As a professional realtor, doing open houses are a must. The key in doing open houses is to make sure – as in all strategies – that you simply go over-thetop in your approach. Going over-the-top does not necessarily imply spending lots of money, yet it does imply that you do the best with what you have. Open houses are your chance to wow the prospect when they arrive at the property. There are many different tactics to use in an open house that can dramatically increase your odds of selling the home. You want to recognize that when people go shopping for homes, the open house experience is relatively the same no matter where they go.

Traditionally, the buyers get more of the same, boring experience: a simple sign-in sheet, a greeting from someone who clearly would rather be doing something else that day, and little direction from the host. If you truly are committed to differentiation in the marketplace, then you must give what I call the “Nordstrom experience.”

Have you ever been to the Nordstrom department store? The experience is very well crafted from the moment you walk through the doors to the moment you leave.

When you enter, you enter into an oasis of bliss: the cool, breezy air, the aroma of special fragrance, the piano playing, the impeccable dress of the hosts and helpers, the bags to carry your purchases. Virtually everything is an over-the-top experience.

Have you noticed Nordstrom’s prices? They can also be over-the-top, yet people are happy to pay. None of the aspects of Nordstrom’s marketing are casually planned, not even the person playing the piano. Nordstrom does not hope that the person playing the piano can magically come up with some cool notes to impress the customers; they orchestrate to ensure it.

Everything is precise, from the fragrance in the air to the right temperature in the store – not too cold, not too hot, just right.

The same will hold true in doing your over-the-top open houses. You must set the scene, create the mood, and enliven the ambience. Go there in advance and set the stage. Get out of your car and ask yourself, “What is my immediate impression?” The house should feel right. Maybe a quick lawn service and maid service can handle some of the major cleaning, and you can handle lighting, candles, cookies, music, drinks, snacks, etc. People must feel at home and see themselves in the picture of this house – help them paint that picture. If people cannot see themselves in the picture, your chances of selling are slim to none.

Ambience is one of the most overlooked aspects when doing open houses, yet it’s the ambience that creates the emotion… and people buy on emotion.

You want to make sure that everything is right when a potential buyer enters the house. Do not have the radio playing, because the radio has commercials. Those five minutes of commercials are wasted time for you and your client. Make a CD of handpicked songs. Select every song for its mood, as mood is what you are looking for. If your house seems to show well at night, promote a special evening viewing. I’m a mood fanatic, always setting the perfect mood for my guests, and my house lights very well at night with the proper dimmers and outside lighting. Once you have established the perfect open house, keep all your open materials in one place, because this is your receipt for success.

Create a flowchart of preparation tasks to do before the open house, during the open house, and after the open house. I invite you to re-look at your current staging of open houses and see where you can go from good to GREAT!!!