We did an Sunday Open House run yesterday, checking out some of the the different neighborhoods available to us. Some observations:
Beware of the sign-in sheets. Address? Phone number? E-mail? No way. I’ve since realized that Open Houses are actually more for listing agents to gain new clients than anything else. Prospective buyers walk in, put down their personal information, and of course… would you like to sit down for a free consultation? Also, if you have a buyer’s agent and don’t put that down on the sheet, the seller’s agent can argue for the entire commission. All in all, it appears to offer nothing for the buyer.
Stop with the “creative” listing photos. I hate when you see a picture of a lake or something on the MLS listing and it turns out you had to stand on the roof and lean over 45 degrees in order to see that view. If it’s not available from inside the house and without gymnastic talent, then it doesn’t count.
Staging actually does work. Some of the houses that have been obviously “staged”, with zero clutter, nice place settings with candles on the dining table, neatly folded towels in the bathroom, and flowers everywhere. I thought I would hate it, but I actually quite liked it.
Too much personal stuff is bad. Then there are the people with the huge collection of dolls or nude statues lining the halls. I’m sorry, but your stuffed dogs are distracting and really hurting my own ability to visualize living in your house.
What, no cookies? For some reason, I read somewhere that you should always have something baking at an Open House. But out of the 10 houses we saw, I got no cookie action. So sad…
Despite some gripes, I do like the idea of Open Houses. It’s low-stress and is much more definitive than just pictures.