Are Open Houses Worth Having?

Are Open Houses Worth Having?

  The age-old question of real estate, “Are Open Houses worth having?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors.   Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that.   Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety.   Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing.   As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

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How the Five Senses Can Help Sell Your House

How the Five Senses Can Help Sell Your House

  Clients are always asking me what needs to be done in order to make their house most appealing for potential buyers. If you follow your nose, and your other senses, the answer is quite easy. Here are some ideas on how the five senses can help you sell your house. Sight The first thing potential buyers will notice is the curb appeal. Make sure the lawn is mowed, weeds are pulled and flowers are not dead. The front door area should be swept and the door and handle clean. When entering, they should immediately notice the house is neat and clean. Don’t have the breakfast dishes in the sink or beds unmade. A dirty or messy house can be very distracting to a potential buyer. It’s a good idea to have the house staged – at least making sure that personal items are down to a minimum, there is a good flow without furniture impeding, and that there are appealing colors throughout the house. Sound I have found that soft jazz or light classical or instrumental music is best for this sense. You will never appeal to everyone but these two are the most widely accepted – even getting lost in the background at times. There are a lot of options in how to play music. Some people have speakers in their house. Others have cable or digital television channels that play music. This is much more welcoming than a quiet, cold house. Touch I like to make a home book for sellers. This book may have photos from another season (when flowers were blooming or when snow was covering the ground), Before/After photos of renovations or home projects, property information, utility information, flyers for buyers to take, business cards or contact information for vendors, HOA documents, etc. This can often keep a potential buyer in the house longer, keeping them engaged, giving their other four senses a chance to work! Smell There is good reason that this is the most powerful of our senses. Just as much as there are good smells that can help, there are definitely some smells that can hurt the sale of your house. Let’s talk about the bad first. If there is a foul smell of any sort, it can be detrimental. A good idea is to have a third party give you an honest answer. You may have pets and you may be used to it. You may cook certain foods regularly that stay in the house for a while. This is one thing that a Realtor can help you with and give an honest opinion. There are solutions for odors and it’s very important to address them. Now, on the...

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Top 10 Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

Top 10 Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

  As a Realtor, I get asked a ton of questions. I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked real estate questions and my answers. (Disclaimer: These answers are my personal answers. Different agents and different areas may require different things. The best bet is always to ask your Realtor.) How do you (the Realtor) get paid? In most cases, Sellers will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will offer compensation to a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, as a Buyer, you do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some Sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for the Realtor’s fee. Can I be at the home inspection? If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found. If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Do I need to be at the appraisal? No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value. How long does closing take? If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as well. If you are a Buyer who is getting a loan, plan to sign papers for almost an hour. Why do I have to be pre-approved? If you are in a Seller’s market, your offer may not even be considered if you do not send a pre-approval letter with your offer. More than that, however, I have had clients that had...

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Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Are Open Houses Worthwhile? When I list a home for sale, I often get asked if open houses are worthwhile. My answer varies, depending on the property. There are a lot of reasons why open houses can be a great marketing tool. There are also some reasons you may not want to have your house open to the public. First, there are two types of open houses. Broker open houses and Public open houses. Broker open houses are for real estate agents. Typically, a listing agent will have some sort of food or drink and invite other agents to come view the property. These can be as simple as coffee and pastries for a two-hour period or as elaborate as an evening event with cocktails, servers, and a band. I have found that these can be very effective for high end properties. I will let you in on a secret. When I was a brand new agent, my mentor advised me to go to as many broker open houses a week as possible. Not only was I getting market knowledge, I was getting free food! With that in mind, don’t be fooled into thinking that every agent that attends a broker open house has a potential buyer for the property. They may just be there for the food! Pros: Other agents can give their feedback on your property and may save you from making a mistake. An agent may come and realize that the property would fit one of their client’s that they would not have thought of, based on the written criteria alone. May be a safer alternative to a Public open house. Cons: You have to have your property in immaculate shape. Agents are the worst critics. You may have to be out of your property for an extended period of time. Depending on the time of year, time of day, weather, etc. there may be little to no attendees even despite the amount effort or money spent. Public open houses are typically held during the day on the weekend. These are advertised to the public in a variety of ways. A listing agent may put signs out to direct passersby to your property as well as advertise on the MLS, publications and/or mailers. This type of open house invites anyone into your property. This is a great way to get a lot of exposure for your property if the property is in a hot location or a location with a lot of drive-by traffic. Depending on the size of the property, you may ask that more than one agent is present for safety of valuables. Pros: More people view your property in a concentrated time period,...

