Preparing Your Home for an Open House
Tips for Preparing Your Home for an Open House
The advent of high-tech communication and internet-based marketing has caused many realtors to question the true effectiveness of open houses. An increasing number of real estate agents dislike having to give up their Sundays to sit in someone’s house waiting for people to show up. Some believe that open houses sometimes do more harm than good, giving potential buyers the opportunity to obsess about perceived imperfections. Clients sometimes complain that open houses amount to a lot of work so that agents can expand their contact lists and find new clients. But the fact is that open houses still sell homes. One prominent California real estate agent says about one in five of her listings result in a sale at an open house. Open houses are still widely held, and the importance of carefully staging your home is still urged by realtors nationwide.
Begin with a broker preview, inviting brokers and agents to view your home so you can get expert advice on how best to prepare your house. Plan this preview far enough in advance of your open house so that you can take full advantage of the advice you receive. You’ll probably be told to move out excess furniture and get rid of any objects that won’t be included in the final sale.
If you have a dog or cat, you need to think about having him spend the day elsewhere on open house day. Buyers, even those who have animals themselves, may see pets as evidence that your property is dirty and they may need to pay to clean or repair pet wear and tear. Additionally, you’ll need to conceal evidence that there are pets on your property. Make sure all urine stains are cleaned up and repair any damage to baseboards or doors. If you have furniture that’s been scratched up by a cat, consider moving it out of sight while people are viewing your house. Have your pet boarded on open house day or leave him with a pet-sitting service. Remember, the idea is to help visitors envision your home as theirs. Pets and evidence of pet-related damage will be a distraction.
Give it a good scrubbing
This is the part that homeowners don’t like about open houses—making a thorough clean sweep of their entire house. Make sure to vacuum everywhere, clean out window sills, and get rid of cobwebs and any loose pet hair (check those corners and your furniture). If you have little dings in walls or doors, patch and repaint them. You want to give buyers a blank slate to view. Damage and messy rooms will make that difficult. If necessary, have your carpet professionally cleaned, which will help give your home that nice, high-gloss shine and take care of any unpleasant odors.
The day before
The day before your open house, be sure to open your doors and windows and give your home a good airing out. Walk through each room looking for anything you may have missed (prospective buyers don’t miss a thing), set out fresh flowers, and prepare a fact sheet about your home with basic information including asking price, square footage, number of bedrooms, and anything else that might be important to know. Afterward, post it on a website or via your realtor’s site.
Properly staged, an open house can be a tremendous asset in your efforts to market your home. An open house allows people to experience your home firsthand and imagine how they would adapt the space and make it theirs. Take the time to get it right and make a strong first impression.
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.
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