Open House & Showing Suggestions and To-Do’s – By Chris Casas

This is a quick narrative about Open Houses, Agent scheduled showings and what to do and expect. “Open Houses” and “showings” are a very important piece in marketing real estate. There are many different opinions and strategies. When asking 10 different people (or Realtors) you will get 10 different opinions. This document is based on my formal training by Shea Homes, professional tutorials and my personal experiences showing other open houses, selling real estate right here at Indian Springs and Trilogy La Quinta.

These theories and strategies can be debated and we can discuss them in more detail later, but in the mean time, I want to cover some important guidelines that all Realtors will agree on: Take away any distractions or “turn offs” that prevent a potential buyer from falling in love with your home.

Basically, an “Open House” says it all. You are opening your house for house guests to “see” or Realtors to preview or show. You want to impress them. You want your guests to get “good feelings” when they walk in the door and think/feel “I want to live here.”

The home builders & developers that have I have worked for and been trained by have done extensive research for building & presenting models to sell homes. Below I will share some of what they do. These are some basic concepts and suggestions that may apply to your listing and I encourage you to implement any that may help with staging/preparing your home for sale, or for a Realtor showing or an open house.

  • The basic concept is to get your home looking like a builder’s model show home.
    • Declutter! Buyers will be turned off by an over cluttered home. Another turn off is a lot of family pictures. After living in our homes, we can collect many items, trinkets, and pictures over the years. If you are intending on selling and moving, you will have to pack these items sooner or later and now is the best time! These items will turn off and distract potential buyers. Declutter your office, refrigerator door or any other area collecting stuff!
    • Bright! Dark homes and rooms are another big turn off! Whenever a potential buyer visits your home, turn every light on and open every window shade or window blind. Yes, in every room. If a room is dark, they will be reluctant to walk-in. Are your windows tinted? If so, seriously consider having it removed.
    • Clean! Dust, dirt, fur-balls, water spots on shower glass, toothpaste or soap stains – are all big turn offs! No papers/bills/clutter on the home office/desk. Kitchen counters cleared of unused appliances, trinkets and decor. Also take a good look outside as well. Please address any landscaping issues, plants, broken irrigation, ants/insects, spider webs and animal (dog, cat or bird) droppings.
    • Repair! Do you have a broken light bulb, outlet or fixture? Ding in the Stucco? Dripping faucet? Crack in the drywall or a window? If trying to get a “top of market or fair market” offer on your home, it better look like it. These items/repairs will be deducted and accounted for when a buyer is making an offer and result in low offers. Plus, they will come up during the home inspection and will need to be repaired eventually. Might as well fix them now rather than while trying to pack & move.
    • Smell Good? Odors are another HUGE turnoff! After turning on the lights, open a few windows and let some fresh air in the home. If there are pets in the home, sweep up fur balls, pick up any dropping from the yard, takeout the cat box and or trash. A quick wipe with something that smells fresh and clean is ok (lemon Pledge-furniture cleaner), but don’t over do the air freshener. Like too much perfume, it’s a turn off and you wonder what they are trying to hide.
    • Set the Mood! Soothing background music helps break the silence and soothe the soul. In addition, this will offset any whirling air conditioners, lawn mowers or other distracting sounds. Please consider turning on some soft music with low volume before leaving.
    • Get out! You have hired us to represent you in selling your home, so let us or the other Realtor do our job. When we or another agent is showing your home, or if we are hosting an open house, please leave. Having a Seller in an Agent hosted open house (or showing) is distracting and unsettling to the buyer(s) previewing. It creates an environment that is not conducive for open discussions with the Realtor(s); addressing questions or concerns or making an offer. These serious discussions and are best addressed when they are in your home and you are not. Sometimes you can’t leave for whatever reason and that is ok. Please stage your home and step aside while they show and look around. Many will take a walk, go for a car ride, sit in the yard or den. If you are there, they may ask you questions from anything from the neighborhood, you home to market conditions, rumors and politics. Please answer any questions that you feel comfortable with, but I encourage to keep it light and short.

Again, these are some simple tips to help your home look good when hosting an open house and when a Realtor is previewing or showing your home to prospective buyers.

But… sometimes the best guest is the unexpected one. You will never know when an agent or buyer wants to see your home.

Please be aware that some agents give very little notice if any when driving the neighborhood or showing other homes. It could be a last minute peek before leaving town… or the flyer out front catches their interest. So try to always be prepared for a last minute or short notice showing and try to accommodate their request. It will happen, and that last minute showing may produce the buyer for your home. So do everything you can to let them in promptly, with a warm welcome if you are home… and please try to leave if you can! The Realtor will be able to lock up when they are done.

I am here to help! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about getting your home ready to show and sell!

Or if you need help with staging and selling your home please call me at (760) 409-5549!

Thank You,

Chris Casas

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.