A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Preparing for an Open House

This is something for a Realtor to answer, but I have been asked to write something about this topic, so here is what I know. An open house is a marketing event meant to draw in potential customers into your home . Realtors will handle this situation, depending on their character and their knowledge of how to be successful.

The first step is having the home ready to be shown. This can be a simple cleaning, or it can be an elaborate home staging. The whole idea is to have your house look its best. Generally, the owners are asked to make plans for that day for the time of the showing. If they are in the home, they will use it as they normally do, which might ruin the effect for buyers.

The next step is setting up advertising for the open house. This could be signs along the main traffic routes, a listing in a paper, a mailer to a target area, or a posting on some site on the internet. A Realtor will know his audience, and the advertising will be directed to that audience in such a way for them to see it.

This next item is not always done, but I like homes that have an almost party type atmosphere. Your home should be inviting to buyers, and what better way to do this than create the illusion of a get together. Coffee and cookies do the trick. It should not be anything to grand. Think kaffeklatsch with cookies substituting for the cake. Oops, for those of you who have not been around Germans or German-Americans, a kaffeklatsch is where ladies get together to talk over coffee and cake. You may also want to have water available, and those little styrofoam cups are fine.

Lastly the host of the event will go over answers to the frequently asked questions. These include questions about the price, items that are included in the sale, does an appliance work, to is there enough storage. Just go through your home and think about what you would ask if you were going to buy it. You may have noticed that I wrote host instead of Realtor. I have seen a trend among some Realtors to hire people to work for them as hosts. These staff members are assistants who may do other odd jobs for the Realtor, but their main function is to be a host at an open house. This may be a good thing for you, since these hosts are very good at what they do. They really make buyers feel welcome.

Well, these are the basics of an open house. Be prepared, very prepared, and hope for an offer.

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2 Comments»

  Rachel B – www.mystagedlife.com wrote @

Thank you for adding the bit about having the home staged. This really is crucial to an open house because a homeowner never gets a second chance to make a first impression. It’s also nice to see a home inspector who is aware of the benefits of staging… especially after the controversial report released a few months ago that wrongly stated staging covered up problems (which are legally disclosed as well as pointed out by a home inspector, but we won’t get into that). Thanks for the great post.

  frankschulteladbeck wrote @

Well, thank you for your comments. I saw that report too, and I was taken aback by it. The implication that Realtors should consider the legal consequences of staging is beyond me. Staging is not about hiding the defects of a home, but about presenting the home in its best light. Any inspector worth his salt would be able to discern a defect or where it might be, and I have never heard of a stager trying to hide items that I am trying to discover, so that report came out of left field to me.


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