Open house is defined as a period when a seller opens his property to multiple potential buyers who may visit without prior appointments. Open houses present a great opportunity to sellers to spread the word about a property that is up for sale. It also helps ease the stress related with primping the house several times prior to every buyer visit by encouraging all interested parties to check out the property in a specified period.
Sam Chopra, Founder and Chairman, RE/MAX India, shares that the concept of open house is still new in India. However, it is a clever way of creating a group of interested buyers and sharing information about other properties that may match their investment interest.
Whether you are the seller of a new property or a resale one, the following tips will help you prepare for open house inspections:
Before planning on how to stage the property, it is important to take care of all maintenance activities. Fix anything that needs repairs – chipped paint, broken windows, squeaky doors, non-functional light fixtures, leaky taps, etc.
The next step to prepare a property for inspection is to get rid of all clutter, especially in a resale property. Remove unnecessary accessories and furniture to ensure visitors can easily access all parts of the property. Open houses tend to attract huge footfall; ensure there is space for people to move about. This will also make the house appear larger, which is a key criterion for most buyers.
Spruce the entrance
First impressions tend to last the longest. Spruce up the property’s entry to make the buyer feel welcomed. You could place a door mat and some fresh flowers or potpourri next to the main door. Ensure that the entrance is not obstructed in any way.
Do not ignore the exteriors
In your attempts to glam up the house, do not forget to give ample attention to the exterior of the property. Keep your front garden, lawn, porch etc. well-maintained. Do not put the garbage out for collection during the open house period, instead get rid of it discreetly. Keep the outside of the property well-lit at all times. Turning on some low lights in the evening will help create a welcoming atmosphere.
Appeal to the senses
Little things can go a long way in having a successful open house. Open houses are intended to allow buyers to visualise their life in the property. Experts suggest the following to appeal to the buyers’ senses and create a homey feel:
- Keep the temperature at a comfortable level
- Get rid of any foul smells. Airing the house and placing fresh flowers can easily do the trick
- Ensure the entire property is clean, including all corners and the underside of slabs, sinks, and furniture
- Ensure that the linen and upholstery match with the décor. Choose neutral or pastel colours to be on the safe side
Since potential buyers are going to be spending several hours inspecting the property and mingling with the other buyers, it would be considerate of you to offer light refreshments and allow visitors to use the washroom. Not only will you win brownie points, you could also build a potential customer base by networking with the visitors.
Do not leave any valuables or precious personal items lying out. Since open houses bring strangers into your property, taking adequate precautions is a must. In case of a large property, consider having multiple people overseeing the visitor traffic. Your broker can be your best friend in such a case, helping to plan, execute, and monitor the entire event.
The idea is to prepare the property as if it is to be featured in a magazine while maintaining a cosy ambience. Though it requires fine balance, the above mentioned suggestions will make it a little easier.