Six Steps to Hosting a DIY Open House

Tips for marketing and showing your home for sale when going FSBO

Assuming you've already decided to sell your house yourself -- or go FSBO -- rather than hire a real estate agent, keep in mind that preparing, marketing and showing your home take time and research.

Many real estate agents question an open house's effectiveness to actually close a sale and rather use the event to meet potential clients. "Less than 4 percent of home sales have been through an open house," says Chris Edwards, a Realtor in North Carolina.

But for FSBOs who may not have the time or flexibility to take weekday appointments and host private tours, the open house may be the only way to get potential buyers through the door. That said, you don't want to sit around on a Sunday afternoon waiting for people to come by.

Follow these six steps to hosting your own successful open house:

Step 1: Check out the competition
Visit other open houses in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. See how other homes are staged and listen to what the real estate agents say. Make note of the features they point out -- they know what today's buyers are looking for. As you walk through, try to listen to buyers' reactions.

Open houses are traditionally held on non-holiday Sundays. Find out when nearby homes are holding open houses, so you can benefit from the foot traffic.

Step 2: Prepare a property description sheet
Real estate agents hand out property description sheets to everyone who attends the open house. You should to. Collect the following information:

  • Property address
  • Asking price
  • Your contact info (including a URL to your Web site or online ad)
  • Brief description of the property
  • Exterior and interior photos
  • Maintenance or HOA fees (if applicable)
  • Real estate taxes
  • Total square footage
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Appliances that are included
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Any special features (fireplace, finished basement, etc.)
  • Recent upgrades you made
  • Neighborhood amenities (shopping, recreation, freeways, public transportation, etc.)
  • School information

You can use programs like Microsoft Word to design a simple and clear flyer. Remember to have plenty of copies available.

The property description sheet will come in handy when creating your listing and online ads.

Zillow Real Estate Search

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