According to the best estimate, something like 45% of home buyers use an open house viewing before making their purchase decision. I think that sounds about right – it might even be higher here on Bainbridge. With such a high proportion of serious prospects choosing to drop by an open house, it’s important that we – client and agent -- get it right. Under-preparing is seldom an issue: we all want to put our best foot forward when we invite the public into our home.
Yet while it may be tempting to go into overdrive for that preparation, overdoing it can be a problem, too – one that can actually turn off buyers. Some guidelines worth noting:
- Avoid information overload. It's common practice to set out a few brochures or pamphlets that let potential buyers know something about the area. But ifyour flier presentation looks like it belongs in the State Tourist Welcome Center, or you've put together a local restaurant guide that comes off like a comprehensive college prospectus, your buyer may not have enought time to focus on the home while there.
- Don't Kill the Mood. Like many agents, I like to try to set a certain ambiance for potential buyers attending an open house. Yet I also know that when a potential buyer walks though a Bainbridge Island home, he or she needs to be albe to projext a personal image of the future onto it. In Practice, this means that soft music is nice-top 40 is too much. Subtle and neutral details are a plus; too much color or too many photos can be overkill. To cater to all demographics, be sure the house is clean and uncluttered-- as minimalistic as practical.
- Keep Refreshments to a Minimum. Ensuring that potential buyers feel comfortable in your open house is the goal, so you and your agent need to draw a line between hosting a mini-buffet and being gracious but business like hosts. You want to provide pleasant and positive refreshments, but an elaborate spread taking over the kitchen and wafting all variety of aromas through the house is distracting. I've always been a fan of the classic cheese and crackers display (though I've sometimes found it appropriate to add a cookbook propped open to emphasize an especially well thought out kitchen design).
When you plan your own Bainbridge Island open house, you and your agent should make the most of the strong points of your offering – being careful not to upstage them. Call me anytime if you are looking for one of those kinds of agents. I am one who will be your strong partner from the moment you list until the last closing doc is signed!