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting…To Sell Your House

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…To Sell Your House

  Ever wonder what happens after you list your home with a Realtor? Here are a few things to expect when you’re selling.   You may get calls to show your house at a moment’s notice. This can be disruptive in the middle of Sunday dinner or when you have just put the baby down for a nap. Besides remembering to make your bed every day and keeping the house neat and clean, it may be helpful to keep a plastic bin by the door. This can be used to toss things in when you get those last minute requests. Simply take it with you when you leave the house.   People will look in your closets and built-in cabinets and drawers. Buyers need to see how much space there is for clothing and other items. If there are things you don’t want to be seen, store them or go ahead and pack them for the move. It is also a good idea to hide medications. We never want to think a Buyer would come into our home and take things that don’t belong to them but, we can’t be too careful.   Buyers or Buyer’s children will touch things. If you have breakables or valuables, put them out of reach or put them away. Realtors do their best to corral little ones but when there are too many of them, the parents are asking questions about the house and there are toys in the house, sometimes it is inevitable that items get touched and moved.   Lights may be left on or turned off. You may like to leave a light on for your arrival home after work or you may want every light in the house turned off to save electricity. No matter how you like it, it may not be that way when you return. The agent may not get the instructions. There are some homes that have multiple panels and switches that work the same lights. Most people do their best to leave it the way you had it or turn off most of the lights if you have left them on for the showing but it may not be perfect.   Doors may be left unlocked or doors that are meant to be unlocked will be locked. It is unsettling to think that someone could leave your house and not lock the door behind them, but it happens. Front doors are less likely to be left unlocked than back/side doors. Agents have locked doors only to have Buyers go behind them and open them again. On the flip side, if you do not lock the door from your house to the garage, a good...

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5 Simple (and cheap) Ideas to Make Your House Inviting

5 Simple (and cheap) Ideas to Make Your House Inviting

  Having a party? Dinner guests? In-laws coming in from out of state? Or maybe you are getting ready for an open house? These simple tips can help make a lasting impression – and not the wrong kind.   Clean – especially the entrance. When people come to your home, they will inevitably be outside the door for at least a short period of time. You don’t want them ringing the bell through spider webs, knocking on a dirty door or walking to the door over dirt and leaves. It’s simple, get a broom and a cloth and do a quick cleaning. Of course, once they are inside, you want to make sure things are tidy as well, but, depending on the occasion, you may not have to do an entire Spring cleaning.   Light bulbs – I had a fluorescent bulb in my closet that was flickering and was dim. It took several seconds for it to flood the room with light. Then I bought a new bulb. WOW! It’s amazing what good light will do for a space. Those places you want to be a bit warmer – try lower wattage or a soft glow bulb. You may want to try three-way bulbs for lamps. It gives a soft glow on low, more ambient light on medium and you can read by the high setting. If you want to get a bit more advanced, put a dimmer on specific switches. I have installed them myself but if you’re not sure, it’s always best to consult a professional.   Fresh flowers – We were at some friends’ house for dinner a couple of weeks ago and there were fresh flowers in vases tucked in various places. It wasn’t overwhelming. The scent wasn’t overpowering. The colors fit the décor and I found myself drawn to them, wanting to touch and smell them. Fresh flowers is not a luxury most of us often have on a daily basis. Buy a couple of bunches or pick some from a field. Don’t spend a lot of time arranging, just put them in vases, jars or bowls around in a few rooms. It will really add something special.   Turn on music – While this is something near and dear to my heart, I think every home can benefit from some sort of music. I like to create playlists for the event but you can even just turn on a smooth jazz station to be in the background if you don’t actually want people getting up to dance. There are plenty of online services that you can use without commercials or the good old CD. If it’s a party, turn it up and...

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