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Have you ever heard the phrase “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”? While other listings aren’t your enemies, they are your competition, especially in the current real estate market. Going to other open houses gives you the chance to see what the competition is doing and how you can keep up with or even one-up them.
However, don’t express a dishonest interest in buying the home (the realtor doesn’t deserve that), but do get as many details as you can. That includes comparing the homes square footage (and price per) and the amenities they have that you don’t, and vice versa. Also, take a look at your area’s average listing prices. Although your house could sell for more, it’s good to keep these ballpark estimates in mind when you begin the home-selling process.
We recommend trying to go to at least one in person, but you can do some of your research online. Check out other listings (especially that have been on the market for a while) to get a better idea of what your home could sell for, and what you could do better.
Of course, there are some things you won’t be able to find out online, but doing your homework will help you be more prepared when you stick that “for sale” sign into your front lawn. Here are some things you need to keep in mind, brought to you by FSBO Home Listings.
You’ll Get Ideas of How to Declutter
There are a few things you’ll find at every open house. Tasty appetizers, an enthusiastic real estate agent, some strong candles — and a lack of clutter. Lighting a candle and going to the store is easy. Decluttering? Not so much. In fact, there are whole TV shows about it — and a sub-genre of home help/self-help books. However, you don’t necessarily need to binge-watch these shows or buy a bunch of books to get things done.
Instead, just ask yourself, “Do I want to bring this with me into my new home/life?” If the answer is “no” or “not really”, then it’s time to let it go.
Also, you should ask yourself what you’re holding onto because you think someone would be upset if you got rid of it. Most of the time that person would a. Never know you didn’t have it anymore or b. Rather you donate it to someone who would treasure it.
Now, we’re not saying you should donate your family heirlooms, but why not ask the person you’re feeling guilt from if they’d hold onto it for a while? You could say, “I don’t want to get rid of (item) but I can’t find a spot for it at my new house. Would you like to hold onto it until I move again, or should I donate it/give it to another family member?”
You’ll See How to Depersonalize
Your house is a home because of the people in it, but also from all the memories you have mounted to the wall and sitting on the shelves. As wonderful as those memories are, they’re yours — they do not belong to potential buyers. So, those need to get packed away first before people start touring your home. That may even mean re-painting walls before you move out! The more neutral your home looks, the better a buyer can imagine themselves there.
You’ll See How to Throw a Successful Open House
At some point, your realtor will want you to throw an open house unless you get an immediate offer. They’ll also need you to get professional pictures done of your home — no matter what.
So, how do you get ready for that? You can do three things.
First, do some research. Whether that means going to all the open houses in your neighborhood or searching online for similar listings. You can take inspiration from how other houses have staged their furniture in their professional listing photos and then make that style your own.
Second, see what other houses on the block (or in the neighborhood) are highlighting. This will show you how your home stacks up against the competition, feature and square footage wise.
Finally, hire someone to help you stage — or at least to help you organize before your photos and open house. That way you’re putting your home’s best foot forward! Keep in mind that professional stagers can easily set you back between $750 and $1,300, so it might make more sense for your budget to take care of these steps yourself.
Although it might seem sneaky, going to an open house in your neighborhood is actually pretty smart. Not only will you see what you’re up against on the market, but you’ll be able to find some inspiration to make your own open house a smashing success!