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Let’s Talk Open Houses

Over the weekend I held a house open that had over 40 attendees.  (In case you don’t know, this is A LOT in Cental PA). A highly attended open house means something for both the seller and for potential buyers.

But first, how do you make sure (as a seller) that your Open House is well attended in the first place?

This particular seller did all of the right things BEFORE even marketing the open house.  Here are just a few things they did to ensure success:

*Turned on every single light in the house.
*Made sure the floors were spotless.
*Significantly minimized even the smallest amount of clutter.
*Depersonalized the house on a large scale.
*Dropped their price just before the Open House.
*Even in the dead of winter, this seller made sure that the exterior of the home looked just as good as the interior.
*Had a lender attend Open House to answer on-the-spot financing questions.

What could this seller have done even better?

*Seller left one personal photo hanging in the dining room and it got commented on by SEVERAL buyers.  Buyers want to know you are human, but when there are A LOT of people coming through your home you want to make sure it is as depersonalized as much as possible because there is a shorter amount of time to capture that buyer’s attention.
*Seller could have put a fragrance diffuser in the garage beforehand as there was some mention that the garage smelled of smoke.

What was just plain luck for this seller?

There happened to be a listing that came on the market that was directly across the street from this listing.  If you are a seller, turn neighborhood listings into your ally and coordinate open houses on the same day and time.  This will help drive traffic to your listing. Your agent will make sure to be armed with all of the great talking points of why your home is a better purchase.

Okay, so all of that is great for a seller, but what does a well attended open house mean for potential buyers?

Great question.  If you are a buyer that has just attended a high traffic Open House and you are even remotely interested, walk back in the home and take another look BEFORE moving on to the next home.

Here’s why:

*Most often (but not always) a high traffic Open House means that some of those buyers are most likely to write an offer on the home that evening.  While it is natural to want to look at a home more than once before deciding to make an offer, if you are in a real estate market that has low inventory, you will need to be quick to act if you want to make that home yours.
*When there are a lot of people inside a home that you think you may want to live in, it can be easy to overlook things.  Let’s face it, your emotions have kicked in and the competitor in you wants to WIN! You want to make sure that this house is worth winning so be quick to act but a little slower to decide by taking a second look.
*If there are a lot of buyers there, hopefully the agent has brought along a lender or another agent who can help field questions.  Since the goal of an Open House is to promote as many showings as possible in a short amount of time, the agent can often be overwhelmed with questions.  Make sure you seek that agent (or agents) out BEFORE leaving to make sure you know everything there is to know about the home to help you properly decide if you are looking to move forward.  For instance, if that property has special deed restrictions which interfered with erecting a fence (and a fence was a must have) then you would want to know that BEFORE making an offer on the home.

It is super easy to feel pressured when you are inside a home and there are several other people also considering it.  You could feel even more pressure in a low inventory market. DON’T CAVE TO THE PRESSURE! Your home is the foundation of everything else in your life.  If you aren’t currently working with an agent, arrange to have an individualized phone call with the Agent on Duty right after the Open House is over. That way the agent can provide answers to you in a private setting and help you decide whether or not this home will be a good fit for you.

If you ARE working with an agent already, call your agent and let them know what questions came up for you about the home, and have them work through all the details with you.

Don’t forget though that you want to take all of the necessary measures before making an offer, but a well attended Open House means that you will want to do all of that very quickly.

If you are a home buyer in a low inventory market, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself ahead of time to reduce the competitive pressure during your home search:

*Get pre-approved: Know ALL of the scenarios available to you financially.
*Know Your Numbers: Know exactly how much cash you have on hand and know whether or not you are going to need to ask for seller help with closing costs.
*Have Your List Ready: Before looking at houses you should already have a want vs. need list.  Identify your top 3 “must haves” and your top 3 “nice to have”. Bring that list on *showings and to open houses.  Then, make a pro and con list of the Open House while you are going through it.

The more prepared you are, the less pressure you will feel when walking through Open Houses.  Try not to let yourself feel pushed into a home you may regret buying later.

Questions?  Call Gina at 717.963.0016 or email

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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