26 Oct How to make the most of your open house
Holding an open house can be a very convenient and productive way to sell your home. Convenient, as it will give you an opportunity to host multiple viewings on one day, instead of trickled viewings, resulting in constant cleaning and tidying! And productive, as often houses sold through an open day will achieve more than the advertised price.
With this in mind, you will want to make sure that you present your home in the best possible way to achieve the best possible price! Here are my top tips for achieving this;
Firstly, think about timing
Is there a time when your neighbourhood is particularly busy with traffic or cars? If so, then make sure you are avoiding them as this may give a bad first impression. Speak to your neighbours to make sure they are not holding any big family gatherings or parties, which again, may affect the parking and noise levels and put off potential purchasers. Also, check to make sure that there are no big sporting events or local fetes that may prevent some viewers form being available.
You may not have noticed those extra bits of furniture creeping in over the last few years but stand back and see if you can remove some items, temporarily, as too much in a room can make the area feel cluttered and smaller than it actually is. Even one piece of furniture removed from each room will make a difference to the appearance of size and space.
Where possible, pack up some items to store in the garage or shed. Children’s toys can be the biggest culprits of taking up lots of space and not adding to the look of the room! Although you may have children, it is not to say that the viewers will! Things like high chairs can take up valuable seating areas in dining areas so, if space is limited aim to just have adult chairs on display. Also, piles of paperwork can look untidy so consider a filing box or cabinet.
Use the opportunity to have a good clear out as it will help when you come to move, if there is less to sort through and pack.
Clean and tidy
. It is crucial to make sure that the property is presented looking at its best and that means clean and tidy! If cleaning is not your strong point then perhaps consider a professional cleaning company to come and give it the once over. Make sure the surfaces are as clear as possible. Lots of electrical items cluttering the kitchen work surface look just that… cluttered, and creates the feeling that there is a lack of useable workspace.
In bathrooms, make sure the towels are fresh and clean and tidy away bottles wherever possible, especially if those bottles are cleaning products and bleach… it’s not a good look!
Bedrooms should look like bedrooms wherever possible. Even if you use them for a study or sitting room, do try to show a bed. It is easier of people to appreciate the full potential of the property if they can see each room demonstrated for its intended use. (Think about borrowing beds/desks from friends or family if it is just for the purpose of ‘creating the look’ or alternatively, you may be able to pick up some items from local websites such as FreeAds or Facebook selling pages, for very little outlay). Do not leave laundry around. It looks unsightly!
Check the paintwork!
If the walls are looking a little marked and the skirting is chipped then it is well worth taking the time to freshen it up with a coat of paint. It may be worth considering, at this time, neutralising any brightly coloured walls as this could potentially limit your market. People generally prefer to see neutral colours where they can add their own taste and do not have to start thinking about decorating the day they move in! Remember, you want to appeal to as many people as possible so try not to be too personal about your choices here.
Cut the grass, plant some pretty flowers in the garden and sweep the paths and patios. If its summer time, use the opportunity to create the idea of ‘another room outside’ by setting up a table, chairs and umbrella. If there is time, reseed any patchy grass areas and weed wherever needed. Also, remove any dead hanging baskets or flowers! If the fence is looking tatty a coat of paint can really help to bring it back to life and try to hide away any big wheelie bins from view; during those hot summer months they can smell less than desirable!
Chat to your agent
It sounds silly but discuss what will happen on the day and understand how it will be managed. It is good to have a brief understanding of who will be viewing as you may have valuable information to pass onto the agent. For example, if you know people are viewing with small children, it would be a benefit to advise them that the local school was just rated ‘excellent’ by Ofsted. Nobody knows your house better than you! If you have lived in your house for 30 years then tell us; people like the idea of a happy, family home as it may hold the same future for them! New boilers, double glazing or electrics would all be worth a mention too, as it means less outlay for potential purchasers in the near future and shows the home is up together.
To create that show home feel, you could lay on flasks of coffee and biscuits for viewings and place some flesh flowers around. Leave the lights and heating on and if you have a fire or wood burner it may be nice to have it on, (or create the look by lighting some candles inside the fire place/burner) as this will make the home feel cosy.
Do be security conscious
Although, as agents, we would do our best to ‘vet’ anyone coming to the property, it would be impossible to scrutinise everyone too closely, so, to be on the side of caution, put any valuable items out of view and remove personal photographs.
Take the dog out for a long walk! Not all people love animals and even if they do, it can be off putting to have the dog barking every time someone knocks the door, or to see the cat scratching the door frame! Also remove any animal bedding or litter trays if possible.
Discuss with your agent, what time the viewings will finish, and aim to stay out until after everyone has gone. Some people do like to meet the home owners when they view but for the majority, people feel more at ease when they can view at their own leisure and ask any questions to your agent. There is always the opportunity for second viewings for anyone who has any burning issues to speak to you about!
Sales Advisor, Robinson Reade Ltd