10 Tips for an Effective Open House

  1. Help prospective buyers visualize themselves in your home, don’t stick around for your own open house.
  2. Show off your home at its cleanest — get rid of clutter and make sure things are organized.
  3. Stash the family photos (for now), it helps create a neutral environment in which prospective buyers can envision themselves.
  4. Fix the small stuff; a dripping faucet, loose towel rack or blown light bulb can all leave a negative impression.
  5. Schedule it right. Browse listings for other open houses in your neighborhood and schedule yours at a unique time.
  6. Eliminate any odors. Creating a neutral environment is just as important in the air as it is on the walls, floors and furniture.
  7. Don’t count out home staging. It’s an expensive proposition, but an expertly staged home can oftentimes sell faster than a seller-prepared property.
  8. Make sure the pets aren't home; they are often simply a distraction, and you never know if a prospective buyer has allergies.
  9. Create an inviting environment with fresh flowers, a bowl of fruit or complementary finger food.
  10. your agent up to date; let him or her know of any local hot spots, grocery stores and other standouts that can boost the appeal of your neighborhood.

How Will the Showings be Handled?

Make sure you and your real estate professional agree about showing arrangements and include this in the listing contract so other agents are aware of any restrictions. For example, will the home be shown by appointment only? Do you need to set a daily time span when showing will or will not be held? Will there be a key box on the door? Will your agent be present for showings? How much notice will you receive for showing appointments? Working these arrangements out in advance will mean less stress and confusion for everyone involved.

Open House Safety Tips

If you plan on selling your home yourself, be sure to keep your open house safe with these tips from Realtor® Mag published by the National Association of Realtors®.

  • Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad car drive by during your open house hours.
  • Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
  • Determine several “escape” routes that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolts are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  • Turn on lights and open the curtains — these are not only sound safety procedures, but also great marketing tactics.
  • When prospective buyers begin to arrive, jot down their car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions.
  • When showing a house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
  • Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.