How to Host a Successful Open House

So, you’ve decided to sell your home. Maybe your family has outgrown the house or maybe you need to downsize. Whatever the reason, organizing a successful open house should be a goal for sellers and real estate agents alike. After checking out the local competition, there are several ways to ensure you host a strong open house and, fingers crossed, receive an offer shortly after.

Tips from the Experts
Deb Wells is the owner of- and realtor for LivingWell Properties, based out of Prosper, Texas. According to their website, Deb “specializes in guiding home sellers towards a successful sale.” Wells is an Accredited Home Stager with over twenty years of entrepreneurial experience. She said the main purpose of an open house is, literally, to get a lot of people through the door.

An article from the home-improvement channel, HGTV, suggested that you can’t have an open house without preparing a property description sheet to give all of those people. If you have an agent, he or she should be willing to do this. If your open house is a DIY, you can create a simple description sheet in Microsoft Word or something similar. It should highlight important selling points or need-to-know information, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, asking price, total square footage, recent maintenance or upgrades, and any special features that separate your home from the others, wrote Annalisa Burgos.

Learn to Stage Your Home
Wells, who loves to help her clients prep their homes for selling, said that, most likely, those who are attending your open house will also be stopping by multiple other homes the same day. Your house needs to stand out from the others.

“Your house needs to be looking the best and presented in its best light,” Wells added. “That’s really what staging does so that when [potential buyers] walk through the door, they are pretty impressed. We stage all of our listings. I think it helps our listings stand out from the crowd.”

Burgos also touched on this point, stating that your home “must be spotless and clutter-free.” She said you need to fix what is broken, make smart choices when upgrading, and place your furniture in a way that makes the rooms feel the most spacious.

Make Sure Everyone Knows
“Top real estate agents tap their extensive networks to target buyers and get them into their clients’ houses,” Burgos wrote. “Unless, you too, are well-connected, getting the word out about your open house can be a challenge.”

She suggested using every method of communication: phone, email, postcards, social networks (schools, churches, etc.), social media, advertise online, post flyers on public bulletin boards, and many others. Also, don’t forget to put that professionally-printed “For Sale” sign on your front lawn.

Wells also expressed the importance of getting the word out.

“You have to get lots of attention on it, lots of advertising,” Wells said. “It needs to be posted on lots of online portals, Facebook posts and ads, so people can see it and draw a lot of attention.”

She also suggested that sellers really need to have a “draw” to the open house, whether you do a giveaway at the end or serve food and drinks (why not both?). You need to give your buyers a reason to stay, look around, and engage. For realtors, especially new agents, Wells said engagement is crucial. She considered this to be a free lead generations source.

“Most people who walk through the door don’t have an agent,” Wells said. “This is the quickest way to get business.”

Follow up
Finally, Burgos recommended sending a “Thank You” email to everyone who attended your open house.

“Within the following week, call each person and ask if they have any questions about the house and if they are considering it,” She wrote. “If not, thank them and ask if they have any suggestions on how to make the house attractive to other buyers.”

There are countless ways for sellers and their agents to give a memorable and outstanding open house. With guidance, time, and a little extra care, you can sell your house – hopefully for more than the listing price.


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The Best Time of Year to Buy a House

New Year, New House
Are you a home-owner looking for a good deal on a new house? Are you a real estate agent looking to help your client find the best overall package? Now is the time to buy. According to the experts, January is the best time of year to buy a house in terms of price, mortgage and interest rates, and the number of buyers on the market compared to the number of houses for sale.

Stray Away from the Pack
Typically, spring and summer are the most popular times to buy a home. The weather is warm, the days are longer, and the kids are out of school. However, you may pay a pretty penny for buying during the more pleasant months of the year. Those who don’t mind facing the cold weather in January have the potential of buying for less, according to a study done by a September 2016 NerdWallet study.

“While winter homebuyers generally encounter a lower inventory … [the] study found that they have the advantage of less competition,” writers Daniel Tonkovich and Emily Starbuck Crone wrote in the article. “Additionally, the study showed that home prices in January are typically the lowest they’ll be all year.”

The study stated that residential listing prices were on average 8.45 percent lower during the first part of the year than in June through August.

Let’s Make A Deal
Chris Harden, owner and broker of RE/MAX Four Corners in McKinney, TX and RE/MAX Prestige in Celina, TX, said that the best time to buy a house is going to be in the early part of the year between January and April. He said the interest rates are still low during this time of year but will continue to increase as buyers get closer to the summer time. Mortgage rates will also rise as the year goes on.

Harden noted that the number of buyers on the market is also down.

“That means that once a seller gets an offer, they’re more likely to negotiate because they don’t have as many buyers putting in offers,” Harden added. He said that now is the time for buyers to save money and get a better deal!

What Does This Mean for Brokers?
Real estate agents are always busy, even during the slower months. If you’re not showing houses, you’re business planning and focusing on other administrative or marketing tactics. Harden suggests planning your business for the year ahead.

“Right now is always a great time to start planting seeds for future leads,” Harden said.

He said agents should start contacting clients now and ask, “Are you still interested in buying a house?” in order to draw in responses you may not get otherwise. Harden added that it’s better to call, text, or leave a video message to potential clients looking to buy. He said to avoid email messages.

So, whatever you find yourself focusing on this New Year, all of us at First Western/International Title truly hope you find new business and meet your goals for 2018.


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Why you Should use a Realtor to Sell Your Home

You have to spend money to make money. This is a phrase we have heard all of our lives but some of us choose to ignore this piece of advice and go the cheaper route. What if I told you that going cheap when selling your home can sometimes be a grave mistake? When it comes to selling real estate, the goal is to have the smoothest and most profitable closing possible. How do you accomplish this? Hire a reputable Realtor. These are the reasons why:

  1. A Realtor will list your home at the right price. There is a reason they do this for a living. Realtors know and understand the market. This knowledge will help you get top dollar for your property. Online home estimates are very seldom accurate. Realtors will give you peace of mind knowing your home is listed correctly.
  2. Presentation is vital to selling your home fast. A Realtor has plenty of experience with staging homes and can advise you on the best ways to declutter and prepare for showings.
  3. Realtors get your home seen by buyers quickly. They have contacts and databases that you would not have access to on your own. Solely putting a FSBO sign in your yard or creating an online ad is not enough. A Realtor wants to sell your home fast and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Remember, they have a reputation to uphold. Letting your home sit on the market for a while is the last thing a Realtor wants.
  4. Realtors know how to negotiate and steal the best deal. All too often, sellers let their emotions drive their decisions. It is best to have an outside source who is not emotionally invested. Realtors can effectively negotiate the buyer’s offer and inspection results. Having your Realtor act as a buffer between parties can also alleviate stress and tension.
  5. A Realtor will guide you every step of the way. From contracts and negotiations to inspections and closing documents, they will assist you in all the required steps for a successful closing.

Selling a house is a big financial transaction. Why not let a Real Estate professional with years of experience and knowledge guide the process? You will be more likely to close sooner, make more money, and have less stress.