If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for everything. When the pandemic put restrictions on in-person tours of homes, real estate agents had to find new ways to entice potential buyers while virtually showing homes.
Now that Open Houses are happening again, we want to make sure you are at the top of your game! Read on to find the best ways to elevate an Open House for both virtual and in-person tours in today’s competitive real estate market.
The presentation of a home is possibly the most important part of any Open House. It gives potential buyers a chance to imagine themselves living in the home and allows for creativity regarding how they may decorate the home. It also provides the current homeowners the chance to showcase why they’ve loved living in the home, and why it’s worth buying. So, how can you elevate the Open House experience through presentation?
- Deep clean: The cleanliness of the house is a sign the current owners care about the home, which makes the property more attractive to prospective buyers. Make a checklist of things you want your clients to do both inside and outside the home before the open house and give them timelines to get it done. That way you can do a walkthrough a couple days beforehand and see what may have been missed. The cleaner the house, the better it will look on camera to virtual buyers, as well!
- Declutter: No matter how much deep cleaning is done, if things like mail and toys or laundry are left strewn about, the house will look sloppy. We recommend taking the time before an Open House to have your clients sort through any clutter that may be piling up.
After everything has been sorted through and donations have been made, have your clients move anything they’re keeping that isn’t being utilized within the home into containers in the garage or basement for safe keeping!
- Staging: Staging the home is crucial for a successful Open House, especially the living room and bedrooms. To stage a home well, there are some simple and easy to follow guidelines we recommend using.
Our first recommendation is to limit personal items. Encourage the current owners to put away most family photos. Explain that the house needs to feel homey, but not too personalized. As we stated earlier, it’s important for potential buyers to imagine how they would decorate the space. That’s hard to do if there are school photos and vacation pictures everywhere!
The next thing that will help set the seller up for success is to use seasonally appropriate decor. When staging the house, it’s important the decor inside showcases the time of year outside. Heavy blankets and dark colors may be cozy in the winter, but if it’s June it will just look out of place. Stick with simple throw pillows, crisp neutral linens, and small pops of color that are easy to switch out. On this same note, we suggest not having “theme” rooms while trying to sell a home. A beach-themed guest room is fun, but unless it’s in a house with oceanfront property, it isn’t going to help make the sale.
Another way to elevate an Open House through staging is to make sure there aren’t a ton of knickknacks throughout the home. Knickknacks and overly decorated areas that add to a cluttered look. We advise using simple flower arrangements on tabletops, a plant or two on a mantle or dresser, and a few well-chosen pieces of art on the walls. This leads to a homey and comfortable atmosphere. This will also look beautiful on camera, allowing for an easy transition for a virtual Open House.
Scent: Part of staging a home is to have a comforting and clean scent throughout the home. But before that happens, it’s imperative to make sure there are no bad odors lurking in the home. For example, a garbage disposal, refrigerator, or pet may have an odor the current owners don’t even notice, but a potential home buyer certainly will.
After neutralizing any negative odors, it’s best to bring in a familiar scent that reminds people of home:
- Soft citrus and vanilla are both favorites, as are scents like cedar and pine.
- Keep in mind the time of year and choose scents that are not overpowering.
- When in doubt, pop some cookie dough in the oven about 30 minutes before people arrive. The scent of freshly baked cookies (and the opportunity to eat one) will entice anyone to purchase a home!
The same way it’s important for a home buyer to see themselves living in the home, it’s equally important they see themselves living outside of the home. If a prospective buyer can’t imagine playing ball with their kids in the yard, grilling on the deck, or tending to a garden then they might not to be motivated to put in an offer.
Here are some easy tips and tricks to help your sellers up their curb appeal:
- Landscaping: Make sure the lawn is freshly mowed, leaves are raked, weeds are pulled, hedges are trimmed, and flower beds are tended to will absolutely elevate your Open House. Fresh mulch in any garden areas, along with making sure all outdoor tools and garden supplies are put back in their rightful places, are both helpful suggestions for home sellers.
- Decks and Porches: It’s equally important to make sure all decks and porches are power washed and presentable. Does the deck or fence need to be stained? Make sure all of that is done before the Open House. Also have your clients clean patio furniture and grills, smokers, and clear the porch and yard of any toys. We want the house to feel homey, without feeling too lived in!
As a real estate agent, you know the importance of making upgrades to a home to enhance the chances of a sale. Small changes such as a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can give prospective buyers a clean palate to create their vision for the home. The same goes with lighting.
By upgrading light fixtures and making sure the lighting is warm throughout the home, your Open House will be inviting and give off an air of comfort. Having the carpets deep cleaned or replacing any stained area rugs will be a big help as well!
Last, but certainly not least, is Realtor presentation. How will you present yourself for the sellers and to potential home buyers?
Here are a few things that will set you apart from the rest during an Open House:
- Food and Beverage: As we head back into the world of in-person events, it’s important to note that not everyone will feel comfortable eating and drinking. Having options available is still a great way to elevate your Open House! Get pre-packaged snacks (perhaps with your logo) and bottled water. This gives people the chance to feel taken care of, while honoring their comfort level. What could make you look better?
- Quality Paper Products: Will you be handing out information on the home and neighborhood at your Open House? If so, use high-quality card stock and making sure the writing and pictures look crisp and clear. Anything handed out directly reflects onto you and looking put together on paper will help you look presentable in person.
An elevated Open House is one of many ways to set yourself apart as a real estate agent. The same goes for the mortgage lender you choose to work with. Choosing to partner with Churchill Mortgage shows clients you’re someone they can trust and grow with, because that’s what we stand for.
Connect with us for more information on how we can help elevate both your business and each client’s experience!