Open houses are a traditional way of showing a house to prospective purchasers. Basically, you put up a sign and/or run an advertisement and invite people into your house to look around. They are usually held in the afternoon on Saturday or Sunday. As popular as open houses are, very few homes are actually sold through an open house. They are primarily a vehicle for real estate agents to pick up new buyers as clients and to show the owner of the house that they are working on their behalf. Many FSBO sellers choose not to hold open houses because the chance of attracting that one interested buyer is very low. Generally, open houses attract lookers and neighbors. Nonetheless, open houses are a means of exposing the house, so if you decide to hold them, here are some basic rules of thumb.
Either advertise the open house in the weekend real estate section of your local paper or, if there are several homes for sale in your neighborhood, you could simply put up directional signs to your house and expect to pick up some traffic from other open houses in the area.
Always put the house in prime showing condition. Put soft music on and play up the best features. If you have a fireplace and it’s cold outside, build a fire. Turn on lights in darker rooms and be sure the house smells nice.
Put away all small valuables.
Have a sign-in sheet for buyers to put their names, addresses and phone numbers. Ask everyone to sign it.
Have house information flyers and financing sheets ready.
When buyers come through, let them look around without you. Introduce yourself at the door, shake hands and tell them you’re available to answer questions. Then, let them look.
Before they leave, ask if you can answer any questions. Also, ask if you can tell them anything about the neighborhood or schools.
Follow up after the open house with everyone who came through. Simply ask if there is any further information you can provide about the house and whether they had interest in the house.