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Monday, November 14, 2016

Home Seller Tips: Should Your Agent Have an Open House?

Although open houses are not the most effective way to sell a home many sellers want their real estate agents to conduct open houses.   After all, an open house can be a key component of any agent's marketing plan.   Many for sale by owner sellers hold open houses as well.  When  you conduct an open house you really don't know most of the strangers who enter your house or condo.

An open house invites complete strangers into the seller's home.  Sellers must take a proactive approach to protect themselves when selling.  While most agents attempt to keep an eye on customers when showing a house they can be distracted.

So what can a seller do?  This is not an all inclusive list but hopefully will be helpful.
  • Put away valuables. Small cameras, tablets, laptops, jewelry, money.
  • Put away or remove personal documents.  This includes bank and credit card statements, passports, birth certificates, etc. Think identity theft!
  • Put away or lock up firearms. There may be small children or theft!
  • Put away medications (and alcohol!).  
  • Take the pets out for a walk.
  • Remove trip hazards. You don't need to be sued!
  • Never let strangers in your house - even if it is a real estate agent if the office has not notified you of a showing.
Still, not every visitor to your home during an "open house" is a prospective buyer.  Some of these open house visitors may just be... 
  • Out for a drive.  I recently had a very nice couple stop by during my open house.  Asked about what they were looking fro they chirped almost simultaneously "The weather was so nice we just wanted to get out for a drive!" 
  • Casing the premises.  OK this is not he literal casing as in "nefarious intentions" but rather just nosy neighbors.  
  • Curiosity.  Just Saturday I had a lady come by who proudly stated she "watched a lot of HGTV and wanted to see what the seller had done."  The seller proudly showed off the house while I sat to the side in amazement!
  • Poorer than a church mouse.  No ability to purchase, with a recent foreclosure, thinking about purchasing in a few years, they just wanted to look.
  • Thinking about selling.  Scouting the competition some folks want to see what others are offering in the neighborhood.
The above "characters" stopped by recent open houses I conducted in Rockledge, Florida. 

Still, not every property is suitable for an open house.   The property location may not be convenient to major traffic.  Its price point may be too high (or low).  The  property may not show well (fixer upper).  Perhaps the circumstances of the sale (illness, death in the family), have created additional barriers (absentee owners, for example).

Still, if an open house is scheduled, preparation is key.

For information on buying a home in Melbourne, Florida, please call or text me at 321-693-3850.

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