In the frenzied market of the past two years, few sellers felt compelled to hold open houses. But as the market slows, that age-old device is regaining popularity. An open house is a good way to showcase a home to multiple buyers and agents within a short period, getting the exposure that often results in word of mouth and second showings.
You may have already decluttered and staged your home, but beyond the typical to-do list, here are a few other ideas that will leave a lasting impression on open-house attendees.
The Five Senses
Your home should certainly be looking its best for an open house, but Rose Dobbins, @properties Christie’s International Real Estate managing broker for Northwest Indiana, suggests appealing to other senses too. Soft music can add to the ambiance, she notes. And while Dobbins approaches scented products cautiously, she’s not opposed to a mildly fragranced candle. “You don’t want to overdo it as potential buyers may think you’re trying to mask odors,” she says. George Schultz, @properties Christie’s International Real Estate managing broker for Bucktown and Southwest Michigan, suggests simmering cider and cinnamon sticks on the stove during fall and winter open houses.
As for taste, Dobbins recommends freshly baked cookies or a seasonal snack for open-house guests. She also tells sellers to thoroughly wipe down kitchen cabinet handles to remove anything sticky or greasy. “Buyers open cupboards and drawers, and nothing says ‘ick’ like a dirty handle or knob,” she says.
From the Inside Looking Out
The days are growing shorter and that means less natural light. Your agent will most likely schedule an open house in the morning or early afternoon, but be sure to open shades and shutters and flip on the lights regardless – especially in rooms that may get less sunlight. Move large pieces of furniture away from windows. Not only do they hide an asset you want to highlight but, they pose an obstacle to peering outside.
Don’t Leaf Them Laying
Like any show, first impressions are made on the outside. In the fall, maximizing curb appeal
requires leaf removal. Schultz encourages his clients to make sure all leaves have been raked and the lawn is free of sticks and branches. “When buyers see a million leaves they think about how hard it is to maintain the yard,” he added.
Extend the Season
Even if the temperature has dipped, you’ll want to showcase your home’s outdoor potential while you can. Dress up your deck or patio to demonstrate its usefulness beyond summer. A firepit, heat lamp, or a cozy blanket and throw pillows on outdoor furniture can highlight the versatility of your outdoor space.