Kevin Konynenbelt was initially reluctant to host an open house when selling his Strathcona Park home. That changed when he did and the place sold within the month. Photo courtesy Kevin Konynenbelt

Open mind to open houses

Not about snooping neighbours, say experts 

Calgarian Kevin Konynenbelt listed his house for sale this past spring, just as layoffs and low oil prices were starting to make headlines.

The beautiful attached home, located on a quiet cul-de-sac in Strathcona Park, was listed at just under $500,000.

It featured an attached garage, new appliances, gleaming hardwood and a large private back yard. It was also close to excellent schools, and was mere minutes from downtown.

Yet Konynenbelt initially struggled with the prospect of holding an open house to help sell it. Letting strangers roam around his belongings and walk across his hardwood? Not a chance, he thought.

“I was totally against having an open house,” said Konynenbelt.

Not only did he dislike the idea of neighbours having a snoop inside his place, he assumed it was just a way for real estate professionals to land new clients.

But then, as doom-and-gloom headlines increased, he decided to take his REALTOR®’s advice.

They held two open houses, on back-to-back weekends. Everything went smoothly. Nothing was broken. Nothing was damaged.

Best of all, he had two offers and sold for his asking price in less than a month.

“I got more honest feedback during the open houses about what people liked and didn’t like,” said Konynenbelt.

“And both people who expressed interest, they came back to see it during one of the open houses.”

There are all kinds of ways to make open houses successful, said CREB® president Corinne Lyall.

“Advertise them. Invite people from the neighbourhood. Tell people in your own sphere of influence,”
she said.

And build some excitement around it. Tie balloons on your signs, hold a draw for a gift basket at the home, or get really creative, said Lyall.

“Some people will have an open house at the same time as a neighbourhood block party. And a lot of REALTOR®’s will hold garage sales and open houses at the same time. The homeowner looks after the garage sale and the REALTOR® can then show the home to prospective buyers.”

Be prepared a week or so in advance, she adds.

“Promote it on MLS®, in an advertisement, even just Kijiji or on your own Facebook pages and social media,” said Lyall. “Get the news out there. Have as many signs as possible, from the busiest roads back to the property.

“And invite people. Tell the neighbours. They may not be interested, but they live there for a reason. They may know friends or family who are interested in the neighbourhood.”

Lastly, walk through the home before you open the door.

“Make sure all the lights are on, that all the valuables are put away and that the house is clean,”
said Lyall.

As for Konynenbelt, he is now happily settled in a sleek new condo in Kensington. He loves exploring his new neighbourhood — the myriad coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants, as well as the proximity of the LRT.

If he ever decides to sell again, Konynenbelt says he’ll definitely consider another open house.

“It’s a relaxed opportunity for people to come in, take a look around and really see what it would be like to live in the space,” he said.

“It worked, and I got the money I wanted.”

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