How to Prepare for an Open House

    Homebuyers like the flexibility and low pressure of an open house. Sellers like the opportunity to show off the house to several prospective buyers at once. However, the pressure is largely on sellers to advertise the open house and sell the home's best features. Throughout the process, try to get into buyers' heads, meet their needs and answer their questions.

    Online Marketing

    Advertise the event by going to the buyers.

    These days, time on the Internet is more valuable than paid ads in the newspaper.

    • Start with your city's Craigslist page and other online classified ads. Put in as much information as allowed, and post photos. Don't worry about overwhelming buyers. You want them to find your listing, and you never know which search terms they will use -- streets, features, size, cost, etc. Putting in more search terms can't hurt. Just prioritize the best information.
    • Also judiciously use popular Internet forums. and many other sites have active forums for people who are relocating or buying a new home. Just search for forum posts about moving to your town, then spend some time posting and responding on the forum, gently slipping in a mention of your open house if appropriate. Take care because buyers will be turned off if they see that your first post on the forum is a sales pitch for your house. You know your city. Help homebuyers and make some friends by answering their questions and offering insights on the area.

    Maximize Traffic

    Put up open house signs on the busiest nearby road. This may seem obvious, but after years in a neighborhood you might be so used to the back routes for dodging traffic that you forget about the busy street you've been avoiding.

    Make a Resume for Your House

    Place a stack of flyers on an entryway table listing all the vital statistics, as well as your favorite features of the house and any recent upgrades. It can be more than one page, but make sure to put the most important information first.

    • Tell buyers what they get out of each feature. Instead of just listing "vegetable garden plot," describe the "well-rotated and fertile vegetable garden that has fed our family for 10 years."
    • Also try to walk around the neighborhood as if you were seeing it for the first time again. Think about what catches your eye, and think about the playgrounds, parks or other features that prospective buyers might like.

    Tell While you Show

    Type up index cards to post around the house and advertise key features and benefits.

    • Tell them about any recent upgrades. A shiny new fridge may be an obvious selling point to you, but buyers might overlook it without a detailed note about its advantages and slick features.
    • Don't just tell them you retiled the bathroom. Explain the benefits of the tiles you chose.
    • Don't overlook invisible upgrades. Tell buyers about new insulation or attic venting, and explain the cost savings and added comfort.
    • Both energy prices and environmental consciousness is on the rise. Be sure to promote any "green" upgrades.
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