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All you need to know about an Open House

By Sadiya Anjum

Holding an open house was one of the most time-honored traditions of real estate. However, new marketing techniques like web portals and cable tv infomercials have raced ahead of this marketing strategy.

Several valid questions have been raised regarding the benefits of an open house to the seller. Several real estate agents themselves claim that an open house is a waste of time. What tends to happen is that agents benefit more than the sellers from this marketing strategy. They will meet other prospective clients and lead them to other houses that they are trying to sell.

Apart from this, do not have any illusions about the kind of people who will show up. A very large percentage of people are not actual buyers. Some people are just there to compare your house to the one they are actually looking at, neighbors show up to check the price of your home and the rest may just not be able to afford your house or are not looking to buy a home like yours. This does not mean that an open house is absolutely useless. Some houses (albeit a very small number) have been sold as a direct result of an open house.

If you choose to hold an open house you need to do two important things: get your house tidied up and then get the word out there. Start by cleaning your house thoroughly or hire a cleaning service to do the job for you. Remove all clutter, get your children to keep their toys in place and even put away unused furniture if rooms look crowded. Plenty of light is needed so open out the curtains and blinds. A soft music in the background is recommended: choose classical music. Do not do this if you are unsure. Get rid of funny or bad odors in your bathrooms/ kitchen/ home. When preparing for an open house, the best thing to do is ask a friend to take a walk in your home and make recommendations.

Your house may look brilliant but if only neighbors show up, it is not going to help. Informing the right audience about your home is important. Put up posters/ signs at your local grocery store, hardware store, on your yard, at either end of your street, at major intersections around your neighborhood and other places you can think of. Even consider putting up a small advertisement in your local newspaper clearly stating the day and time.

On the day of the open house, send your kids away to a friendís house. Most importantly, lock up your prized possessions; you do not want any of your things missing at the end of the day. If you are going to be present at the house, show people around and hover in the background ready to answer questions; do not stick to them like glue.

Chances of obtaining an offer immediately after an open house are pretty narrow. Give this serious thought before doing it especially if you are selling your home on your own. There is a lot that needs to be done to manage an open house. An open house cannot be your only marketing strategy, it can complement your other efforts and nothing else.

But what is recommended is an open house for agents instead of one thrown open to the public. When you hire an agent, he may choose to conduct an open house for agents. This may prove to be highly beneficial as other agents will be able to view your home and in turn bring in the buyers.

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