how to prepare for an open house

Good old house selling. There might be a million things that are more fun, but few that are more necessary. Perhaps you are being forced to relocate for your job, maybe you need to downgrade to a cheaper house, or possibly you just want to move to another neighborhood. No matter why you are moving, one thing is essential: selling your house.

With selling a house comes certain things: preparing the house, hiring a realtor, and knowing the market, for instance. Open houses are essential as well. A time when people can stop by and casually see if your place is something they'd be interested in, open houses are a great way to reel in potential buyers.

Before throwing an open house (watch out, they're heavy), consider the following tips:

Get the Word Out: There is little sense in throwing an open house if no one comes to see it. This doesn’t mean you need to hire an ad agency or rent a fifty foot billboard in Time Square, but getting the word out is essential. Placing flyers and signs around your neighborhood (complete with directional arrows), advertising in the local paper, and posting notices on community bulletin boards are a great way to start.

Have an Info Sheet: The invention of the "info sheet" - in the mind of the home buyer - is up there with the invention of the wheel; information sheets are that essential. They are also extremely easy to make. Writing up a home overview that includes asking price, square footage, amount of bathrooms, bedrooms, utility costs, taxes, and anything your house might want to brag about (if new windows were just installed, for instance) gives people something to take home with them, and increases the chance of your house being noticed.

Prepare Your House: Perhaps the most essential part of throwing an open house is having a house that's worthy of being open to the public. It goes without saying, but a house that is clean, clutter free, and brilliantly landscaped will always appeal to the masses more than one that's dirty, dingy, and contains a lawn that's straight out of the Sahara. If you don't have time to prepare your house for its big day, hire someone to do it for you. You house must be in its best form in order to be presentable. Having coffee, cookies, and tea on hand is also a nice touch.

Follow Up: Selling a house, especially if you are doing it without a realtor, takes a certain amount of sale savvy. This doesn't mean you should cold call potential buyers and ask them if they are interested, but include a follow up sheet at your open house. Allow people to leave their names, their emails, or their phone numbers. Following up with potential buyers can help you arrange second showings and push the rolling ball along.

An open houses is often successful in making a sale. A time that truly allows your house to shine, open your house up wide and watch people say, "Aw."