The Ultimate NYC Open House Guide for Sellers

by Sidney Bales

An open house allows potential buyers to view the property before making any commitment, and just like every marketing tool, it has its recommended practices. An NYC open house is different from any other in some respects, but regardless of how specific the real estate market is, a good broker will know and apply the best practices on behalf of the seller. You may be surprised by how many factors influence an open house; they can make the difference between a successful one and a complete waste of time.

NYC Open House Considerations

Open house implies that, during a certain time frame, visitors can view a real estate without an appointment. However, NYC is somewhat out of the ordinary, and both the seller and the agent need to get familiar with building security rules concerning open houses in advance. Those rules may not allow it at all, allow it only if two agents are present - one of them escorting the buyer from the building entrance to the apartment, or allow only viewing by appointment. Some buildings don't have any restrictions whatsoever. However, the vital parts of any open house are:

  • its timing and duration
  • advertising and marketing strategy
  • the state of the property
  • the uninhibited and stress-free open house experience
  • agent performance on the day of the open house

Timing and Duration

Of all the staging tips, the timing and duration of an open house come first. The greater the traffic, the higher the chance you'll quickly sign a satisfying deal. To achieve this, you need to give your buyers sufficient time to notice the listing. Post an open house ad too early, and they may forget about it, but post it too close to the open house date, and potential buyers may not have time to see it. 

Traditionally, an open house ad should be posted 6 days in advance. It should take place on Sunday, at the time the property gets the most natural light. Ideally, an open house should last for 1.5-2 hours. Buyers are more likely to attend if the visiting window is relatively narrow. 

Advertising and Marketing of an NYC Open House

Working closely with your real estate agent makes a difference. Advertising an open house on the agent's website is the next important step in the process. To stand out from the competition, you should prepare high-quality, well-lit photos of your home or make a short promotional video to guide visitors through your home. Advertising your property and open house on social media helps you reach out to prospective buyers and complements your agent's marketing efforts. As for offline marketing, your agent may place signs or newspaper ads to promote the open house.

A Clean and Empty Canvas

To assure a successful NYC open house, you should avoid certain conditions that turn off prospective buyers at any cost. Your property should be clean and personal belongings away. Make sure you declutter before your open house rather than just cleaning; with fewer things in your home, visitors will get a better perspective and sense of space. Removing personal belongings will not only keep your mind off of potential theft, but it will also allow prospective buyers to imagine their belongings in the apartment.

Seller's Presence: Yes or No?

According to brokers, buyers feel more comfortable if the seller is not present during the open house. They are more inclined to ask questions about the property if the seller is not there to oversee their every step.

Your pets should not be present either, unless you have a fish tank. It is highly likely that some visitors are allergic to cats or dogs. Furthermore, your pets might not be friendly to unknown visitors, which will make the experience unpleasant for everybody involved (not to mention the stress this can place on your pets). If you believe that even a brief relocation of your pets would be too stressful for them, at least make sure the litter box is clean and their toys are packed away.

Of all the things a skilled agent does to sell your home, when the day of the NYC open house arrives, it is time for your agent to shine. Make sure to give them the space to do what they do best - selling your home.

Open House Atmosphere

Before the open house, make sure to create a welcoming atmosphere. Consider getting fresh flowers for your table. It can be fun to have an accent piece in every room, but don't overdo it. The central piece in your master bedroom should be your bed with silky or velvety covers. In your living room, it should be either your table with bright flowers or your fireplace.  Set a tray with coffee cups and light a coffee-scented candle in your kitchen. Invite buyers in and show them a dream they can live - that's the goal of an open house.

About the Author

Sidney Bales is an architect by vocation, a blogger, researcher, and a part-time writer. If she isn't remodeling homes, she's writing about it. She cooperates with moving companies like DA Moving NYC and is always happy to share her experience.