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.
*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 email@example.com.