doesn’t feel at home by a nice fireplace?
9) Keep the temperature comfortable. If it’s hot outside, make sure the AC is at a comfortable temperature. Nice, cool weather is a great opportunity to open the windows to let in some fresh air, but also consider turning your fans on to keep the air flowing if it isn’t quite cool enough.
10) Show your home through the seasons. While this doesn’t necessarily apply to people in my home state of Florida, many other states could benefit by this tip. Display photographs on a bulletin board of your home in the spring, summer and fall if you are selling during the winter so prospective buyers can get an idea of what the foliage looks like at different times during the year.
I hope you find these tips useful. Good luck during your open house and remember to have fun!