4 Things Sellers Need to Know About Open Houses

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4 Things Sellers Need to Know About Open Houses

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
March 3rd, 2014

Sometimes, just getting the listing agreement signed and price agreed-upon seems like the end of an intense, effortful, laborious process. But as you well know, it’s really just the beginning of helping your new seller through all of the twists and turns of selling a home.

In the course of working through these items with internet-savvy sellers, agents may run into increasingly vocal, surprisingly strong opinions on a seemingly innocuous topic: Open Houses. Camps are divided pretty neatly between sellers who think that open houses are a total waste of time and those who think that open houses are the go-to way to getting a home sold at top dollar and in record time.

Inquiring sellers want to know, which is it: a waste of time or time well-spent? If you want your sellers to come out of this question on the side of “time well-spent,” here are a handful of talking points and scripts about open houses you can use.

1. There are different types of open houses, and type matters.

There are two basic types of open houses, a Broker’s open house and a public open house. Public open houses are the traditional Sunday afternoon affairs where local buyers, neighbors and looky-loos alike peruse your property.

Broker’s opens are held for the benefit of the real estate brokers and agents in town, who can stop by one-by-one or may visit in groups or caravans. Most often, listing agents will hold the Broker’s open house on the day of the week that brokers usually tour the neighborhood, and will try to time it very soon after the home goes on the market—before the public open house.

Over 90 percent of qualified buyers will start their house hunt online, so it’s essential to make sure your home is well-marketed, digitally speaking. But over 80 percent of qualified buyers will ultimately work with an agent or broker, so sellers can’t afford to miss them, either!

Broker’s opens are an efficient way to expose a home in its best light to a large number of brokers who are on the lookout for their buyer clients at one moment in time, early in the life of your home’s listing. They also create a rich opportunity for local brokers to see the home in close succession to similar, nearby listings—so if the home is well-prepared, well-staged, and well-priced against the competition, Broker’s opens make that very clear.

On the flip side, if the home is staged, marketed or priced in a way that puts it at a competitive disadvantage, local brokers and agents will often give the listing agent that feedback during the Brokers’ open—giving the seller the opportunity to course-correct or put some final touches on the home’s staging before most buyers see it.

Verdict: Broker’s Open Houses = Time Well Spent.

2. The role of the open house has shifted.

To maximize their chances of successfully finding a property that meets their needs, today’s buyers have to see a lot of houses—and they have to get out and view properties as soon as possible after they come onto the market.

At the same time, though, buyers live busy lives, and so do their agents, which makes the prospect of making an individual appointment to see every listing that comes on the market daunting. If a buyer views 30 or 40 properties before they buy, imagine how many individual appointments that is to wrangle! One strategy many smart buyers and buyer’s agents are adopting is to keep a standing appointment every Sunday afternoon during the time homes are normally held open and view as many properties as possible in one fell-swoop.

Open houses aren’t just to help early-stage buyers discover listings anymore, they serve as a convenient way for serious buyers to access and view them, too.

Verdict: Time well-spent.

3. Few homes are actually “sold” at the open house, but occasionally one is.

No doubt, open houses take a lot of time and energy to prepare for, and sellers don’t want to do all that work, have a well-attended Open House and end the week with no offers.

But think about this: A listing only needs one buyer. Ask your seller if the inconvenience of having to clear out for a couple of afternoons worth missing the potential opportunity to find your home’s ultimate buyer.

They won’t want to miss the opportunity.

Also, there of course other ways open houses can indirectly lead to a sale. Buyers use homes not just to discover new listings, but to actually access and view homes they’ve seen online. And sure, those neighbors that may seem like looky-loos might be curious about the home decor choices, but they also might have friends, colleagues or relatives who’d be interested in buying the home.

Verdict: Could go either way, but the chances the time is well-spent are greater than they seem at first glance.

4. Prepping for an open house is time well-spent no matter its outcome.

The truth is, the time a seller will need to invest in sprucing and primping the home to prepare for an open house is not much greater than the time they would ideally invest in doing these things to put the home on the market even if they weren’t holding it open!

Setting a time and date for an open house and marketing it widely is a powerful “forcing factor.” It provides both a hard deadline for property preparation efforts and sets a higher bar for the prepping and staging of a home than a seller might set otherwise.

