Karlton Utter, Director of Learning for Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate recently put together a starting checklist for an open house.
“Everybody else can be doing their open houses at 10, but guess what, we’re going to be taking our open houses to 11.” – Karlton Utter (oh, and Spinal Tap!)
The weekend’s almost here, and before you know it, it’s Open House Day! So, you’ve already done all the hard prep work to get here, but here’s a quick list of five things to consider on the day of your open house.
- Safety. You don’t want any mishaps, injuries or thefts. Bring a partner if you expect a large number of guests. Limit the number of attendees entering the home if it gets too big. For privacy, remove all family photos to keep the owners anonymous. Make sure the homeowners lock up the valuables, including the pharmaceuticals. And when it’s over, always remember to lock all doors and windows.
- Signage. Check your ordinances first, of course, but on open house days, you’re free to put out as many signs as you want—visibility draws people in. Directional arrows and balloons—they catch people’s attention. A handy rule of thumb is putting out a minimum of eight signs with three balloons per sign. Since you’re at it – blow up some extra balloons for any kids that have been dragged along. And get them up early the day of—if your open house is at 1 p.m., get those signs up by 9 or 9:30 a.m. that day. Don’t lose a day of free branding!
- Curb appeal. Beyond making sure the clients have already done the lawn and garden maintenance—make the house as welcoming as possible. Try to make it look like there’s plenty of parking, try not to park your car or the sellers’ cars in the driveway. Use a branded or customized welcome mat, or doorpost signs. During nice weather, you can place some chairs outside, maybe even a snack table, to make it more inviting.
- Aesthetics. An attractive house is a well-lit house—open all drapery and turn on the lights, make it as bright as possible. Play soft music—nothing too genre or polarizing. You don’t want to distract from the task at hand. Set the dining room table, right down to adding a centerpiece. Create an ambiance that is comforting and homey – set the thermostat two degrees warmer or colder than usual.
- Your virtual office. If you want it handy (and you should!), have your technology already connected by show time. That means your wifi connection set up, and your mobile device or laptop connected to monitors. Have your paperwork at the ready—that includes a sign-in sheet out and visible, your business cards, any seller disclosures, and neighborhood information. Definitely keep a printed out copy of the contract on hand to show that these sellers are ready to sell that day.