When you’re putting your home on the market, having an open house is a great way to squeeze in multiple viewings at once. You already know that you need to keep your house clean, but there are a few things you may overlook in your excitement. Here are eight ways to prep your house for an afternoon influx of potential new owners.
1. Clear the clutter…all of it. Cleaning and clearing clutter are two distinctly different things. You can clean your knick-knacks and bric-a-brac all you want, but they are still distracting and should be removed from sight. Don’t forget your closet, under the beds, and garage.
2. De-personalize. Yes, you really do need to take pictures off the wall and get rid of your comic book-inspired hobby room. ABC News points out that your home should be showroom-ready 100 percent of the time. The goal is for your open house attendees to picture themselves settling in.
3. Clean the pool. If you have luxury amenities, such as a pool, sauna, or hot tub, make sure they are in tip-top shape before the open house. While your open house attendees likely won’t take advantage of your home’s recreational opportunities, ostensibly, the pool is part of the reason they’re considering moving in. Invest in updated equipment and a pristine pool cover and make sure the liner is clean and stain-free.
4. Little touches make a big impact. If your attendees are comfortable, they will be more likely to imagine themselves living in your home. Small touches, such as soft drinks, cookies, and appetizers, will encourage people to stay longer. Be selective in your food and beverage offerings and avoid anything with garlic, onions, or offensive-smelling cheeses.
5. Make it inviting. The ambience of each room will be etched into your potential buyers’ memories. Make each space inviting by using color, texture, and patterns to create visual interest. ZDesign At Home also recommends adding fresh flowers throughout the house. Keep things at a comfortable temperature and pull back the curtains to allow natural light to show off your home’s best features.
6. Keep curb appeal in mind. You can advertise your open house for weeks in advance and plan for dozens of bodies to come through the doors. But an unkempt yard and poorly designed landscape may send people back down the driveway. Take a few minutes to trim the hedges, clear toys, and pressure wash the walkway. Your home’s first impression should leave visitors curious about the inside, not concerned about cleanliness on the outside.
7. Highlight storage space. Your closets, cabinets, and bookshelves should be mostly empty. While you can’t do anything to add storage space to your home at this point, you can make what you have appear larger by underutilizing space. Avoid the temptation to stuff the clutter from the house in the closets.
8. Walk away. The single most important thing you can do on open house day is to leave. Your agent may not want to hurt your feelings, but your presence might make potential buyers uncomfortable. Even if no one knows that it’s your home, your agent may be less likely to encourage open conversations if you’re within earshot. Also, take your dog, cat, ferret, guinea pig, or any other pets with you. Not only do visitors pose a risk to your pet, your pet may pose a threat to them.
Speak with your Realtor to determine the best day and time to schedule your open house. It’s likely it will be on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in order to take advantage of home buyers concentrating their searches on the weekends. If you take the time to do a few of these little things during the week, your home will be more than ready for a revolving door of potential buyers.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.