Posted on February 17, 2016

Congratulations: you’re ready to host your first open house! While it’s totally normal to be a bit nervous over the details (what if they notice that loose tile in the bathroom? what if you can’t remember how to interact with strangers?) there’s no reason to get worked up over the main event. If you’re wondering how to host your own open house, these open house tips for homeowners will walk you through exactly how to set one up that will draw people in, get them excited, and – with a little luck – net you the offer of your dreams.

Learn from the pros
Before hosting your own, visit open houses for similar properties in your area. You’ll get a sense of who’s looking for homes like yours, as well as see how professional real estate agents stage open houses and which features they mention. This is also a great opportunity to learn what not to do – what do the people hosting these other open houses do or say that makes you cringe?

Clean and declutter
You’ve probably guessed that neat, sparkling homes fetch higher offers. Before you host your open house is a great time to do a serious decluttering and get rid of all those pesky items you never look at or use. Remember that potential buyers will be opening your closets and cupboards to check out their storage capacity, so you can’t stuff everything you own in there either! If cleaning and organizing isn’t your thing, consider hiring a professional service before you show your home. You can find recommendations for trusted services in your area right here on Homecast.

Prepare a property information sheet
Create a one-sheet for visitors to take with them that lists all of the most relevant information about your home. Make sure to include at least one photo so potential buyers will remember which property was yours. Your sheet should include:

  • Address
  • Asking price
  • Description
  • Taxes (and common charges or maintenance when applicable)
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Descriptions of amenities such as appliances and outdoor spaces
  • Neighborhood and school information
  • Your contact information, including the link to your Homecast listing

Time it right
It’s best to host your open house when other open houses are taking place, as many home buyers will want to visit several in a session. Sunday afternoons tend to be the most popular day, so consider scheduling yours then.

Put out signs
Never underestimate the value of a walk-in customer. Place signs at popular intersections in your neighborhood that include the address and an arrow pointing in the right direction. Some open house signs even include a clear plastic holder for your property information sheet.

Get cookin’
Refreshments go a long way toward making your home seem inviting. Consider baking chocolate chip cookies (the ones that come in a tube are completely acceptable) to make your home smell irresistible, and put out an urn of coffee and disposable cups. Make sure to place a trash can nearby so visitors don’t leave trash lying around your home.

Take names
Place a sign-up sheet near the door and ask people to leave their name, phone number, and email when they arrive. This information is crucial for follow-up!

Give a warm welcome
Greet guests with a smile and make small talk: ask where they’re visiting from, if they’ve looked at other houses in the neighborhood, what they think about the weather. Steer clear of questions specifically about home-buying, like their budget and whether they’ve been pre-qualified: those can feel like an invasion of privacy.

Divide and conquer
If you’re selling your home with a spouse or family member, take turns manning the sign-up sheet and showing people around the home. Point out the details you love most and explain why. Statements like: “I love having my morning coffee in the garden” or “this tub is the best to soak in – it’s so nice and deep” help potential buyers picture what their own life in your home might be like.

At the same time, pay attention to social cues. If someone isn’t making eye contact or is giving short, one-word answers, give them space to walk through the house on their own.

Follow up
Use the contact info from your sign-up sheet to follow up with potential buyers. Thank them for visiting, and ask if they’re interested in your home. If not, ask if there’s anything they think you can do to make it more appealing for future buyers.

Setting up an open house can seem like a lot of work, but the benefits can be huge. By spending a little extra time and effort, you can save thousands of dollars on a broker’s fee – and put that money back into your own pocket.

Want to find out how much your home is worth? Homecast® now offers a FREE Home Value Report that helps you price smarter!

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