Real Estate Realities
LOS ANGELES—When selling a home, an Open House is great tool to generate excitement and interest in your house and property. Giving people a chance to visit your home not only gives you a chance to find a good buyer it reduces your marketing time.
When buyers gather like this for the brief, three-hour opportunity, it can generate excitement and buzz as they likely exchange comments and impressions of the home. So don’t underestimate the value of open houses and your own ability to really showcase your home during these events.
Like with many other notable events in your life, it’s important to be prepared and take advantage of the open house by not making common mistakes that would undermine your efforts to find a suitable buyer. The number one tip for your open house is: clean up. Really. Most homes have a lot of unwanted clutter and items that make the house look unkempt and unattractive.
Though it sounds simple, sellers must remind themselves that cleanliness, maintaining a clean home goes a long way toward your ultimate goal of finding a good buyer. People want a clean home with attractive furniture and lots of uncluttered space. So if you have some old armoire that’s cluttering up a room by taking up too much space, get rid of it or move it somewhere else. Get rid of the clutter, as much as you can and put it somewhere else like a storage space or a place where it won’t be seen.
In any house, there’s usually a room where clutter tends to pile up and take up a lot of space and as a seller, you need to get rid of it. I’ve had clients with kids who have toys all over the house and they think it’s cute to have these toys around since they have kids, but potential buyers are distracted by these toys. They’re too busy looking and dodging the hazards instead of looking at the house.
I often tell clients to put themselves in the shoes of the buyer, but it doesn’t work. They feel their cluttered house is fine, but they are hurting themselves. Most buyers do not have vision and cannot see past the clutter. The clutter may be sending an inaccurate message to the buyer
Giving a proper and good impression is the key. Wipe down all the furniture, counters and chrome on all your faucets and clean as much as possible to make your home the best that it could be. Even if your house is a bit distressed, with deferred maintenance, some paint, cleanser and elbow grease will work wonders.
If you have a door that’s dragging on the floor and marking on your hardwood floors, fix it, and do your best to mitigate the damage on your floor. Also make sure your kitchen and bathroom doors and drawers operate correctly. Replace any missing knobs and de-clutter the interior spaces. Potential buyers will look there.
Even refrigerators aren’t immune from prying eyes. Many potential buyers will look in your refrigerator and see how well it is kept and they don’t want to see a mess. Clean it up.
Remember, you want everyone at your open house to have a positive experience. You want them to remember the spacious rooms or the nice hardwood floors, but not the old cabinet overflowing with clutter.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to consult with an interior designer to help you decorate your home and add or remove furniture or artworks that will make it more appealing.
In the front and backyard, cut the grass, trim the hedges and get rid of overgrowing plants. And the dead tree in the middle of the yard, it is time to address it. It all needs to go, along with any stacked piles of wood or pieces of an old door, etc. The same for the garage. It should be neat and clean without a dead car parked in it.
And leave the selling to the Real Estate expert. I don’t recommend sellers be at their own open house. Buyers can be unkind and I don’t think you should put yourself in a position to hear those kinds of comments. It’s best to leave the open house to the experts.
Make sure you don’t leave any valuables in the open. Especially things that can be easily put in a pocket. It’s best not take chances when it comes to your valuables. But be careful about doing too many open houses. It can make you look desperate and your only viewers will be your neighbors to see if you have reduced the price.
David Rosenfeld is a Real Estate broker and president of Advantage Real Estate, a Real Estate and investment firm in Santa Monica, and a Rotary Club member. He has more than 20 years experience in commercial and residential property investments and financial counseling.
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