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Allison Witkowski

Sales Associate

My Blog



Thinking of Selling? Open Houses Can be a Good Promotional Tool

Make sure to spruce up the interior and grounds to provide 'curb appeal'

Home sellers want to know: will an open house bring out buyers?

With the explosion of Web listings, most buyers have already "walked through" your house by viewing your listing on the many sites a Realtor can use to showcase your home. A savvy Realtor has your house listed on 20 or more websites with features such as a virtual tour, flip videos, slideshows, pictures, aerial views and snapshot views of your house via satellite.

Most buyers therefore have a good idea of the layout and condition of your home; it it appeals to them, they will schedule a personal showing with a Realtor.

When to Have an Open House?

An open house makes sense when a new listing comes on the market for the first time or if you are having a price reduction or a special incentive for the buyer. The reason to have an open house is so you can get feedback about what is and is not the best features of a property. The buyers will give that feedback to the agent and will include their thoughts on asking price. A good agent is listening to the remarks of the buyers and asking questions.

Having a Successful Open House

In order to have a successful open house, a seller needs to make sure the house looks the best it can, which means de-cluttering the home and staging the rooms that need definition so a buyer can "see" their furniture in the house. 

Also remember curb appeal is key, so make sure the landscaping is done, the gutters are clean and any broken windows are repaired. Don't forget about landscaping: The condition of the outside of your home is just as important as the inside! If you can, add some flowers to the window boxes or some plantings to give the house curb appeal.

Fix any potholes in the driveway, add shutters and generally spruce up the property outside.

Remember, when the pumpkins are half-eaten and the mums look a little droopy it's time to refresh!

How Often Should I Have an Open House?

Too many open houses week after week without a reduction in price or some other buyer incentive is a waste of time. It may make buyers feel the seller is more desperate to sell and the listing is tired; they just may skip over it.

When is an Open House Not a Good Idea?

An open house is tougher in an investment property, such as a two-family house. It will be harder to get the existing tenants to cooperate with an open house, and they may be a little hostile and leave the premises unattractive to a prospective buyer.

A gated community is also tough for an open house, as many associations frown on open house signs on the property, and you are depending on the gate house to make sure the buyers find your property without signage. If a house is in total disrepair, which may occur in a bank-owned, foreclosure, or short sale property, there may not be any electricity or heat, so it will not make any sense to hold an open house.

In general, take the advice of your listing agent: They are the professionals and can tell you how open houses are doing in your neighborhood.

Rentals on the Rise in Bergen County!


Bergen County and other parts of North Jersey forecast rise in house rents in the months to come. As per annual apartment report estimates, rents in North Jersey will rise by 3 percent while vacancy rates will remain below four percent. Though rent control laws are in place the figures are still quite high and growing for low and middle-income groups in the region.

As the housing industry throughout the nation suffers, the picture is a little brighter for rented houses in North Jersey mainly because of its proximity to the busy area of Manhattan. Demand for apartments has decreased and many prefer to continue staying in rental apartments.

The main reason for this could be accorded to decreasing available land and increasing housing projects coming up. A few upcoming housing projects include a $6.5 million project in Ridgewood and $11.5 million project in Hackensack. Two large rental projects in Englewood are also coming up at the Towne center in downtown area and Brownstones. Both are luxury housing projects and rents begin at approximately $1700.

Rental apartments show a growing trend and a rising figure with statistics showing that in Bergen County itself, one-third residents live in rented apartments. Percentages of rented apartments in Passaic county, Morris county and Hudson county stands at 47%, 22% and 6.6% respectively.

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