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Susette Clark-Walker

7 Successful Tips for a Spectacular Open House

The selling season is upon us and “Open House” signs will be popping up all over town.  Many agents tell their Seller’s that open houses are a waste of time.  I strongly disagree with that for several reason, but that’s for another blog.

Today, I want to give you some tips for hosting a successful open house.  You won’t actually be hosting it though, but this will certainly help your agent put the best foot forward for the big day. Buyer’s start to make a mental list of things as they tour your home.  You want them to make a list of things that they love as opposed to things that they would need to change or repair.  You want the “love” list to be longer and these tips will help.

1)      Curb appeal – Be sure that the path to your home is inviting.  Sweep the walk-way, remove cars from the driveway (the potential buyer’s need to park), make sure plants are alive, brush away cobwebs, move the old birds next from the rafters, be sure the trash cans are out of sight and your door is clean.  These few minutes when a potential buyer is walking to the door help set the mood for their expectations inside.

2)      Have an impressive entry – If the table by the front door is the catch all, then by all means clear it off.  Also, if you are one of those families that doesn’t wear shoes in the house and keep them by the front door, remove them.  It doesn’t matter if you have them in a shelving unit and you think they are neatly stacked, they need to go.  No one wants to see your accumulation of worn shoes.  Plus, it may have some bearing on tip number 4.

3)      Clean, Clean and Clean – I assume you have had professional “spring” cleaning before you listed your home, but it’s the day to day cleaning you want to stay on top of.  Every surface that could be touched should be clean, counters wiped off, appliances cleaned, dishes out of the sink, floors should be swept or vacuumed and mopping should be done in kitchen and baths. Personal items should be picked up and put away.   Your home should look as close to a model home as you can get it.

4)      Clear up the odors – Odors get noticed right away as you walk into a home. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day of showing property that at least one buyer doesn’t comment on an odor.  Food odors are among the main culprit followed by pet and possibly item number 2.  I once held an open house where the seller left a pot of beans cooking in a crock pot.  It smelled horrible and every person who came in commented on it. They would remember that house not by the cute backyard, but by the horrible smell.  Try not to cook anything too pungent the night before an open house and if possible, bake some cookies or brownies about an hour before your open house begins.  It will help the buyers remember what a cozy and homey house you had and will only add to their experience at the open house.

5)      Lighting – I have yet to have a buyer ask me to show them a dark and not too bright home.  Most buyer’s want a home that feels bright and is filled with sunlight.  Your agent will most likely have every light in the house on and every blind or curtain open in order to show how bright it is. Help them out by replacing ALL burned out bulbs. I recently showed a property where the kitchen felt “dark” to the buyer. Well, maybe if they had replaced the burned out bulbs in the light fixture, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

6)      Pets – Take them with you and vacuum before you leave.  Remove all trace of animals for the day.  While most people love their pets, they may not love yours.  Also, many are allergic to animals.  I have been with buyer’s who are so allergic to cats that if they can sense one is in the house, they leave right away.  You also want to remove your pets as a safety precaution.  Don’t leave a cat or small dog in the home and ask the agent or open house guest to “not let the cat/dog out”.  If your agent is busy with another open house guest and can’t be at the door to ask the new guest to not let the cat out, they may not be aware that it is their responsibility to make sure that Fido or Fifi doesn’t dart into the street.  It is as much for the safety of your loving companion as it is for the agent and open house guest that you take your animals with you for those few hours.

7)      LEAVE – There is no reason for you to be present at your own open house.  You will make the guest uncomfortable number one as they will feel awkward walking freely around “your” home and will have a hard time envisioning it as “theirs”.  You also hinder the ability of your agent to get honest feedback from the agents and buyers visiting your home.  They won’t feel comfortable telling your agent the truth about their impressions, so you may never know what changes need to be made to improve the desirability of your home.  You staying at the open house is a lose/lose for everyone.


Something that is for your own protection to think about is to lock-up or remove your valuables AND medications. It makes common sense to put your valuables away such a jewelry, money, credit cards, guns, etc., but medications are becoming the number 1 item stolen from an open house.  It is a national issue with open houses and many articles have been written lately warning agents about this problem.  Any prescription drug should either be locked up or taken with you for the day.

Those are my tips for a successful open house.  If you follow these steps you will help your agent to make this as successful an event as they can and maybe even sell your home that day!




5 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. The Most Serious Buyers Are Out Now

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Rates are projected to be well over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and decide whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of the situation by pricing your home to guarantee it sells. The time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.