Here is the latest in a series of occasional articles on “Best Practices” for NSDCAR members from 2017 NSDCAR President Michael Carunchio.
By Michael Carunchio
Open houses can sell homes. Successful REALTORS® know this. It doesn’t matter how attractive the listing if people don’t know about it. Plus, it makes sense to expose your home to the largest possible maximum number of buyers and then attract buyers inside that home for a preview. The more people who look at your property, the better chance you have to sell it at top dollar. You never know who will fall in love with your listing. Here are a few ideas that may help our Association members.
— Make a good impression with a clean-up. A fresh coat of paint and a few new items, such as mailbox or house numbers, can do wonders. You also might want to enhance curb appeal and freshen up the landscaping, trim the lawns, clean the driveway and sidewalks, as well as have the windows washed and carpets cleaned.
— Get rid of clutter, including knickknacks and personal items, such as an animal head on the wall or a photo of the owner with a politician. Also, make sure valuables are secured. Lock up anything that might tempt sticky fingers, such as jewelry, personal electronics, and valuable trinkets. Your goal is for buyers to walk inside and visualize it as theirs. So, temporarily relocate family photos and ditch the children’s crayon drawings on the refrigerator. Also, open up the curtains and blinds and turn on lights in every room to set the mood as cheerful and sunny.
— Remove pets if possible. Dogs, cats and litter boxes should be neither seen, heard or smelled during an open house. If removal is not possible, then keep them confined in a less-trafficked location. For sure, current owners also need to be out of the way.
— Put up signs not only in the front lawn but at nearby intersections that direct visitors to the house. A string of balloons also draws attention. Help people find you. Be sure to follow local sign ordinances. Some municipalities have strict sign ordinances.
— Use social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) study found 92 percent of homebuyers use the Internet in their search. And, many house hunters today are using apps to help them find open houses within a certain radius with maps and directions to each one. Realtor.com has a free real estate app for consumers. You never know who outside your circle of friends might stumble across your tweet or Facebook post. So, do some investigating and get your listing included.
— Ask questions and seek feedback. Guests will be glad to tell you their opinion about certain home features, which you can use as selling points. Also, ask how they found out about your open house. Providing light refreshments will encourage guests to linger and engage in conversation.
— Have a leave-behind that guests can take with them. Some REALTORS® will prepare a brochure or flyer with your name and photos of the property, while others will provide information on comparable home sales or school and community factoids. Don’t allow potential buyers to leave empty handed. If you prefer online information, then get an e-mail address or phone number for texting.
— Invite the neighborhood to attend. Even if they’re not looking to move, nosy neighbors might have friends or relatives who are considering a move. Consider the neighbors as your prospecting scouts. Plus, meeting new people could help you find new clients.