All things real estate: How to hold a safe open house

Philip A Raices

Agents are always attending open houses with their clients as a more efficient way of being able to show properties, especially on Saturday and Sundays. Since the market has sprung back in the last two quarters of 2020, I have noticed the droves of purchasers out there visiting open houses.

I always wonder how many of them are truly buyers who are qualified, serious and ready to “pull the trigger” if they come upon the right place and how many (neighbors included) are just out there kicking tires and just making a day of perusing open houses? How about those who may have sinister intentions for those who are doing their own for-sale- by-owner open houses? So make sure to be safe and that you have at least one other person assisting you rather than just doing it on your own.

Be careful about the questions that are asked, especially if a buyer(s) wants to come back and inquires as to the best days and times when you will be home, which leaves you potentially open to possibly being robbed. The majority of buyers are honest people searching for a home, but there are those who are under tremendous financial stress and will do whatever is necessary to survive.

Open houses are critical times in selling one’s home and precautions are absolutely necessary. Do you have all the necessary paperwork, a sufficient amount of masks, gloves and shoe protective coverings? Do you have the correct Covid-19 pandemic forms to screen your clients? How about the fair housing anti-discrimination forms? Sign in sheets for all those attending? I believe it is important to dress comfortably but professionally even though many of us have dressed down during the pandemic.

You want to establish a certain impression and confident feeling to be conveyed to your buyers. Safety is numero uno when it relates to open houses as well as being with clients when showing homes. Why any homeowner would even consider doing their own open house is beyond my comprehension and one will not save any money as buyers have already subtracted the commission that you won’t be paying.

When one attends an open house does the agent first sign you in, provide you with the required forms to sign and become proactive and go through the important process to keep everyone safe and healthy or just stand there and let you walk through? Since the pandemic, at every open house I have gone to Realtors were doing a superb job of providing the legally required things that are supposed to be done. I am hoping that homeowners are doing the same thing and if not get advice as to what they should be doing to keep everyone safe and healthy.

The virus is still with us and may just be with us a while longer than expected until the majority are vaccinated and one will never know who is or is not asymptomatic, potentially passing it on to another person or who had Covid previously unless questions are asked and answered on the Covid form. It may be a good idea to have an electronic thermometer to check everyone to be sure.

When you go through the open house has it been prepared properly, de-cluttered, organized and cleaned? And how is the paint? A simple thing of having beds made will provide a better impression than those that aren’t. Do you notice anyone just sitting down and allowing you, if without an agent, to just go browse around the home? Today it may be necessary to have assistance because of the multitude of buyers who are going out to see homes.

Also, some may believe based on the super low inventory (less than a month in some areas) that much less effort is needed to secure a purchaser. This may be somewhat true, but the preparations that are required for the seller especially if you are bold enough to sell on your own must make the home stand out like a shiny penny. Play some melodic music and add some freshly baked cookies, cinnamon in some boiling water or potpourri to provide a pleasant aroma throughout the home. Addressing the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch will help when doing open houses.

While this market continues to zoom ahead and prices increase, one should never just assume that your home will sell without any effort. Make it look the best it can and be cognizant as to how the buyers will react when coming to your open house.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com Just email or snail mail (regular mail) him with your ideas or suggestions on future columns with your name, email and cell number and he will call or email you back.

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