It’s Spring which seems like an ideal time for an open house. It may be perfect weather wherever you are in the country, but if you’d scheduled an open house in [normally sunny] Sacramento today, it might be a disaster. Overcast skies and pouring rain do not exactly set the stage for a successful open house.
You need some lead time to promote the open house, but even if you keep an eagle eye on weather predictions you can find yourself surprised by the weather. That’s why you should always plan for the possibility of bad weather during a spring showing, despite the forecast.
You want the home, both inside and out, to feel like spring no matter what the real weather is. Outside some pots of bright yellow flowers, even plastic ones, can add to curb appeal. Of course, it’s best if the home is freshly painted and the bulbs planted in time to bloom when you want them to. But your stager can do wonders, for a price of course.
Opening curtains and turning on the lights will help inside. If the house tends to be dark, add some additional lighting to brighten things up.
Bright yellows, greens, reds, etc. in fabrics can breathe fresh air into the home. Ask your seller to dig out the brightest towels, throw rugs, pillows and bed spreads they have. If staging the home is in their budget, make sure to suggest a look of spring.
Of course, the home must be as spotless as possible – including windows, floors and both baths and the kitchen. Enroll your seller and their family to make things sparkle. Encourage hiring a pro-cleaning service if at all possible. You know the drill.
When you’re talking with the seller about a Spring open house, have them point out possible problems if unexpected rain or even snow does happen. Things to look out for include:
Figure out how you will handle trouble spots before they happen. Slippery spots can often be made safer with mats outside and bath mats inside that help with traction. A-frame warning signs like you see in supermarkets can be found on the internet (http://www.signsdirect.com/Home/Wet-Floor-Safety-Items/ for example) for $6 or so each. Having three or four in your trunk can save the day when placed where they will alert folks attending the open house.
Decide what you want to do about wet shoes tracking through the house. A place where people can sit and remove their shoes can help, but not everyone will do this. Bath mats in front of all doors to the inside are probably the best way to limit tracking. Keep a few extras on hand in case they need replacing.
If getting to the house involves drips, an umbrella stand or even a suitable bucket, filled with a dozen or so colorfull umbrellas at the sidewalk side of the walkway can make prospective buyers more comfortable about coming in and looking at the home – just ask them to return the umbrella on their way out.
Think through the approaches to the home. In some places, weather may totally change the traffic patterns meaning you’ll have to be even more strategic about sign placement.
Spring open houses can be fun and productive even when the weather let’s you down. You just have to think the possibilities and solutions through ahead of time.
Do you have stories of Spring open houses you’d like to share? Tell us in comments.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.