Seller’s Guide: Taking Home Tours During Off-Hours
Most buyers begin their search for a new home online. Internet listings provide invaluable information about a home’s layout, design, amenities — even the character of the surrounding neighborhood. The unquestionable stars of the show, however, are your listing photos.
Buyers may want to experience a virtual home tour before they commit to actually visiting a property for further inspection. But, no matter how comprehensive an online listing may be, nothing matches the experience of seeing a home for yourself. So, if you’re selling your home on your own, here are some of the best ways to manage home tours during off-hours.
What Is A Home Tour?
There are many different ways to show your home. You can host an open house or offer a lockbox tour that allows the buyer to see the house with their own agent. Another option is to conduct a private home tour, one of the more popular methods for showing your home.
If you’re working with a real estate agent, they will set up these home tours for you. But if you’re selling your home without an agent, you will coordinate these tours with each prospective buyer.
Benefits Of A Home Tour
Buyers prefer to tour a home so they can get a firsthand idea of what it’s like. The listing pictures are a good start, but nothing will take the place of setting foot in the home. Potential buyers will get a feel for the layout and the condition of the home – not to mention the neighborhood.
While you can do this during an open house, doing a home tour will allow the buyer the additional time to take everything in without the pressure of other buyers.
Why Doing Home Tours During Off-Hours Should be High On Your To-Do List
If you’re selling your house, home tours are probably high on your to-do list. While most sellers will hold open houses during the weekend, you may want to consider hosting tours during off-hours to attract more buyers. Doing so will provide your buyers with a different view of their potential purchase. How different, though? More importantly, why does it matter? Consider these four reasons to host home tours during off-hours.
Buyers May Get A Better Feel For Traffic In The Area
Traffic is a major quality-of-life issue. A home tour on a Sunday afternoon is not going to give a buyer an accurate idea of how busy the residential streets are around the property, especially during peak hours. Not to mention the traffic they can expect on their commute to and from what might be their new address.
Buyers may want to request a visit during the week, perhaps around 6 p.m. This will allow them to glean a realistic idea of what they will be facing when coming home from work or running evening errands.
Experience Location In A Different Way
Taking a home tour on a weekday can reveal what “location” really means. How well-cared-for are the rest of the homes on the block? What makes the neighborhood stand out? What’s a typical morning like? What happens after dark? Buyers should take note of any safety concerns that arise during a visit. Even if a buyer doesn’t schedule a formal home tour, they can always scout out a home’s surroundings.
See Light In Different Hours
It might seem negligible, but how light enters and moves through a house is a huge component in making a house feel like home. Knowing the orientation of the home you’re interested in can make a huge difference. Which rooms face east, west, north, and south, and how does that affect how comfortable you feel in different areas of the house? Does the morning sun shine directly onto your pillow? What if the glare from a corner streetlight means you can never open the curtains in the living room? These might not seem to be deal-breakers, but they can be the worst kind of surprises — unpleasant.
As a seller, this is the perfect opportunity to emphasize how the light impacts the feel of your home. For example, if you have amazing sunset views from the living room, it may be wise to host an off-hours showing during dusk. Point out how beautiful the sunset view is in the living room. This will help your buyers envision their evenings in your home.
Have a More Personal Experience
A crowded open house is an overwhelming affair. All of the coming and going may interfere with a buyer’s ability to take pictures and notes. Scheduling a home tour during off-hours will give a buyer the chance to have a more relaxed, intimate experience in the home. This is the buyers’ chance to ask questions and perhaps spend extra time in each room.
This also gives a seller the opportunity to highlight the home’s features that make it stand out. As a seller, plan how your potential buyer tours your home so they can really get an idea of why it’s so special.
How To Make Your Home Standout During A Home Tour
Now that you understand why it’s important to host home tours during off-hours, you may be wondering how you can make your home stand out during this time. Here are a few suggestions to grab a buyer’s attention.
Make Sure The Exterior And Interior Of Your Home Are Presentable
When you host an open house, you may spend hours preparing. But it’s easy to let things slide when you’re hosting an off-hours tour. To assure you’re adequately preparing, make sure the exterior and interior of your home are presentable. Your goal should be to make your home look the way it would if you were hosting a large open house.
For example, if you’re selling your home in the winter, be sure to clean your driveway and all of the walkways right before your buyers arrive. You wouldn’t want any of your potential buyers to get hurt due to an accidental fall.
Offer A Warm Welcome
Make all of your buyers feel welcome the moment they arrive at your home. In addition to lighting a candle or baking cookies, there are few other ways to make your space feel inviting. For example, you could extend the courtesy of allowing your guests to keep their shoes on. This simple gesture may help to increase their comfort in your home.
Also, you will want to give them space to look at your house without hovering over them. Let them walk the halls and have conversations without your presence. If you choose to follow them around, it may make them feel uncomfortable.
Check The Thermostat
If you’re showing your home early in the morning or after work, you may forget to make sure the thermostat is on a comfortable setting. Letting your home get too cool or too warm may also make your buyers feel uncomfortable. So, make sure the temperature of your home is at a comfortable level prior to your showing.
Pay Attention To Lighting
Buyers are there to see every inch of your home. But, it’s impossible to do this if you do not have adequate lighting. So, before they arrive, go through every room of your home and turn the lights on. Also, make sure all of the blinds are drawn to allow natural light in.
However, if you have something you would prefer your buyers to avoid seeing, like your neighbor’s ugly fence, you can leave blinds slightly drawn to avoid drawing attention to it.
Create An Inviting Atmosphere
Does your home have a nice fireplace? Or perhaps, your home has a beautiful entryway fountain that sparkles in the sun. Try using these features to create an inviting atmosphere. If you do have a fireplace, turn it on to add warmth and a light glow to the room.
Another way to make your home feel inviting is to have soft music playing in the background. Music can change anyone’s mood, so be sure to pick something light yet uplifting.
Additionally, try providing a few snacks. If you’re selling your home in the winter months, you may want to offer hot cocoa and marshmallows. Providing some creature comforts will help your buyers feel welcome and at home.
The Bottom Line
Showing your home is one of the best ways to pique a buyer’s interest. While hosting an open house is a great way to get multiple buyers into your home, an off-hours showing provides a more personal experience. Home tours during off-hours allow potential buyers to experience the home on their own without other distractions. They can ask questions and see your home in a different light.
So, if you’re selling your home without an agent, be sure to offer to host off-hour showings. For more information, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner.
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