While a real estate advert will tell you a lot about a property, the open home is where the expectations you set in your ad are really put to the test.
Visitors to an open home will be deciding whether or not they will invest more time and effort into evaluating the home, so it’s vital to get this right.
Just as with a property ad, the details are important. You want your open home to be consistent with the marketing communications, the photographs you’ve already shown people, and, of course, the true nature of the property itself.
A well-run open home will appeal to all the senses
Perception is everything. A great first impression will increase the home’s perceived value and give visitors a real sense of what it’d be like to live here.
To maximise the opportunity of success, preparation is key
Make sure your vendors feel up to speed with the process, and then discuss what needs to be done before open day.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Fresh flowers are an obvious choice for adding a touch of ambience. Be aware though, fragrant lilies can be a big distraction for people with allergies. Living plants are increasing in popularity as they last longer and don’t have as many mental associations with ceremonial occasions. Just ensure any plants are well watered and in good condition!
Set the mood with thoughtful lighting
Adjust your lighting to suit the season. Is it winter? Make it feel cosy. Is it summer? Let in natural light, air the home and make it smell like sunshine.
All these finishing touches like flowers, indoor plants, warm lighting, or even something as simple as a fresh hand towel will encourage visitors to evaluate the home both emotionally and rationally.
Want to dress for success? Call in the professionals
Where a high-end home is in question, you could consider hiring a professional home-staging company. Remember, buyers are trying to imagine their own luxury lifestyle in this home. They are reaching for something that they may have been dreaming about and working towards for decades.
There are various home styling companies available that can orchestrate and provide hire equipment to suit the property style and target market.
The garden may be the first thing your prospective buyers see – and they will judge it. What does it say about the owners? Are they gardeners? Off-the-grid? Minimalists?
While some vendors will take pride in an immaculately kept lawn and garden, others will not. For those without a green thumb, encourage them to hire a gardener to give the yard a quick once over before open day.
Encourage your vendor to commit to a deep clean
It’s not a fun job but it needs to be done. I’m talking degreasing the range hood, clearing out the cobwebs, cleaning the windows, dusting the surfaces, scrubbing behind the toilet and getting all the places that may have been neglected during regular cleaning. This will make a huge difference to how people feel about the home and how well they think it's been maintained.
Sorting and tidying kitchen cabinets, drawers, and wardrobes will help present a consistent image to prospective buyers. Even if they haven't binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Condo, there is a high probability that people will open cupboards, look behind doors, and generally have a rummage through storage areas to find potential features or flaws.
Throw away the empty cardboard boxes, buy a fresh bottle of hand wash, hide toothbrushes and clear out anything that adds an element of grossness.
Declutter and neutralise
The purpose of an open home is to provide prospective buyers with an opportunity to imagine what life would be like in this home. It’s a good idea to remove any overly personal touches such as family portraits, notes on the fridge, and coffee table staples such as magazines and books. This not only reduces distraction for potential buyers, but it also helps preserve the dignity and privacy of the vendor.
Be kind to your clients
Open homes can be an uncomfortable stage for vendors as they may still be living in the home. Help them feel at ease and let them know what to expect on the day. Consider creating your own guide for vendors to help them prepare for open homes, post open home tips on your social media channels, or put together an open home e-newsletter.