Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 29, 2022

Open houses in a hot market

Spring is here! And with it comes the start of the annual homebuying and selling season. But as we all know, the past two years have been anything but normal.

Aside from the pandemic, the real estate market has been “hot” even in the winter. And the market doesn’t show any signs of cooling off anytime soon.

Something that helps homeowners get the most from their investment when they’re looking to sell is hosting an open house. Why hold an open house? It’s a chance to throw open the doors and dazzle buyers. Whether you’re looking to list now or even later this year, these tips will help make your open house a hit.

Let Realtor take the lead

Your job is to make your house look like a million bucks. Curb appeal is everything and sprucing up the flower beds with colorful perennials and fresh mulch is a great place to start.

Just don’t forget about those hardscaped surfaces. A day pressure washing the driveway, sidewalks and patios will really set the stage for your home’s introduction to potential buyers.

Lastly, as a seller, you should make your home as decluttered and inviting as possible. Remove any large, cumbersome furniture you’re not using and items that might make a potential buyer not get a true sense of the space your home offers.

Your Realtor – an expert on your local real estate market and what makes buyers tick – will take care of the rest. The agent will take the lead on hosting the open house, communicating with potential buyers and their agents and sharing any feedback with you.

Try some simple staging

You want your home to look its best while it’s on the market, especially during the open house. Many Realtors say the best way to primp your home for its big day is to stage it.

Depending on what your Realtor recommends, staging might involve renting new furniture or decor for certain rooms in your home. Also consider displaying a bouquet of fresh flowers in the entryway, setting your dining room table to make it look inviting, or turning on your outdoor sprinklers shortly before visitors arrive to make your lawn sparkle.

Clean like crazy

When your home is on the market, you need to keep it in showing shape – not only for the open house but also for any scheduled showings with buyers.

Even though you’ve already cleaned and organized your home for its listing photos, there’s a good chance you’ve let clutter or dust pile up again, especially if you have children or pets.

Free of fingerprints

Clean and organize your closets, cabinets and under the sinks. (Buyers are allowed to be nosy during an open house.) Clear every bit of clutter and get rid of it or put it in storage.

Don’t have the bandwidth to do a deep clean? Hire a house cleaning service to do the work for you. A professional cleaning service costs around $115 to $230 on average. If you’re not sure about which service to hire, ask your Realtor to recommend cleaners.

Do a smell check

If buyers get a whiff of something funky, they’re going to run – not walk – out of your house. Before the open house, ask your Realtor or a neighbor to do an honest, no-holds-barred smell check.

If your house has the aroma of your beloved pet, deep clean the carpets, relocate the litter box and take steps to eliminate traces of Fluffy.

If the basement is dank and musty, buy a dehumidifier to remove air moisture and run a fan to circulate the air.

If the kitchen drain stinks, drop in a cup of baking soda and then two cups of white vinegar. Enjoy the bubbling and then let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Finally run hot water for 15 to 30 seconds to flush the odor.

Put pictures, valuables away

Personal belongings such as family photos, awards and some art can distract homebuyers and make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in your home. You don’t have to go – the idea isn’t to eliminate every trace of yourself – but consider temporarily hiding some pictures and personal effects out of sight during the open house.

There’s also a safety element to stowing your personal belongings. You’re inviting strangers into your home, so consider securely storing checkbooks, jewelry, prescription medications and so on.

Thankfully, most gun owners understand the importance of securing their firearms, but I would be remiss to not remind everyone to keep firearms safely secured and out of areas where children might stumble onto them.

Once your Realtor has given you the “all clear to come home,” be sure to do a quick second check of windows locks and doors.

Let the light in

Light doesn’t only brighten up your space, it also makes rooms look and feel larger. On open house day, open every curtain and blind to let natural light in.

Also, replace every burned-out light bulb inside and outside the home; buyers should see a working light every time they flip a switch.

Best features forward

Even though you won’t be there, you can still draw visitors’ attention to features in your home you’d like to highlight.

Before the open house, post friendly and aesthetically pleasing signs around the house with calls to action such as “Look down! New hardwood floors!” or “Gas fireplace! Push this button!” Buyers will likely appreciate the help and that they’re working with a conscientious seller.

After the open house ends, your Realtor will share with you the questions buyers asked and any comments by visitors they overheard. The important thing is to stay open to buyers’ feedback and to follow your Realtor’s advice about how to respond.

Based on buyers’ reactions, your Realtor might recommend that you make certain repairs, do some painting or invest in additional staging before your next open house. Whatever they advise, it’s not personal – it’s just the business of selling your home.

Hopefully, these tips will make your open house a success and will help make selling your home as smooth as possible. Realtors help their clients and community throughout the entire year. That’s Who We R.

Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is a regional organization with more than 2,500 members servicing Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations and board of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors owns and operates a multiple listing service, which is one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and that services more than 2,700 users.