The advertisement is in the paper and the house is spotless. Make sure you leave yourself an hour before the open home starts for last-minute tidying. Walk down the drive and into the house, trying to look at it as a stranger would. Make everything as tidy and uncluttered as possible.
Ensure there’s nothing small and valuable left out. I put all my jewellery, handbag, cellphone, iPod etc into a blanket box in the lounge that would always be visible to me while people were in the house.
Have a sign up sheet on a table for people to leave their name, number and email address. This is important for security and to ensure you can get in touch with interested parties. Set out a copy of the property’s LIM report, and have flyers for people to take away. These should have a photograph or two, the address, your mobile number and contact name, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, other spaces, type of title, land area, open home times and price if you’re advertising an asking price. Also always have two fresh copies of the Sale and Purchase agreement put away somewhere in case someone wants to make an offer there and then.
What to do when people turn up
Anyone who has ever looked at a house knows there are great agents and there are terrible agents. Great agents will politely greet you then fade into the background. Terrible agents will talk you into a stupor, leaving you desperate to get away from them.
As soon as someone walks down the drive, point them to the sign-up sheet and politely ask them to leave their details. I would then remove myself from the house completely, as if it was their home for the duration of their visit. I made myself a pot of tea and sat with a magazine on the deck, giving people plenty of time to look around, and, more importantly, talk to each other without having me in earshot.
Once people emerged from the house I would ask them whether they had any questions. Make sure you’ve rehearsed every question you think might be asked (land title and building materials, school zones, why you are selling etc) so you can give people as much information as possible.
Recognise that you can’t talk someone into buying a house. If a viewer says they have no questions, boring them with the house’s great points won’t make them buy it. If people linger and chat, odds are they are looking for more reasons to stay.
If people seem particularly interested, ask if they’d like a copy of the LIM. Get their email address and send it to them as soon as possible, but definitely that day. Then give them a quick follow-up call a week or so later. My house sold because I did a follow-up call and reminded a buyer about it. Always follow up on anyone who seems genuinely interested, even if they don’t request a LIM.
Hopefully, running a series of good open homes will bring you what you’re after; a good offer.