Running an open home is your opportunity to show off your property at it best, and running a good open home can make all the difference in getting that sale. So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Tips for Running Awesome Open Homes !
1 – De-clutter the House
No one wants to walk into a mess – if your property is a mess then it will be hard for any potential buyer to look past that. You need the buyers to focus on the property itself, and not on anything else. This is just as important outside the property as it is inside, so get a gardener if you need to and get those weeds up and those old bicycles stored away in the shed! This leads nicely onto tip #2….
2 – Neutral Decor Inside the House
If the decor inside the property is too “in your face” and eclectic then this may put off buyers, who will be looking to imagine themselves in that property. The more neutral the decor, the easier it will be for buyers to imagine themselves in there. If you need to, invest a few dollars in a lick of paint to get rid of those garish yellow or bright green walls, in favour of more neutral whites and creams.
3 – Do not Stalk the Buyers !
Ok, so this one is pretty important – when someone comes into your home for a viewing please resist the urge to follow your buyers around as they explore the property. I get that you will feel protective over your property, or proud and perhaps want to show it off, but by following buyers around you will not allow them to relax and really take in what they need to take in from the viewing.
If you are worried about valuables, then lock those away before-hand. If there are certain aspects of the property that you really want to highlight, which you are worried may be missed unless you follow them around, then mention these prior to setting them loose or create a one page open home flyer with the pertinent info on it, which you can leave on the kitchen bench-top for buyers to grab.
Remember, the important thing here is that you want to give buyers the chance to really feel at home in there, and hunting them like a deer stalker won’t help !
4 – Create an Open Home Flyer
You may have lived in your property for a while and so know all the cool things about it, but it may be hard for someone viewing your home to notice all these things in 15mins. Create a one page flyer on which you highlight all the main features of the property that you want buyers to be aware of. Put your contact details on the flyer, so that if the buyer has any questions once they have left, they can easily ask you.
5 – Schedule Open Homes Regularly
One Open Home will not sell a house (unless you are very lucky !), so be prepared to run them regularly. Every week should be enough. If you create a rhythm around this then it will help you to get better at it and also force you to keep the property tidy, if you are not already a tidy home owner.
Also, consider mixing things up a little and running open homes during the week as well as weekend – ensuring your property is available more often will increase your chances of getting people through the property.
Finally, it can sometimes be easy to get too comfortable when you are selling your home, and allow the process to drag, so counter this by scheduling weekly open homes and in doing so keep up the momentum to get that property sold !
6 – Be Prepared
Even if you are running open homes regularly, you should still be prepared to show people through the property at other times – I can guarantee that not every buyer will be available at the times that suit you. So, be prepared and ensure that the house is tidy (see tip #1). If you are going to be away for a while then have a contingency – leave the key with someone you trust who can show people into your property. If you have created a flyer (see tip #4) then make sure that you always have plenty of copies of these lying around.
7 – Create an Atmosphere
You want buyers to feel comfortable and also to feel like they have “come home” and so what says that more than flowers ! So, have some flowers around the house, don’t go crazy, but by just having a few around it will make the place smell nice and look inviting.
If you don’t already have any plants, then get a few – again, don’t go crazy, you don’t want to turn the place into a jungle, but just a few Yuccas will really add to a nice, relaxing and natural feel.
Finally, consider baking some cookies or fresh bread in the oven – the smell is really inviting and says “home” – you can then offer these baked good up to the buyers as a treat !
8 – Don’t Make it too Personal
If you are still living in the property then chances are that you will have a lot of family photos around, or maybe even family members too. On the day of the open home, ask them all to leave (politely !) and consider taking down some of those photos – this may sound a little harsh, however this will further allow buyers to imagine themselves living in there and putting their own mark on the property – this will be harder to do if your Aunt is knitting in the living room behind a collage of photos of your extended family !
9 – Take Buyer’s Details
Get a pad and pen and ask buyers to jot down their contact details as they arrive. This will give you a good opportunity to follow up with them after the open home is finished to get their feedback and begin the conversation around selling the property to them.
10 – Advertise, Advertise, Advertise !
Finally, there is no point running an Open Home if no one knows about it, so remember to advertise the fact that you are running Open Homes and let people know when and where. There are so many ways to do this, but sign posts down the road are a good idea, as these will capture those weekend Open Home drivers in the neighborhood.
If you want to get serious about it, then you should advertise online to reach the maximum possible number of people.
If you have a listing on sellahouseNZ (which we sincerely hope you do!) then login to your account and add an Open Home date to your listing NOW to let buyers know.
Contrary to what some may think, there is no dark art to selling your house yourself. It is not complicated and there is no law that says you have to use a Real Estate Agent – you will save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself.
If you think about it, the process of selling a property is as simple as putting the right buyers in-front of the right sellers and traditionally, a Real Estate agent would sit in the middle and act as the communicator between both. This setup worked back in the days before the internet because there was no way to do this yourself – the Agency would have a big network of sellers and buyers and there would not be a way to access this network unless you went through an agent.
