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oes opening your home to complete strangers while you're not even there seem like a crazy concept?  It definitely is. Unless you're having an OPEN HOUSE! Here's a few tips to get through those somewhat chaotic days and end up with a great sale.

How long do we need to be out for?

In most cases, the open house itself lasts one or two hours. Most open houses run Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon, so plan to leave a little before the start time and come home a little after the end time (don’t worry we’ll text you). The higher traffic day will depend on your area and market and what else is happening, like, if the Vancouver Marathon is running by your property, and although this might seem like a great way to generate “walk-ins” it’s probably not going to be the type of traffic you're looking for. You're better off scheduling it on a day when serious buyers can find a place to park that isn’t 42.195 km away.

Are people going to look in my closets?

Yes, it’s normal for guests to open closets to see what sorts of storage space is available. Looking through dressers or nightstands, however, is not, unless you're selling your home fully- furnished. You may not want to pack all the stuffies in the closet and wedge the door shut but you don’t need to go overboard and colour-match your whole wardrobe either. Buyers know you hid everything that didn’t fit in your closet for the open house and they know that you knew they were coming.

Will people use my bathroom?

It’s SO awkward for us when guests ask to use the bathroom at your open house. If there is a community amenities room or something of that nature we’ll direct them elsewhere. Some sellers will tape the toilet seat down with a sign that says do not use. We will try our best to deflect bathroom requests but sometimes there is no way out, like when a mom is stranded with a toddler who needs to go potty, it’s really hard to say no. If this is going to make you uncomfortable then it’s probably best to not have an open house and we’ll run through other ways of marketing your home.

Will people open my fridge?

Yes, if appliances are included in your sale, interested buyers will definitely open your fridge…and stove and dishwasher and microwave and washer dryer. Expect buyers to look through anything that comes with your house. Buyers will be looking everywhere--inside, outside, upside-down.

What about my family’s identity and security?

You did take down all your family photos during your staging and decluttering, right? Unless you store your personal identification documents in the fridge (a place where most buyers are going to poke their head in at the open house), prospective buyers shouldn’t be able to tell much about you except that they love your decorating style.

Will other kids play with our toys?

At your open house, there will be bored kids. Just like your kids will be bored when you're visiting open houses. We won’t encourage this, and we’ll do our best to watch kids, but sometimes other kids may play with toys if you don’t hide or stow them all or send them on "vacation".

Can I watch the open house from my baby monitor?

Recording people without their knowledge isn’t okay. Actually, the government has a ton of privacy laws to back this up. So please don’t tune into the open house over your baby monitor, smart home security system or video doorbell. We promise we’ll tell you what buyers are saying and how they are reacting to your home, and we promise you will get the feedback without infringing on anyone’s privacy, unless you have Alexa - we all know she's listening to everything.

How can I help kids focus on the positives of having an open house?

Kids are not going to be the biggest fan of having an open house. Staging, cleaning and selling is not something most kids are excited about, it will be quite the job to keep them on the positive side of the moving process. Try taking your kids along for the ride when you're house hunting and get them involved in the adventure. Once they start seeing where they will end up, they might end up getting as excited as you are about making your next move!

Open Houses might not seem like the activity of choice for any given weekend, but they can be very productive for the sale of your home. The most important thing to remember? This part of your life is really intense (think "newborn" period), but immensely satisfying when that perfect buyer traipses through your door...

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