Are you considering hosting an open house as a tool to sell your home fast? You've come to the right place! I sold my friend's house (in a really tough market) with these open house tips, and we only had to hold ONE! But before I dive into our open house tips that worked so well for us, I want to give a few other ideas for selling your home fast as a FSBO!
Once you make the decision to sell your home yourself, you are immediately faced with the decision of signing a contract and selling your home through a realtor or trying your hand at it yourself and listing it as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
However, knowing how to sell your home yourself isn't as simple as sticking a “For Sale” sign in your lawn. Over the years times have changed—and the good news is the market is mostly tilting in your favor.
So put down that pen and read this before signing that contract!
Recently I had a friend come to me and ask me for my advice on how to sale her home herself. Considering the thousands of homes I have toured and considered in the 10 moves my husband and I have experienced over the years (See my post 10 moves in 9 years for moving tips). She didn't want to hire a realtor if she didn't need to because she wanted to get the most money out of her home as she could. Well one thing led to another in our conversation and the next thing I know I told her I would help her sell her house. I wrote up the ad, took photos, held and open house and was the main contact for anyone interested in scheduling a showing.
Well not to toot my own horn or anything, but the first family to come for a showing, within a week of the home being listed, were the ones that made an offer! 45 days after going under contract and BAM house sold!
Now I want to disclose that I am NOT a realtor and I have no professional training. I am a simple-minhoded but opinionated girl who likes to share what I know… I am merely talking by experience and what has worked for me, my friends and family over the years.
How to Sell Your Home Yourself
MAKE PREPARATIONS BEFORE LISTING
Take a walk around your home inside and out and make a list of projects that need to be finished or things that need fixing and sprucing up. Divide your list into a few different categories like: “Easy & Fast”, “Money & Appeal” and “ain’t nobody got time fo dat!”. Decide what is necessary and start there. This will help you knock out that lingering to do list and ensure that your house is ready for touring.
Do Your Homework
By doing some market research in your area; it can help you avoid overpricing your home but ensuring that you are getting what you deserve:
- See what other homes are selling for, in what neighborhoods and what amenities they have.
- Find out what recent homes have sold for vs. their listing price.
- Decide what your bottom line is so that you do not break the bank.
- Look at how much you still owe on your home and how much you paid for it.
- Make a list of all improvements and costs you made to the home since purchasing.
- After doing these things decide on an appropriate but competitive listing price.
Join your local Facebook yard sale and real estate groups so that you are ready to post your listings for extra traffic.
Make sure you have a well-written ad with a little bit of humor and personality mixed in with it. You want your ad to stand out from the rest and be memorable. Be honest without disclosing too much, and do not oversell it by using words like perfect or spot-less. No home that has been lived in is either of those and you do not want to portray unrealistic expectations for the buyer.
Use any free classified services you can like Craigslist, Zillow, Facebook and any others that might be in your area.
Keep it Clean and Keep it Fresh
Whether you decide to hire a cleaning service or choose to save a little money and deep clean your house yourself; having an extra clean house is a HUGE deal before listing it. Getting your house sold quickly means having a ‘brand new to them’ house. New homebuyers will see everything that you don’t.
If you choose to clean your house yourself, make certain you clean your windows inside and out! You want that shiny clean glass to let in as much natural light as possible.
Some realtors say not to use scents or air fresheners because some people can be sensitive to fragrances. However, in my opinion I say a fresh-fragrant smelling home is more likely to feel homey and create a positive connection vs. a house that smells like wet dog, sweaty kids and stinky feet.
Our sense of smell is closely linked with memory. So if you can have your home smelling like a relaxing oasis without being over-powering, you can help the homebuyer make positive associations with your home to help them remember what it felt like to be roaming the beaches of paradise through your master bath. I always use this kind because the scents are not overpowering, and you can control what level you want it to be on.
STAGE IT LIKE A PRO
GET YOUR CRAP OUT! If you are listing the house after you have already moved, make sure to take all of your leftovers out of the house and out of the yard. Except for some simple pieces to use for staging.
If you will be living in your home until it is sold. Remove half of your belongings and keep them in storage to reduce clutter. No one wants to see your piled up mail and junk papers that you just can’t seem to get rid of. You want your home to feel simple and clean while feeling larger.
