If you have ever bought or sold a home, you are probably familiar with open houses and the role they can play in the sale or purchase of a home. Open houses are a marketing tool which can help give a home exposure, allowing several potential purchasers to view properties over the course of a day or two - usually on a weekend.
In addition to holding open houses for the public, REALTORS® also conduct open houses for other real estate professionals. This gives them a chance to promote their listings with other REALTORS® and Brokers who may have suitable buyers who would be interested in these particular properties.
Hints for Sellers
First of all, your property should be in top-notch condition to create a favourable and lasting first impression with potential Buyers. Keep your lawn trimmed and tidy. Also make sure that all trees, hedges and shrubs look neat, not unruly. Trim branches that block the view of your home or hide some of its best assets.
Repair any unsightly cracks or holes in your walkway or steps that could prove to be a safety hazard. Don't leave tools and toys strewn around the front or back yards; these detract from the curb appeal of your home, making it look like an obstacle course. They could also prove to be hazardous if someone tripped over them.
If your trim or siding looks dirty, wash it using an appropriate cleaning solution (your hardware store can probably give you tips on what's best to use). And if your paintwork is peeling or blistering, it's time for some cosmetic surgery. A little paint can go a long way to enhance the marketability of your home. If you are unable to tackle the job yourself, hire a professional for best results.
Indoors, open up curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. This helps show your home to its best advantage. And be sure to move any clutter out of sight and rearrange furniture that might impede traffic flow.
Rooms should also be thoroughly aired and as fresh as possible - particularly if you have pets or when someone in your family is a smoker.
Vacate the premises for the day
Your REALTOR® will recommend that you leave during the Open House to help make prospective Buyers feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. If you are in the house, Buyers are more likely to be intimidated and reluctant to give your home the thorough viewing it deserves.
If you have pets, make sure you take them with you - others may not appreciate them as much as you do.
Before you leave, put all personal property like jewelry, medications and fragile items well out of harm's way in a safe, secure storage place. Don't leave money lying around. To make sure everything is secure and ready to receive visitors, quickly inspect your home with your REALTOR® just before you leave.
If you have any particular concerns about the open house, talk to your REALTOR® to see what suggestions he or she might have for you.
Tips for Buyers
On the flip side of the coin, if you are a Buyer attending open houses, keep in mind that viewing an Open House is a privilege.
Also keep in mind that the REALTOR® on duty is acting as host of the Open House on the Sellers behalf; the salesperson should be treated with the same respect you would give the Seller.
When asked to identify yourself at an Open House, you should sign the guest register. The Seller has the right to request that you sign the register, providing your name, address and telephone number.
It is also important to refrain from wandering through the house without the salesperson present; if the REALTOR® is busy, wait until he or she is able to show you around. The salesperson will be able to point out the features of the home you may miss if you look around on your own and can also answer any questions you may have.
When attending open houses, it is also important to clarify up front if you have been viewing homes with another REALTOR® . Keep in mind that the REALTOR® you are working with has gone to a lot of effort on your behalf and won't get paid a commission if you switch to another REALTOR® .
Open houses can be of benefit to both Sellers and Buyers when they are properly planned so be sure to talk to your REALTOR® about them.
I am the GUY that will make a difference!
I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.
Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty