This time of year on Florida’s Gulf Coast brings an influx of visitors and seasonal residents who take the opportunity to view homes on the market. Perhaps that’s why well-informed real estate agents schedule their Sundays to showcase their properties to interested buyers and prospects.
Holding an open house is a wonderful way to attract attention to a home for sale, so it is important to be sure your home creates a welcoming ambiance of comfort and ease. To do so, it helps to fill the space with pleasant aromas and provide light snacks for your touring guests. While great food won’t always help close the deal, having treats and beverages can make some buyers linger longer and discover the charms of your place for sale.
Here are the top 10 tips and treats for creating a cozy, comforting open house:
1. Forget Silverware—Keep your silverware in the drawer. Open house food should be simple, bite-sized portions. This limits the fussiness of cleaning messes and loading the sink full of dishes.
2. Create Wanderers—Serve food and drinks that people can carry with them as they wander through the house, such as vegetable platters, cookies, bite-sized appetizers or mini sandwiches. Your choice of paper or regular plates will depend upon the type of house for sale. For high-priced, luxury homes, consider using regular tableware. Also, no alcohol. Open houses are business events. If people drink, they stay forever and forget why they came.
3. Spinning Wheels—Ham and pickle pinwheels are a delectable treat for your touring visitors. Guests will rave at this simple to make, delicious finger food.
4. Coffee House—Coffee is natural with house hunters. Brew a pot of rich, aromatic coffee to capture a cozy scent and provide guests with a tasty beverage.
5. Don’t Delete the Cookies—It’s no surprise that chocolate chip cookies are an open house winner. Few people can resist a fresh cookie, and the intoxicating scent captures just about anyone. To set your cookies apart, skip the store-bought roll and mix up a batch of this tried-and-true homemade version: Open House Bait.
6. Apples to Apples—A pot of warm apple cider does double duty at your open house, it will warm up guests and infuse your house with an apple-cinnamon aroma. This version includes dried fruit and pomegranate juice for a delicious twist on a classic.
7. It’s Getting Hot in Here—Here in Florida, we may not be buried in snow, but the cooler weather is still perfect for hot chocolate. Skip the powdered mix for this comforting version, which involves orange and lemon peel. Omit the brandy and limoncello for the open house so everyone who visits can enjoy a cup.
8. Hydration Station—Rather make a simple statement with your beverage? Bottled water is an easy, no-mess way to keep your guests hydrated. Guests on-the-go will appreciate the portable pick-me-up, and it eliminates the fuss of concocting a beverage that may not meet the tastes of all guests.
9. Heck of a Job!—Brownies provide an easy-to-make, easy-to-please option for finger snacks. Plus, the sweet, chocolatey aroma is enjoyable for all. These toffee brownies will be a surefire hit. Just be sure to cut and serve in bite-sized squares.
10. A Bit Cheesy—Set up a platter of international or artisan cheeses. Instead of traditional cheddar, serve a chunk of aged white cheddar. Check out new goat cheeses, herbed Gouda, a mild feta, or even brie. Add walnuts, almonds, figs, strawberries, grapes and dried apricots to the platter. Keep an assortment of crackers in a decorative basket nearby.