After the open house

Your agent is closing up shop in your home after a weekend open house. You cleared out early, as instructed, but now you've returned home and are bursting with curiosity about the day's event. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

1. How many people stopped by and who were they? If the turnout was disappointing, you may want to quiz your agent about his or her efforts to attract people to the event. Was the open house listed in the newspaper? Mentioned around the agent's office? Did any of your neighbors drop by?

2. When and how will the agent follow-up with prospective purchasers or their agents? Hot prospects who seem well-qualified should be contacted as soon as possible after the event and asked whether they're interested in seeing the home again, have any questions or concerns about the home or are planning to make an offer to purchase it.

3. What positive and negative feedback did the agent receive about the home? You'll certainly want to know what people are saying about your home, but don't take minor criticisms too personally or overreact to any one person's comments. Do pay attention to repeated criticism of one or more specific aspects of your home. You can disregard one person who dislikes your taste in wallpaper, but if six or seven people make the same comment, you might want to have that offensive pattern stripped off.

4. Did any problems or mishaps occur during the open house? Many open houses attract only a handful of visitors, but it's also entirely possible for 15 or 20 people to traipse through your home in a couple of hours. If there were any problems -- someone injured a knee on your glass -- topped coffee table or slipped and fell on the wet grass in your backyard-you'll want to know about it.

5. What's next? Now that the open house is over, what else is your agent planning to do to find a buyer for your home? Does the agent intend to continue with the existing marketing tactics or will some new plans be put into action? Would another open house be worthwhile?

TIP: Unless open houses are particularly well-attended in your neighborhood, you might want to forgo these events altogether or just hold one open house the first or second weekend after your home is listed. Some surveys suggest that open houses are more beneficial for the agent than the home seller and that only a tiny percentage of homes are sold as the direct result of an open house.

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Buy - Sell - Build in SW Washington