4 tips for a successful open house

Open-House

Call it Operation Open House.

You’re throwing open the doors to sell your home. Now how do you make sure the right people show up?

You already know the basics: The house is clean and well-maintained. You’ve cleared the counters and ditched the clutter. And you might have employed a bit of staging to set the mood.

But when it comes to making the event a success (read: pulling in the serious buyers), it pays to know a few tricks of the real estate trade. Here are eight top tips from the real estate pros.

Holding an open house? There’s an app for that.

Make sure your agent uses the latest technology to market your house. Agents can advertise open houses on a host of popular real estate sites, such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, and portals on Yahoo and Google, says Joan Pratt, real estate broker with RE/MAX Professionals in Castle Pines, Colo.

Because most buyers start their searches on computers, you need a professional presentation online, says Jeff Wiren, president of the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors and broker with RE/MAX Equity Group. That means more than a few token pictures, he says. Post a good number of photos, and “make sure the pictures are of good quality and really show the home well.”

Realtor.com has a free real estate app for consumers. It finds and lists all of the open houses within a certain radius, with maps and directions to each. It includes salient features, such as asking price and number of bedrooms.

But Realtors may have to take a few extra steps to get the open house to appear on theĀ app and may have to buy additional services from the site, says Julie Reynolds, the website’s vice president.

High-tech

High-tech can save you and the buyers money and time, too. Before technology, real estate agents prepared hefty brochures with materials about the house for prospective sellers.

These days, many agents put all of that information online, says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, past-president of the National Association of Realtors and vice president of Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt in Grand Rapids, Mich. People are more likely to read the material online, she says. And she finds that most of her attendees have reviewed it before they come to the open house.

Realtor.com has a free real estate app for consumers. It finds and lists all of the open houses within a certain radius, with maps and directions to each. It includes salient features, such as asking price and number of bedrooms.

Still, Combs sometimes keeps a limited number of printed brochures, just for folks who might not have access to or interest in the Internet.

How’d you like to increase foot traffic with serious buyers for about $7?

Update that “for sale” sign with an “open house” sign exactly one week before your big event.

Called “riders” because they ride on top of your “for sale” sign, the attachments are available from home improvement stores and you can usually get them preprinted with “Open house Saturday” or “Open house Sunday.”

So for just a few dollars, “anyone driving by will know that they can come back Sunday and it will be open,” Pratt says.