Verdict: Time well-spent.


Location affects the value of a home, but it’s price that sells a home.

Oceanfront, mountainside, or penthouse, the most desirable location in the world won’t sell at the wrong price.

Every property has a potential buyer, but like rock, paper, scissors, it’s sometimes hard to know which factor is going to win the showdown.

A good location will sell at a fair price. A bad location will sell at a fair price, too. It just won’t be as a high as it would be for a good location.

A home in good condition will sell for a fair price. A home in poor condition will also sell at a fair price. Again, it won’t be as high as a comparable home in better condition.

But neither location or condition will sell any house. Only one thing does that – price.

So if you’re a seller waiting for that “special buyer” who will appreciate your faded pink and black bathroom tile, your vintage orange shag carpet and is willing to help you put your kids through college because of your real estate prowess, you’re going to have a long wait.

So if your home is represented by an agent, and it’s been on the market for a long time, chances are it’s your own fault.

Maybe you didn’t listen to your agent when he said you’re pricing your home above the market. Maybe you got mad at the first few folks who looked at your home and didn’t make offers.

When the showings stopped completely, maybe you accused your agent of not doing a good enough job.

You put the blame on everyone except where it belongs – on you. It’s not about you, what you want, or how much you need for your retirement.

It’s about the price.

20 Awesome U.S. Cities You Need To Visit In Your 20s

The capital of Tennessee pretty much has it all — gorgeous green space (the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation manages 10,200 acres of land, including 99 parks), urban culture, collegians, and great food. Nashville was named the best city for live music by the Atlantic Cities, making it worthy of its nickname, “Music City”. Beyond just being home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, the city is known for its jazz scene, music clubs and record stores along Music Row. East Nashville has become a hot spot for the trendy — dare we say “hipster” — sets.

Davidson County School Calendar 2013-2014

8/1 All students report for half-day
8/2 Teachers report for in-service; student do not report
8/5 Grades 1-12 report for full day; half day for PK and K
9/2 Labor Day Holiday
9/4 Progress reports issued
10/4 1st quarter ends
10/7 Teacher planning day; students do not report
10/8-10/11 Intersession
10/14-1018 Fall Break; students do not report
10/21 2nd quarter begins 10/28 Report cards issued
11/1 Parent-teacher conference day; students do not report
11/20 Progress reports issued
11/27-11/29 Thanksgiving Holidays
12/17-12-20 Half day for exams grades 9-12
12/20 Half day for all students; end of 2nd quarter & 1st semester
12/23-1/3 Winter Holidays
1/6 Teacher planning day; students do not report
1/7 3rd quarter begins; all students report
1/13 Report cards issued
1/20 MLK Holiday
2/12 Progress reports issued
2/17 Professional development day; students do not report
3/14 3rd quarter ends
3/17 Teacher planning day; students do not report 3/18-3/21 Intersession
3/24-3/28 Spring break
3/31 4th quarter begins 4/7 Report cards issued
4/18 Spring Holiday
4/23 Progress reports issued 4/30-5/7 TCAP testing
5/26 Memorial Day Holiday
5/27-5/29 Half day for exams grades 9-12
5/30 Half day for all students; end of school year
6/2 Teachers report for in-service; last day for teachers 6/9 Last day for assistant principals

Six days are built into this calendar for inclement weather

5 Must-haves for Young Buyers

Many people shopping for real estate today are younger than previous generations of home buyers, and they’re extremely tech savvy. They grew up with smartphones, apps, and Google searches. And they want to use technology not only in their search for a home but throughout the home itself.
A recent survey by Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate shows that 77 percent of Gen X & Gen Y home buyers want their homes “equipped with the technological capabilities they have grown accustomed to.” And it doesn’t stop there. This new generation of home buyers is “rewriting the rules to home ownership and reinterpreting traditional norms to fit their values,” says Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.
These aren’t your standard-issue young home buyers from 30 or 40 years ago, who were often married couples looking for a starter home in the suburbs to raise a family. Today, single women make up a large percentage of first-time buyers, as do gay couples and the always-connected mobile professional.
As the home buyer evolves, so does the home. Here are five major shifts in homes you can expect to see today and in the coming years.

1. Man Caves and Smart Homes

The media room or “man cave” emerged in real estate marketing a few years back. Many buyers now prefer high-tech rooms with surround sound, large-screen TV’s, and the most up-to-date A/V equipment to the coveted formal dining room of a generation’s past.
But some aren’t limiting technology to just one room. They’re transforming an entire property into a “smart home” with home automation systems.
At a recent Maple Ridge, N.J., open house, the real estate agent demonstrated the features of the home automation system to excited buyers. With one tap on a touch screen, the owner of that home could remotely lock/unlock doors to let in their kids from school, automatically turn on the A/C or heat before they leave work, or monitor the family dog via webcam.
Given how technology is only going to be more important in our lives, transforming a home into a “smart home” is likely to be a good investment.

2. Carrie Bradshaw Closets

In the first Sex and the City movie, Carrie Bradshaw excitedly tours her future Manhattan apartment with Mr. Big — and is woefully disappointed at the tiny closet space. He surprises her by dramatically remodeling the cramped space into a dream closet, with glowing, glass-enclosed sub-closets.
That 2008 movie raised the bar and set the tone for closets. Today, the walk-in closet is a must-have on many buyers’ wish list. Some homeowners are paring down a four-bedroom home to three by transforming one bedroom into an oversized walk-in closet. It’s a far cry from the Victorian era, when bedroom closets were often the size of a coat closet today.
A large closet will probably never go out of style. If you intend to expand a closet or bedroom into a grand walk-in closet, just be careful not to overly customize it. The more specific you get with your taste, the fewer people your closet will appeal to when you go to sell later.

3. Home Offices

A home office tops this buyer’s wish list. Depending on the number of bedrooms, some will create a home office with built-in desks, shelving and cabinets. The customized home office with built-ins could deter some buyers, however, who feel they’ve lost a bedroom or other space. But many prefer to have one place dedicated to their laptops, printers and work-related stuff. (A dedicated home office is better for tax purposes, too). Either way, try to make your home office as appealing to the next buyer as it is to you. And keep in mind that, provided you don’t create a built-in a desk or bookshelf, the space can easily be reverted back to a bedroom.

4. Hardwood Floors

If you walk into a home that hasn’t been on the market for decades, you’ll probably see a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting. This was common in the mid 20th century. Not only did carpeting help reduce heating bills, it was seen as physically comforting and less sterile.
Fast forward 50 years, a time when most buyers prefer gleaming hardwood floors. Hardwood floors make a space feel less confined and give it a new, clean feeling. No matter how many times the carpet has been cleaned, there’s something about stepping on someone else’s carpet with your bare feet that turns off today’s buyers.
If you see a home you love, with wall-to-wall carpeting you don’t love, ask the agent what’s underneath it. You might be surprised to find a hardwood floor that, with some sanding and polishing, will give the home that updated, lighter look you want.

5. Urban Homes With Amenities

Home buyers used to covet a three-quarter acre lot. Today’s buyers — both the Gen X and Gen Y generations as well as empty-nest retirees — see that same lot and think “maintenance.”
Instead, they’re opting for city living, in big cities like New York as well as smaller urban centers such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and San Jose. These buyers seek active lifestyles and opportunities to socialize. They want to be near transit hubs. And they’re looking for buildings with amenities. They want a full-time concierge, a full-service gym, even an in-house spa or business center. If this type of property appeals to you, make sure you’re fully aware of the homeowners’ dues and other associated costs. You might be willing and able to absorb those expenses, but future buyers might not be.

Think Long-Term

Trends in kitchen countertops, paint colors and bath fixtures come and go. They’re based on larger design or style trends and even fashion trends. However, as our society and our culture changes, the larger fixtures and features of our homes change more gradually. They don’t mirror the latest trends so much as they reflect shifts in how we live. As a result, investing in long-term home shifts will usually be a better idea than paying extra money for the latest home fad.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/05/27/5-must-haves-for-younger-home-buyers/#ixzz2ZVPf1VDt

Brendon DeSimone is a Realtor and one of the nation’s leading real estate experts