Spending several hours of your precious time hosting a weekend open house is one way to connect to more potential buyers, but to make sure you are getting the most out of your time, follow these tips to turn looky-loos into bona-fide buyers.
Fill it up or take it out
Not everyone is capable of imagining a fully-furnished home while looking at an empty space, which is why the practice of staging is so popular. It can, however, be time-consuming and expensive, so frugal staging is an art form that will serve you well. Maintain a spare closet or garage space at home for extra items such as lamps, small end tables, spare comforters, and more. Ideally, save as much as you can in a rolling storage cart for ease of installation.
If the home is furnished, try to box up or store as much clutter as possible to minimize distractions and keep the focus on the home rather than the owner’s belongings.
Minimize negative focal points
If there is a giant stain on the carpet at the entryway, don’t ignore it. Many grocery stores now offer a low-cost rug shampoo rental, which can also help with pervasive odors if the house has one. If old paint matching the walls is sitting unused in storage, patch holes and touch up walls for a cleaner, fresher look.
Make sure landscaping is weeded and trimmed, and think about how people will park in advance. If necessary, consider using traffic cones to route the flow of cars in and out. Try to use warm-toned light bulbs throughout the home, and put plenty of lighting options or mirrors in darker rooms and areas. Many realtors bake cookies or cinnamon rolls to make the space cozy, but always set a timer so your food doesn’t burn during a conversation.
Do your homework
Whenever possible, work with the homeowner or public utilities to be able to answer questions about average utility costs. Familiarize yourself with the age of the home, appliances, the HVAC system and the roof, and other details buyers typically ask about. Common questions may include the trash pickup days and commute time to various landmarks. If you can present yourself as a thorough, knowledgeable realtor, you’ll increase the chances of earning a new buyer’s business in the process.
Know the alternatives
Be honest about the property’s shortcomings. If you cannot overcome a potential buyer’s objections, provide solutions or alternative properties at your realty. Being realistic and open can build trust with potential clients, and should never be seen as a betrayal to the seller. The perfect buyer always exists for your listing, but the trick is to have the patience not to force anything.
Don’t forget that some buyers might be looking for investment property rather than a primary residence. Have information ready about market rental rates and statistics, and use helpful suggestions as conversation starters. Do you know a good handyman or resource for a free tenant screening? Sharing your wisdom can help establish you as a trusted advisor whether or not the buyer chooses your current listing.
Daydream out loud
Imagine how the space could be used and talk about it as potential buyers are wandering through the house. If the home has a great backyard space for entertaining, talk about nearby amenities like Costco, Sam’s, or even a convenient liquor store where homeowners can stock up for parties. Think about where people might set up their home office and discuss placement of modems and routers, and always keep a measuring tape on hand to help potential buyers test out their own ideas about the space.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and try to present them with a wealth of information to encourage them to work with you again in the future, even if this isn’t the right house for them.