a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate
Posted in: Buying a home, Selling a home

What buyers and sellers should know as we head into open house season

Open house tips buyers and sellers

Open house season is upon us! Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, here’s what you should know about the weekend home-selling activities.

For sellers

Try to see your own dirt

Think about the type of deep cleaning you undergo for family holiday gatherings — that’s what you need to do for an open house. In addition to dusting and vacuuming, be sure to wipe down your blinds and walls (including baseboards) and check corners for cobwebs. Wash windows both inside and out, using balled up newspapers to minimize streaking. Focus on the outside of your home too, making sure all walkways are cleared and that the front landscaping is in great condition.

Empty your closets

Unlike your family holiday gathering, it’s not appropriate to hide all your excess belongings in your closets during an open house. Overflowing closets will give buyers the idea that your house doesn’t have enough storage space. Try to downsize your belongings or rent a short-term storage unit to hold your overflow as you sell.

Nothing is off limits

While buyers shouldn’t dig through your closets or drawers, it’s unrealistic to keep a room or closet off-limits when your home is being held open. If you usually cordon off areas from pets or children, be sure to remove the gates or barricades. Don’t forget about locked storage spaces in your garage—the more access you give buyers, the more appealing your home will be.

Clear the premise

While you may think that you have great feedback to share with open house attendees, it’s important that you leave your home during an open house or showing. Buyers need to see the property uninterrupted and they may not be honest with themselves (or you) if you remain onsite.

Remove the pets, too

If possible, remove your pets from your home during the open house. Whether you bring them to a local dog park or ask your neighbors to keep them inside their fenced yard, it’s important not to turn off buyers who aren’t keen on animals.

Share the love

Still love your home? Show it off!

“I encourage my sellers to show off their home’s capabilities,” said Edina Realty Maple Grove REALTOR® Jennifer Strangis Lundquist. “In the winter and early spring, I encourage buyers to show off their summer setup, especially if that includes a pool or expensive landscaping. If there are great local parks and trails nearby, we may mark up and print off local maps to distribute to interested buyers. The overall goal is to show interested buyers the lifestyle they will enjoy if they buy the home.”

For buyers

Measure away

Bring a measuring tape and keep track of the sizes of the rooms that are most important to you. If you have a “must-keep” antique banquet, be sure that it fits the back wall in the dining room. Similarly, see if your full bedroom sets will fit in each of the bedrooms. These aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but you may find that if you’re trying to choose between two homes, room dimensions can be the deciding factor.

Pay attention to light

Most open houses happen during the brightest hours of the day, so pay close attention to how well-lit the house is and where the light is coming from. Homes with closed floor plans usually have less natural light than those with open floor plans. If you happen to see the home on a dreary day, be sure to return on a brighter day to see the best-case lighting scenario.

Put on your friendliest face

Be sure to chat with the Realtor showing the property and try to make a connection so they remember you later. If you end up putting an offer on the property, you want to be in the good graces of the listing agent.

Ask the tough questions

Even as you’re making friendly conversation with the agent, it’s okay to ask why the seller is leaving the property and if there have been any offers. You may also want to ask about the neighborhood, including schools, parks and the area’s average tax rates.

Pay attention to demand

Try to listen to what other buyers are saying as they look over the home. If they think the home is underpriced or overpriced, that could change your bidding plan. On the other hand, try to keep your feedback to yourself until you’ve left the property, so you don’t give away your hand. If the listing agent asks you any questions about your budget or interest, remain neutral.

Good luck!

Whether you’re buying or selling, the next few months will be marked by balloons and signs on street corners. By following these basic rules, you’ll be destined for open house success.

Ready to get started? Our agents host hundreds of open houses each weekend, but the next Edina Realty Open House Weekend is April 11 and 12. If you’re in the market for a new home, check out this weekend's open houses.

Join over 48,365 subscribers

Status Definitions

For Sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active Contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings