Open House Checklist. Ready, Set, Go!

We're coming into prime house-hunting season, so if you are considering an open house, this would be the best time of year.
The weather is pleasantly comfortable, yards are looking perky, and people are looking ahead to a new season.

The jury is still out on whether open houses really sell homes, but if your realtor suggests it, and you've staged your home, why not go for it? Use this handy checklist to get ready to show off your home.

  • THE FLYER. Have printed hand-outs that list the amenities you know your home has. Don't count on the realtor to list stats and features. Work with the realtor on this one to come up with something that sells the property by listing advantages instead of just data. "Enjoy resort-style living in your professionally designed backyard," instead of "Pool, patio."

  • THE PENS. Encourage your realtor to distribute pens so people can make notations on the handout. It's easy for buyers to lose track of personal opinions after viewing a number of homes. You want them to remember what they liked about your home. I've used National Pens.
THE DETAILS. Be as specific as possible when advertising your home's features on the hand-out. Name brands, models, and years. "2009 Whirlpool Quiet Action Plus model Dishwasher" looks better than "DW." Even if what you are describing is nothing unusual, the fact that you are giving specifics makes buyers think there's reason to brag. It builds confidence.
  • THE SIGNS. Have plenty of directional signs so that people can find your open house. Balloons help. Don't be afraid to put the open house sign up 6 days in advance, one that says, "Open House, Sunday, 12 - 4."

  • THE ADS. If the realtor agrees, promote on Craigslist and in any local papers. Ask if the open house will be promoted on the realtor's website.
  • THE FREEBIES. Provide bottled water and wrapped mints. People love to get something for nothing. Sweet drinks and food can cause spills that stain.
  • THE BOOK. Make sure people who show up sign a guest book, including their email address and phone number. Your realtor can follow up with visitors. It also discourages pilferage.
  • THE PRECAUTIONS. Lock away or remove all valuables if you have not already. Remove prescription medications from the home. Like I said, people like getting something from nothing, and maybe bottled water isn't what they are after.
  • THE PREPPING. Of course, your home will be staged to be at its absolute best -- clean, uncluttered, and looking and smelling great. Need help? Download my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, for all my best tips and techniques on getting your home staged to sell.  

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