Expect Great Things From your Next Open House

By: Alex Peterson

Open houses are great ways to create exposure for your property. When advertised and executed properly open houses will tap into most interested buyers and reinforce established ties with a community. Running a well prepared open house can give a potential purchaser many insights into life inside the home and the community and ultimately sell the home faster Taking the proper steps to make sure your home shows its best, and tap into all possible sources before showing are essential.

With the competitive nature of the home selling process, more real estate agents and homeowners are utilizing "stagers," professionals with design backgrounds to create the most appealing atmosphere possible. Home stagers' fees can start at $100 an hour with a two hour minimum. They can create environments for homeowners that make a property more appealing to a greater number of potential buyers. Regardless of what methods you use to present your home, it should feel like a home. Your home may not be ready to grace the cover of a trade magazine, but it should make the most of its best attributes.

Cleaning the home from top to bottom is where most real estate professionals recommend, paying strict attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Carpets should be vacuumed, every surface dusted, dishes put away as well as anything else: clothes, toys and books that will take away from the focus of the room. Small repairs should be made: leaky faucets and toilets, chipped paint, and torn screens should all be fixed. An inspector or Realtor would be helpful in streamlining the house: removing extra furniture or putting away any excess that would take away from the warm and inviting environment of the home.

Once the inside is cleaned you can take care of other necessary improvements that will add to the overall atmosphere of the home. Painting, landscaping, and deep cleaning are just a few. Changing the lighting at the entrance ways can also create a warm mood and make the home more inviting. Major improvements shouldn't be done unless you plan on recouping the cost in the sale price.

Bushes, plants, trees and grass should be trimmed and neat. The exterior impression is the first impression your home makes to a buyer. Recent Studies indicate "50 percent of purchase decisions are made during the first 60 seconds" of a buyers' stroll up the walk. If an inspector or professional home stager aren't in your budget, have your Realtor inspect the inside and outside of the house and offer insights or advice. The whole point is to make the best first impression you can to entice the buyer in for a better look.

As the big day approaches there are some things to make the open house runs as smooth as possible. Make sure all your valuable and personal items have been put away. Make sure doors and windows that should be left open are and main hallways cleared. Garbage should be emptied and if you haven't had a chance to completely air out the home, now is the time. Turn on all lights to allow the home to appear as bright as possible.

Experts strongly advise against scented fresheners and carpet deodorizers. They do recommend fresh cut flowers, potpourri, and scented candles. Even simulating the subtle aroma of a home cooked meal has been suggested. The key is subtle--make sure that the aroma will not aggravate prospects' allergies. It also might be the time to take advantage of visual cues. There are some neat tricks that won't cost you an arm and a leg to enhance tables, sitting areas or focal points of the tour with a bowl of fruit, a display of magazines, candles, small water gardens, or a strategically placed wicker basket.

Ask questions and gain opinions of other homes for sale in your area. Find out what other sellers are doing and what buyers are expecting. Visit other open houses in your area before your event. The whole point of the open house is for prospective buyers to find what they are looking for in terms of a home. The easier a seller can do that than the quicker he sells his home.

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