Take Your Open House to the Next Level

Up the ante on the traditional way of showcasing your home.
Young Couples in Kitchen at Dinner Party

Young Couples in Kitchen at Dinner Party

Guests in Kitchen at Dinner Party

Photo by: Fuse


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A glass of wine, some delicious hors d' oeuvres and live music. This sounds like a great way to spend an evening -- and sell your home.

With standard open houses not doing the trick in today’s sluggish market, some sellers are opting for “extreme open houses,” with catered refreshments, prizes and entertainment. By throwing these elaborate shindigs, sellers hope guests will spread the word and generate buzz about their properties.

The extreme open house lets buyers see the home in a different light than a traditional open house does. Rather than a cold, uninhabited space, buyers get to see a real home that’s brimming with life and energy. This helps them picture living in your home themselves.

The open house is also a good opportunity to show off your home’s best features. If your home has a gourmet kitchen, hire a chef to cook for the guests. This draws attention to a big selling point. Plus, free food never turns anyone away. If you have a fabulous deck, show it off with an outdoor barbecue.

Even inviting people who aren't in the market to buy a home can be beneficial. People like to talk, so even though one guest isn’t interested in buying, they may tell a friend who is.

Extreme open houses are expensive and come with some negatives (after-party clean-up, possible property damage from lots of lively guests). But many sellers and agents think they’re worth it, especially for slow movers.

Do It Yourself

Make a list of your well-connected friends and acquaintances and mail them invitations. Keep it manageable. You don't want an open house of wedding-sized proportions. Have flyers out with your contact information and relevant facts about your home, such as asking price, square footage, etc.

While the temptation to attend your extreme open house will be strong, you should consider having your real estate agent or a friend handle the hosting duties. As with any open house, buyers will feel more comfortable exploring and discussing your home if you are MIA.

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