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Preparing For A Open House

It’s come time to sell your home and you’ve decided to let the public take a look at it in an Open House.  It’s much like having a realtor show the house to a single person or family, but it gives more potential buyers the opportunity to see your home all at once.  Before having an Open House there are some guidelines you should follow to maximize your opportunity to sell your home and give it the most value to these potential buyers who are seeing it for the first time.  A successful Open House can be made possible if you follow these fourteen simple steps to preparing your home to be seen.

  1. Clean your home thoroughly

    This is best done by hiring a professional cleaning service, but if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease, you can clean your home on your own.  The cleaning must be thorough though.  Even the smallest spots of dirt or stain in the carpet can be enough for potential buyers to devalue the home in their mind.  You want to make the home look like it has never been lived in and as brand new as possible.

  1. Have “curb appeal”

    Curb appeal means making your home look immaculate on the outside.  Be sure and freshly mow the lawn the day before your Open House.  Pressure wash your driveways and sidewalks.  Clean the outside walls of your home neatly and thoroughly.  Wash your windows and give them a Windex cleaning.  It also helps to plant colorful flowers around the walkway and front door of your home.  If you have lots of overhanging trees over your roof, be sure that you clean leaves off of the roof or pressure wash any mildew or stains on top.  Also, consider watering the grass for a half hour before the Open House.  It will make your lawn sparkle.

  1. Have drinks and snacks available

    You want the Open House guests to feel as welcome to the home as possible.  Having snacks and refreshments will make them feel right at home in what you are hoping will be their new home.  You always want your prospective buyers to be in the best mood when they are looking at your house to give the best lasting impression of their experience in your house.  Giving them food and drinks will make sure no one has an unpleasant experience because all they could think about was getting out of there because they are hungry or thirsty.

  1. Lock up your expensive belongings

    The real estate agent hosting your open house will certainly do his or her best to keep guests accounted for but the agent cannot take responsibility of knowing where everyone is at all times in your home.  If expensive jewelry or other items are in view it could be tempting for one of the Open House guests to swipe these belongings if no one is watching. 

  1. Turn on the lights in your home

    You should always have your Open House during the day so all aspects of the house are easily viewed by your potential buyers, but always have the inside lights on.  Having a little incandescent light will give your home more warmth and it also helps potential buyers see everything even better on the inside.  Even during the daytime some rooms can be too dark to get a good look.

  1. If you have pets, send them elsewhere

    It is in your best interest to not allow potential buyers to see or suspect that pets have lived in your home.  The last thing you want to do is have your pets present when people are looking at buying your home.  Just as if you were looking at buying a car, you wouldn’t want to see a dog jumping in the back seat, your prospective buyers don’t want to see animals running around in a home they are thinking about buying.  Have a friend watch your pets if you cannot. 

  1. Add color to your home

    Having a vase of fresh or silk flowers that have vibrant colors will give rooms a cheerful tone.  Using a colorful blanket or rug can help jazz up dull or boring looking rooms.

  1. Give bathrooms a touch of luxury

    You’ll want to stow away old toothbrushes, towels, and cleaning utensils and perhaps put up a vibrant shower curtain and buy a new bathroom rug that matches.  Hang new, colorful towels on the towel hangers and place stylish hand soaps in the soap dishes.  You want your bathroom to have the feel of a fancy hotel.  Your guests should feel pampered when they enter the bathroom.

  1. Give your home a pleasant scent

    A big bag of potpourri in a bowl should work nicely in a couple rooms to give buyers a nice aroma to walk in to.  The mind’s greatest sense of memory comes from smell and if potential buyers are looking at your home, they’ll subconsciously relate their experience of looking at your home with the pleasantness of the wonderful aroma in your home.  Another great idea for giving your home a welcoming smell is to have fresh baked goods in your home.  Try to have the goods baked just before the Open House begins so the smell is at its strongest.  Above all, make sure any pet odors or cigarette smell is not present when people enter the home.

  1. Give buyers a way to envision themselves living in your home

    Set your dining room table with elegant dishes and silverware as if a hearty dinner is about to be served.  Neatly lie a few interesting magazines on the coffee table.  You may even want to place and setup a chess game in the recreation room or other table.  These types of things will give the buyer a sense that this is a home and not just a house for sale.  They may look at the dining room all set up and envision having their family over for Thanksgiving in this new home that they’ve purchased.

  1. Make the rooms feel more spacious

    If you have a plethora of furniture cluttering your living room or other obstacles throughout the home, consider removing large pieces to give the house a spacious feel.  With a lot of clutter, you’re reducing the effect of how much square footage the house has to offer in the eyes of the buyers.  Also, clean all countertops of unneeded clutter to give them more conceivable spaciousness.

  1. Put logs in the fireplace

    Not all homes have a fireplace but if yours does, put logs in to fill the dead space.  This not only will fill the dead space but will have that effect discussed earlier where you give the potential buyers an opportunity to envision themselves living in the home.  They will see the logs in the fireplace and envision having warm and cozy fireplace fires of their own in your home.

  1. Depersonalize the rooms

    Potential buyers want to be able to imagine what they’re personal items would look like in your home so removing family photos, personal mementos, or unique and personalized artwork is a must.  You want your home to look nice but not customized to your tastes.  The idea is for it to look presentable but also somewhat generic for the potential buyers to get a vision of what their personal touches will look like in the home.

  1. Don’t be present

    You have an agent that can answer all of the questions that potential buyers may have about your home.  If you don’t feel like the agent is knowledgeable enough to answer every detailed question, give your agent a list of items that can help them get answers for your potential buyers.  Most importantly though, do not be present during the Open House.  It can be awkward when people are looking through your closets and personal areas and are expressing their opinions about your home with you present.

If you follow these fourteen steps to preparing for an Open House, you’ll be off to a great start in getting your home sold.  You want your home to be as marketable and convey the most value as it possibly can and following these steps will help you reach that goal and ultimately, the goal of selling your home for the price you want.

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