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11 Simple Tips for a Great Open House

Open houses can be a great way to meet new clients, generate buzz, and encourage offers.

But for unprepared agents and sellers, an open house can be a nightmare. Messy closets, overwhelming odors and curb UN-appeal can send potential buyers running.

What’s the best way to utilize an open house? To show your listing in the best possible light. Put a gleaming face on your listing from every vantage point with these 11 simple open house tips.

1. No scent is the best scent.

In a recent study, more than 30 percent of people reported scented products as "irritating." Avoid irritating 30 percent of your potential buyers by skipping the use of candles and air fresheners.

Instead, encourage your seller to eliminate odors with a deep cleaning. Shampoo carpets, let in fresh air, and deodorize appliances to elevate a home to its odorous best.

2. No clutter.

Keep buyers focused on the home, not the stuff. Ask sellers to declutter and depersonalize a home before showings or open houses.

3. Clean out closets.

Closet size is a touchy issue for many buyers, so there’s a good chance that at least one closet will be scrutinized during an open house. Amplify the appearance of storage space by encouraging sellers to trim closet contents.

4. No pets (or evidence of pets).

Pets may be sweet and loveable, but they can also create damage and odors. Many potential buyers will run in the opposite direction because pets have lived there.

Beg sellers to remedy signs of pet damage, and to remove pets from the home during open houses.

5. No owners.

No open house benefits from an emotionally-attached seller hanging around. Avoid giving your potential buyers the creeps by gently guiding sellers away.

6. Attractive entryways.

A home’s entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house. Give the right first impression. Remove dead plants and debris. Scrub cobwebs and dirt from the front door. Add a decorative wreath or a nice chair. Get your buyers to smile at the outset, and that positivity will carry through the rest of the tour.

7. Close the toilet lids.

Just do it.

8. Light & bright.

Rooms appear larger in brighter light. Experiment with lighting before your open house. Try opening shades and curtains, and turning on different sources of light to accentuate a home’s best features.

9. Give information in a different format.

Digital information rules, but agents should give potential buyers as much printed information as possible. Don’t be hesitant to put a printed brochure or photo postcard into a buyer’s hands. There’s something about tangible, physical information that sticks with a buyer, and could later encourage a sale or referral.

10. Photo boards.

It’s tough for buyers to know what a property looks like at different times of the year. That’s what good photos are for. Use photo boards or a laptop slideshow to show off a property in different seasons.

11. Be safe.

Personal safety is more important than any other factor of hosting an open house. You’ve got more properties to list and more deals to close, so always prioritize your safety. Work open houses in teams, identify your exits, and trust your instincts. Don’t sacrifice your security for the sake of appearing “nice” or “approachable.”

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