Fact: Open houses don’t sell real estate listings in Windsor Ontario. In fact, open houses rarely sell a home anywhere period. Sure, at one time opening your home to a parade of people on a Saturday afternoon could sell your home, but today, quite frankly, it’s a waste of time for the seller.
Why do open houses no longer work?
The web has changed real estate. Buyers today like to look at homes on their own schedule, which they can using the Internet. Prior to this, buyers had no choice but to visit open houses or make an appointment to view a home to even get an idea of what a home looked like on the inside. Today, that is not the case. Buyers have crazy schedules and like to have an idea of what to expect before they call their agent. This is why virtual tours are so important when selling a home. In my opinion, they have replaced the need for open houses.
Open houses benefit the agent, not the seller!
Open houses, for the most part, benefit the hosting real estate agent because it allows them to gather new clients. It’s a great way to meet people, hand out their card and get new business. Some people who walk through a home are not represented by an agent, so it gives them a perfect opportunity to meet a prospective client. For agents, an open house can be a win, even if they don’t sell your home.
Sellers are reluctant to open their homes to strangers!
For the most part, people that tour open houses are neighbours who are curious as to what the inside of a particular home looks like. They may be thinking of selling and want to compare homes to get an idea for their listing price. Or maybe they have heard you redecorated and made updates and are dying to see the improvements you made. Regardless, many sellers are aware of this and really don’t want their home to have a parade of strangers or nosy neighbours walk through their home. They also consider it a security threat. If an agent is busy touring with other buyers, it leaves too many people alone in your house without any watchful eyes.
However, some agents and sellers are reluctant to give up open houses all together. Certainly, it is not unheard of that a home sells from an open house, but it’s rare. Not only that, it does give an opportunity to get some valuable feedback from those that walk through the property.
If a seller insists on having an open house, here are some helpful tips:
1. Advertise on web:
Your home should have a huge presence on the web regardless if you have an open house or not. Use this to promote your open house. Don’t forget social media as well, such as Facebook and Twitter. Of course, don’t forget signs and advertisements in local papers. Use key words in your advertising to find your target buyer. If you are selling a home near a great school district, make sure that is mentioned. Near public transportation? Say that as well.
Make sure your home is void of any clutter and personal mementos. You want a buyer to walk in and imagine living there, not seeing how YOU live. Remove any collections, such as trophies or any sports memorabilia. The goal is for a buyer to say “I want to live here!”
If you can, hire a cleaning service to come and clean your home from top to bottom. Make sure all odors are neutralized as well, so don’t cook a spicy or heavy dinner the night before an open house.
4. Fluffy towels:
Buyers spend the least amount of time in the bathrooms, so make sure that what they see, they like. Again, it must be spotless and void of any personal belongings. Add fluffy white towels and maybe a small vase of flowers.
5. Organize closets/cupboards:
Buyers will look into your closets and cupboards, so make sure they look organized and provide plenty of space. I suggest that if you are selling your home this fall, get rid of all summer clothes in your closet to create more room. Take out half of your kitchen equipment and clean out the pantry so that buyers are impressed with the amount of space.
6. Create atmosphere:
Since your real estate agent will be hosting the event, you can feel safe to light candles and put a fire in the fireplace. Have soft music playing at low levels, especially if you have a great sound system. Don’t worry about refreshments as you don’t want people walking through your home with anything that can stain the carpeting or create a mess. Again, the purpose is to sell the home, not create a party.
Don’t hang around during an open house as buyers find that intimidating. Also, take any and all pets as well so that buyers can walk around freely without any interruptions.