There’s nothing worse than preparing for and hosting an open house that no one comes to. You spend all kinds of time cleaning and primping your home. But most of your energies are directed towards hoping someone will recognize what a charmer of a place you have and will make an offer. Wishful thinking can be exhausting.
Whether or not your home sells is usually based on two things — the price you’re asking and the condition your home is in. When you’ve priced your home correctly, and you’re in a balanced or seller’s market, there should be plenty of interest and showings.
But sometimes there isn’t. If you’re in a slow buyer’s market, where there are more homes available than qualified buyers to purchase them, you may have priced your home correctly but that might not be enough.
Aside from literally pulling people in off the street, here are a few ideas that might drum up more prospective buyers:
Hold A Weeknight Open House. Although the most popular time for an open house is Sunday afternoon, there’s no reason why you can’t hold an open house on a weeknight. There are several reasons to consider this option.
First, few people hold a weeknight open house, so you’ll set yourself apart from the glut of open houses on Sunday. Second, a lot of parents have prearranged activities with their children, from Sunday school to Little League. The time they have available to view prospective homes may be limited. Finally, weeknight open houses can be shorter, perhaps only 2 hours instead of 3 or 4 hours. That limits the amount of time you’ll be out of your home, and gives you an opportunity to eat dinner out or take in a movie.
In order to boost the appeal of open houses, you should offer some sort of snack items, such as slices of homemade cakes or cookies. If you’re hosting a weeknight open house from, say, 6 to 8, you may want to offer something a little more substantial. You could leave out nicely arranged fruit, cheese, bread and other goodies that won’t spoil if you leave them out for a couple of hours. You want something that is portable (could be eaten quickly while walking around) but that wouldn’t mess up your home. In other words, spaghetti with tomato sauce isn’t the best choice. Providing juice, coffee or cool water is an especially considerate gesture.
Increase the Commission. Most sellers want to discover ways to lower the commission. But the truth is, brokers respond better to an increase in their commission.
How you structure the increase is up to you. You might want to raise the entire commission or offer a bonus to the broker who brings the buyer to the table. For example, you may want to offer the buyer’s broker a $1,000 bonus on top of his or her share of the total 6 percent commission. Or, you might raise the total commission from 6 to 7 percent, with four percent going to the buyer broker and 3 percent going to your broker.
Whichever way you decide to do it, be sure your seller broker lists the broker bonus or increased commission in the multiple listing service listing. This is sure to catch some attention. Also, be sure you write the commission into the listing agreement, so there are no misunderstandings later.
Get the Word Out. In addition to having your listing agent market your home, you should do everything you can to get the word out that you’re selling.
Consider printing up and distributing fliers, listing your home on the Internet (if your broker hasn’t already done so, and telling everyone you know your home is for sale. You may want to purchase some newspaper ads (in addition to the ones your broker may have already placed). If your company has a newsletter that lists homes for sale, you may want to be mentioned there. If you’re located in an area that has a lot of transferees, you may want to contact the companies that transfer those employees, or the brokerage firm that works with those employees.
Finally, the best thing you can do is have a large, legible “for sale” sign in front of your home with a number folks can easily read while driving by. If they have a car phone, buyers might just call the number as they pass by. This is especially important for those of you who are selling without a broker’s help. You need to clearly communicate that your home is for sale. A sign is the best way to do that.