Let’s be honest, what you love in your home is not what buyers will love. They are trying to envision themselves living in your home. So that gallery wall shrine you have dedicated to every wonderful family memory has GOT TO GO! And take with it that Pepto Bismol accent wall and all your bathroom countertop clutter. It’s important to neutralize and de-personalize your home so that homebuyers have the opportunity to imagine themselves living there; rather than being distracted by all of your “stuff”.
Light and Fresh
Buy new white towels and new bath mats. Keep them clean and folded up in a closet. Then when you get the call about a showing, lay out the towels to make your home feel more spa like. When the showing or Open House is over, fold them back up and store them until the next one to keep them looking crisp.
Open all blinds and turn on all lights. Even if mid day; you want the house to seem bright and inviting so that it creates feelings of warmth and vibrancy. If it’s winter, turn on the heater. Summertime, turn on the A/C.
PAY ATTENTION TO VISUAL ATTRACTIVENESS
Curb Appeal is essential; you have only one chance for a good first impression. Walk outside your home and try to look at it through a buyer's lens. Mow that lawn and pull those weeds! Can you make small improvements? Maybe add some flowerpots, new mulch or paint that chipped front door? Clean debris or loose gravel from walkways and flower beds. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to add a little pizazz to the front of your home.
Fabulous Photos and Virtual Tours
Hire a professional real estate photographer. You didn’t create calluses on your hands and sweat on your brow to end up with dark, blurry or bad angled photos. Because presentation is everything!
One of the most genius resources available to homeowners selling their house is through Homie.com. It's like having a real estate agent and professional photographer, without paying for one (Homie users save $10,000 on average).
Here's what's included when you sign up for Homie: yard sign, professional photos, home value report, seller dashboard, custom phone number, tour scheduler tool, offer generation tool, digital signatures tool, automated contract reminders, provider marketplace, attorney legal assistance. You pay a $199 first installment, and then you pay the second installment of $699 if the home sells. Pure genius! My brother recently told me that his wife knew what house she wanted before they even looked at it, all because of the photos! That's a pretty good indication of how important the photography is!
This leads me into my open house tips, the next best step to selling your home fast…..
OPEN HOUSE TIPS: HOW TO HOLD AN OPEN HOUSE
Okay…here's what you have been waiting for: the open house tips that led to the successful sale of my friend's house:
An open house is an easy way to generate lots of “showings” in one day. You want to pick a day and time that is convenient for most people. Spring and Early Summer are prime times for selling your home, so hosting an open house before or around these times is most ideal for sparking the most interest. It doesn’t need to be all day either, a 2-3 hour window is sufficient to create enough traffic to make it worth your time.
Here are My Quick OPEN HOUSE TIPS:
- Have a sign in sheet where you can get contact information from your guests to be able to follow-up with them a few days later.
- Here are some FREE Printable's for you to use as an Open house welcome sign and a Guest Sign in form to follow-up with those that visit your home at a showing or open house.
- Leave them with something to remember the home, like a flyer, brochure or postcard.
- Provide a welcome treat and some cold waters, especially on a hot day. It’s this type of personal touch that makes your home memorable.
- Put up a lot of directional signs to your home but be aware of what the signage rules might be in your city.
Open House Tips for Each time you have a showing:
- Bring nature inside with fresh flowers
- Replace air fresheners
- Make arrangements for your pets (because no one wants to hear dogs barking from a kennel as they are trying to make a important life changing decision)
- Freshen up your home by vacuuming! Yes. EVERYTIME. Seriously, I once went to an open house that a realtor held for a home that the owners had been moved out of for awhile; and there were dead bugs EVERYWHERE! I can’t tell you anything I remember about the house, but I do remember the dead bugs!
FINAL OPEN HOUSE TIP: DEVISE A PLAN FOR WHEN THE OFFERS COME ROLLIN’ IN!
To ease any stress or pressure, create a plan for how you’d respond if you receive multiple bids, or low bids.
There’s no rule on how you should act.
Decide on what’s important to you. For example, some sellers are just looking to accept the best offer they receive and move out fast. Others, however, might be interested in sparking a bidding war to drive up their home's price.
That being said, sometimes the highest offer is not always the best offer; you need to consider each offer's full terms, including contingencies, closing window, and the buyer's financing.
By determining exactly what's important to you in advance, you’ll be able to make an easier decision in getting your home sold.
I hope these open house tips really help you! I would love to hear any open house tips of your own!