Open Doors: The Real Estate Version

For two days every May since 2000, nearly 600 buildings across Toronto have opened their doors to the public. These are buildings of architectural, cultural, historical, and social significance. Consider open houses to attract potential buyers as a Realtor’s® own version of the Doors Open festival.

However, you must prepare before you open the doors. You must ensure the house is presentable and ready for showing. This requires some home staging, including upkeep, preparing the sellers, and safety precautions.

Home Staging 101: Internal

Home staging is a method to improve saleability. It’s about making a home attractive to potential buyers by highlighting key features and benefits, and creating an effective living space that is appealing to buyers. In this context, home staging a property entails:

•  depersonalizing the property (i.e., removing personal items, such as family photos, and making the house as neutral as possible so potential buyers can envision themselves living in their new home

•  removing clutter because an overstuffed home seems smaller and is more difficult to navigate as potential buyers tours the premises

•  ensuring the home is spotless, especially the kitchen (including the oven!), bathroom, windows, and floors

•  eliminating odours by removing garbage, using room deodorizers, and opening the windows

•  repairing or replacing broken fixtures (light bulbs) or worn items (carpets, wallpaper), if feasible

•  refreshing the interior with a new coat of paint in a light, neutral colour

Home Staging 101: External

Home staging also entails improving the look and feel of the home’s exterior, including the landscape. In this context, home staging a property entails:

•  cleaning exterior surfaces, such as driveways and walkways

•  painting the house (if feasible)

•  refurbishing the patio by replacing outdated lighting fixtures or resetting uneven pavers

•  in spring, summer and fall – ensuring the lawn is mowed and manicured (i.e., well-maintained); planting flowers (to increase curb appeal); clearing out outgrowth/overgrown plants

•  in winter – removing snow and ice from the driveway and/or walkway

The Open House 

When the home has been staged, consider holding an open house. This prospecting technique is effective because potential buyers can view the listed property. Following are some tips on how to hold a successful open house.

Tip 1: Prepare sellers 

Advise sellers of what to expect from an open house.

Tip 2: Safety first 

Ensure valuable items, such as jewellery and credits cards are in a secure place. Secure medication and other items that are easily pocketed.

Have a second person assist you if you believe many people may attend to ensure there is someone watching the upper floor should you be occupied downstairs.

Write down the licence plate numbers of everyone who comes to the open house as they arrive.

Ask for identification from all visitors and require them to sign the registration form before permitting them to tour the property.

Tip 3: Don’t forget the pets!

If there is a pet, such as a dog, ensure the pet is safely secured or off the premises during the open house.

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Reference:

Ontario Real Estate Association and Acronamic Learning Systems Inc. (2015). The Residential Real Estate Transaction. Don Mills, Ontario: MediaLinx Printing Group.

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Open Doors: The Real Estate Version