September is Open House Month
05 Sep, 2014
By Megan McCarthy
This week, along with children bundling back to school, you may be noticing all the Open House signs again in the neighborhood. September marks an active secondary real estate market in our region, and we’re off with a bang.
Open houses are valuable marketing tools. They showcase your home and welcome in prospective buyers. There are two kinds of Open Houses, one for brokers and one for the public. Let’s discuss:
When your home first goes on the market, your agent will conduct a Broker’s Open House (BOH). In Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Rye Neck these occur in the morning on Wednesdays and Fridays, and in New Rochelle on Thursdays. Who attends the Broker’s Open Houses? Agents doing their job by educating themselves on all homes on the market. Agents searching for a home with specific buyer clients in mind (will yours be “the one?”). The BOH is in fact one of the first vital steps towards a successful sale. It’s your home’s introduction to the real estate community.
If your home was on the BOH, your agent should inform you of any feedback she receives. Sometimes, these insights can prove helpful and you might tweak a thing or two (“The house was nice, but the purple bedroom was awful.”) If your home was overpriced, the first rumblings to that effect might now be heard.
During the busy Spring and September real estate markets, dozens of homes may be offered at once. Agents receive the touring agenda in the morning, and plan their routes geographically to see as much as possible. Savvy agents take notes to keep it all in mind. So how can you help make your home stand out from the crowd? Stay tuned.
First, about Public Open Houses. In our area, they are usually held on Sunday afternoons. Open House signs — with colored balloons whipping in the air — attract the attention of families out for a Sunday drive, and direct prospective buyers to your home. Who else comes to a Public Open House? Neighbors scouting for a home for their out-of-town friend or relative, agents who missed the BOH, potential buyers whose agents sent them to see your home, Potential Buyers Not Working with an Agent who have spotted your home on an ad, usually online. Your agent will have a sign-in sheet, and again, feedback can prove valuable. My agency, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is holding a special Public Open House day on Sunday, September 7. Check it out: It’s a convenient way to see many homes at once.
So now, what can you do to make your home stand out from the crowd?
- Price your home accurately. Don’t fish for a higher price ‘to see what happens.’ Real estate isn’t magic.
- Present your home attractively, uncluttered and clean as possible, so that buyers can imagine themselves living there.
- Leave your home during the Open House, and take your pets with you. Again, so that buyers can imagine themselves living there.
- Make your home welcoming: if it’s hot, crank the a/c, don’t saute onions the night before, turn on the cheerful lights, hide the dirty laundry (you don’t want buyers thinking they actually have to work in your home!), arrange mini-stagings of relaxed family life (the Lego castle your daughter built, the book on your nightstand, the unfinished chess game by the fireplace even though you’ve never played chess). For more ideas, check out my article in the June Patch: “First Impressions Count.”
Finally, make the Open Houses work for you. Ask your agent how many people attended. Ask for agent and public feedback. If it was a busy BOH day, he should quickly hold another one to give all agents a chance to see your home. If your home has a price reduction, your agent should then have another BOH to alert other agents.
Market Snapshot: 10538 Single Family Homes, July – August
Nineteen homes came on the market during this period, five of them quickly going to contract. 3 Birch Lane, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, was the summer bargain at $650,000; it went to contract in less than a month. On the opposite end of the scale, 527 Weaver Street (6 bedrooms, 6 baths) was listed at $2,499,000.
Eighteen houses went to contract, with 9 Locust Terrace (2 bedrooms, 2 baths) the most affordable, listed at $350,000. At the other end of the spectrum is a Manor classic, 18 Walnut Avenue, with 6 bedrooms and 7 baths, listed at $5,500,000.
Reflecting activity from the busy Spring season, 68 houses closed during this period. 5 Sheldrake Avenue, originally listed at $479,000, sold for $390,000 after 166 days on the market. Topping the charts was 1 Coventry Court, with 13,020 square feet of living space, listed for 148 days at $5,600,000 and selling for $4,950,000.
Megan McCarthy is a licensed real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Larchmont, NY, and may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell: 914-309-4648.