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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, April 26, 2019

Get results from your open house




I’m excited that our annual Greater Chattanooga Realtors Open House Weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday (April 27-28). It allows the public an opportunity to preview more than 100 homes in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia – and a chance to win prizes.

Why hold an open house? It’s a chance to throw open your doors and dazzle buyers. Whether you’re a part of Open House Weekend or if you’re looking to list later in the year, these tips will help make your open house a hit.

Let your Realtor take the lead

Your job is to make your house look like a million bucks. The job of your Realtor, an expert on your local real estate market and what makes buyers tick, is to take care of the rest. Your Realtor will take the lead on hosting the open house, communicating with potential buyers’ and their agents and communicating any feedback to you.

Try some simple staging

You want your home to look its best while it’s on the market, especially during the open house. Many Realtors say the best way to primp your home for its big day is to stage it.

Depending on what your Realtor recommends, staging might involve renting new furniture or decor for certain rooms in your home. Consider displaying a bouquet of fresh flowers in the entryway, setting your dining room table to make it look inviting or turning on your outdoor sprinklers shortly before visitors arrive to make your lawn sparkle.

Clean like crazy

When your home is on the market, you need to keep it in showing shape — not only for the open house but also for any scheduled showings with buyers. Even though you’ve already (hopefully) cleaned and organized your home for its listing photos, there’s a good chance you’ve let clutter or dust pile up again, especially if you have children or pets.

Make sure appliances, windows and mirrors are free of fingerprints. Clean and organize your closets, cabinets and under your sinks. (During an open house, buyers are allowed to be nosy.) Clear away every bit of clutter and either get rid of it or put it in storage.

Don’t have the bandwidth to do a deep clean? Hire a house cleaning service to do the work for you. Most professional cleaning services cost between $115-$230. If you’re not sure about which service to hire, ask your Realtor to recommend one.

Do a smell check

If buyers get a whiff of something funky, they’ll run – not walk – out of your open house. Before your open house, ask your Realtor or a neighbor to do an honest, no-holds-barred smell check. If your house has the aroma of your beloved pet(s), deep clean the carpets, relocate the litter box and take steps to eliminate traces of Fluffy.

If the basement is dank and musty, buy a dehumidifier to remove air moisture and run a fan to circulate the air. If the kitchen drain stinks, drop in a cup of baking soda and then two cups of white vinegar. Enjoy the bubbling and then let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes. Finally, run hot water for 15-30 seconds to flush the odor.

Put pictures and valuables away

Personal belongings such as family photos, awards and religious art can distract homebuyers and make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in your home. You don’t have to go overboard – the idea isn’t to eliminate every trace of yourself – but consider temporarily hiding some pictures and personal effects out of sight during the open house.

Also, there’s a safety element to stowing your personal belongings. It’s important to remember that you’re inviting strangers into your home, so consider securely storing personal items (checkbooks, jewelry, prescription medications, etc.). Also, be sure to lock windows and doors afterward.

Let the light in

Light doesn’t only brighten up your space, it also makes rooms look and feel larger. On open house day, open all curtains and blinds to let natural light in. And replace every burnt-out light bulb in and outside the home so buyers see a working light every time they flip a switch.

Draw attention to your home’s best features

Even though you won’t be there, you can still draw visitors’ attention to features in your home that you’d like to highlight.

Before the open house, post friendly, aesthetically pleasing signs around the house with calls to action for shoppers such as, “Look down, new hardwood floors,” or “Gas fireplace, push this button.”

Buyers will likely appreciate the help and that they’re working with a conscientious seller.

Listen to your Realtor

After the open house ends, your Realtor will share with you what questions buyers asked and any comments they overheard by visitors. The important thing is to stay open to buyers’ feedback and follow your Realtor’s advice about how to respond.

Based on buyers’ reactions, your Realtor might recommend that you make certain repairs, do some painting or invest in additional staging before your next open house.

Whatever they advise, it’s not personal – it’s just the business of selling your home.

Hopefully, these tips will make your open house a success. Potential buyers who visit during Open House Weekend can register for a chance to win one of five $150 gift cards. Get details and preview scheduled open houses at www.gcar.net.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. Information: www.gcar.net, 423 698-8001.