Hosting an open house can be a weird process. You invite in complete strangers who will look around, open your closets and make judgments – sometimes out loud.
There is a psychological element to literally “letting people in.” It’s intrusive. You may feel exposed. Particularly for sellers who have owned for many years, it will be a tough experience. Here are some ways to make the best of opening the floodgates for an open house.
Prepare yourself emotionally
A home sale has huge emotional implications. If you understand this well in advance and come to terms with the change or the “loss,” the actual sale and open house process will be easier.
If, after 20 years in a home, you decide to sell overnight, you’d better believe that the process will be a roller coaster. Don’t do it under the gun -otherwise you will make knee-jerk decisions and react emotionally.
Depersonalize the house
The open house won’t seem so odd if you’ve made the effort to put many of your personal items away. As a part of prepping the home for sale, declutter, take down family photos and start to see your home as an object. Consider it a product – like something on the shelf at your local Walmart, it’s for sale on the open market.
Buyers don’t want to feel like they are walking into someone else’s home. They want to see a place as neutral. That’s what pulls them in.
Sellers who do best with open houses are those who move out of the home or even do some serious staging. That way they can emotionally detach from the house, and remove their presence so buyers can imagine themselves living in the home.
If you still live in the home, you need to take stock of what you have and think of your safety and security. You hope for genuine and trustworthy shoppers, but you never know.
Remove from public view any small and expensive items. Put jewelry, watches and cash deep in closets, or even inside a safe.
People may go through drawers when nobody is looking. Make sure there is nothing of value in them.
Open houses are the fabric of the real estate industry and the real estate market. Buyers will continue to see homes on Sunday as a way to learn the market and get inside the inventory. For some sellers, they are a necessary evil.
Plan ahead and be certain that you are ready to sell before you open your doors. Because once you open the doors, the buyers will come, and there is no turning back.
Watch real-life open house obsessives tour their dream homes.
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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.