However, with the Internet, the model has completely changed, as individuals have the ability to completely circumvent the middle man, and subscribe to their OWN network of sellers and buyers, such as sellahouse.co.nz. Essentially, the Internet has leveled the playing field, and it is not just in the realm of Real Estate that this holds true, as it is happening across industries.
So, take the first step and take back control, after all your property is probably the most valuable asset you own and so why would you want to give a large chunk of it away to an Agent – Register with sellahouse.co.nz here and take back control !
Using a Real Estate Agent
If you approach a Real Estate Agent to sell your house, they will probably ask you to sign a contract with them and it is at this time that you should negotiate exactly what advertising is included with the contract.
As far as Real Estate Agents are concerned, nothing is set in stone and so if you don’t ask you probably won’t get. Remember the Agent, like you, wants to get the best price (in their case, commission) from the deal, therefore the more they spend on your advertising, the less profit they have left for themselves once the property is sold.
Most Real Estate Agents will run a weekly Property Classifieds paper and offer to give you an advert in there for a few editions, and maybe even put a picture in the first edition. After a couple of weeks you may have to pay for any additional classifieds ads in the paper, so make sure that this is discussed fully at the time of signing a contract with the Agent.
In addition, the Real Estate Agent will usually supply a For Sale Sign and erect it outside your house for you. Now, there are signs and there are SIGNS! Nearly everyone will get the bog standard small for sale sign, with no pictures of even a description of the house for sale. Again, it is worth asking for a better, bigger sign at no extra cost – watch out, as they will usually try and charge you if you want a bigger sign, but hey, give it a go as it’s well worth it to make your property stand out from the rest.
If you do use the services of a Real Estate Agent then be a pest and make sure that you phone at least once a week to get an update on exactly what the Agent has been doing that week to actively promote your home. After all, you are paying a lot of money to the Agent in commission and so you should expect a level of service and expertise that goes above and beyond what you could just do yourself.
Advertising your House for Sale yourself
If you are selling the house yourself then, of course, you decide just how much advertising you will do, as well as how much you want to spend. The benefit of doing this yourself is transparency, that is to say, you know exactly what advertising you are getting, when and for how much. You can then add this to your asking price and recover your advertising cost.
Options for advertising include:
- Advertising in the property classifieds section of local newspapers. In some areas there are also specialist property papers. Look for listings in the Yellow Pages under “Real Estate Services”
- Advertising on the Internet on Private House Sale Websites such as www.sellahouse.co.nz
- A sign in a prominent position on the property (you may need to check with the local council for any sign restrictions)
- Word of mouth
- Notices at workplaces and on community notice boards
Make sure any advertisements state how and when you can be contacted. Work out times at which you can be available to show potential buyers through the house. Include the words “No Agents”
NZ Real Estate Agents act on behalf of both the buyers and the sellers of New Zealand Real Estate and this is one of the fundamental challenges with the services that Real Estate Agents offer. It begs the question, how can a Real Estate Agent act for the best interests of both buyer and seller?
I have a section for sale and so I contract a Real Estate Agent to sell it for me. In turn, this same Real Estate Agent is approached by another individual who is looking to buy a section. I am looking to my Agent to sell my real estate at the best possible price and by the same token, the other party is looking to the Agent to acquire the section at the best possible price.
This clearly presents a problem of independence, as how can the Real Estate Agent act for the best interests of both parties? One could argue that it is only the Agent’s best interest that is being served, as the Agent is the person who will get a commission on sale, irrespective of whether the buyer’s or seller’s price is met.
This is one of the reasons that many people are becoming disillusioned with the services of Real Estate Agents and do not feel like there is a mutual trust and/or respect between all parties.
So, what is the alternative? Well, an alternative is to simply cut out the middle man – sell real estate YOURSELF. You do not need a Real Estate Agent to sell a house. I’ll say it again, you do not need a Real Estate Agent to sell your house.
Understanding this is the key to saving yourself a lot of money in Real Estate Commission – many people do not understand this or do not trust that you can do it yourself, and believe that there must be some catch or that it’s not going to be a simple process. Granted, it’s easier to just phone up an Agent and let them run with it, but at the end of the process if they do sell your property you may be left thinking, what exactly did they do for me that was that great that I couldn’t have done myself and was it worth the whopping commission?
If you sold a house for $250,000 using the services of a Real Estate Agent then you would pay approximately $10,000 in commission – this is not a small sum.
You can achieve a sale yourself for a fraction of this cost if you are willing to put in the effort. Spend the money wisely on advertising.
- Purchase a large For Sale sign and put it in a very prominent position outside the property
- List the house for sale online at sellahouse.co.nz
- Run frequent open homes
- Take a look around the area at what other people are asking for their houses, to give you an idea of what your house may be worth (or you could go to www.qv.co.nz where you can purchase a property report for your house which will give you an indication of its value amongst other bits of useful info)
So, if you want to Sell Real Estate, there are advantages and disadvantages of using a Real Estate Agent (or Broker, or Realtor as they are sometimes referred as) and there are pros and cons of doing it yourself.
Overall, more work is involved in doing it yourself, but if you are willing to put in the effort then you could end up saving yourself some money and therefore giving yourself more money to buy your next property with.