How to Prepare Your Home For an Open House
May 14, 2016
May 14, 2016
Whether you list your home for sale with a real estate agent or “For Sale By Owner,” you’re likely to hold an open house (and often, more than one) in hopes of attracting potential buyers. However, a successful open house requires more than merely turning on lights and opening doors. Proper preparation, and a little extra effort, often makes the difference between a sale and an empty open house.
Here are some top industry tips to prepare for a successful open house:
- Clean and De-Clutter Thoroughly (Including Closets and Cabinets).Dirt and clutter make houses far less attractive to potential buyers. Your house will never get a second chance to make a sparkling first impression, so make sure it’s clean and organized when buyers come to call.
- Hire a Gardening Service. Fresh-mowed lawns and weed-free gardens make a good impression. Consider hiring a gardener while your house is on the market, to ensure great curb appeal for open houses (and for people driving by).
- Repair Obvious Damage. Leaking faucets, broken doors, and other obvious signs of damage turn potential buyers off, preventing a sale or reducing the offer price.
- Stage Your Home For Maximum Effect. “Staging”means arranging the furnishings in a home to show off the space to best advantage. Whether you use your existing belongings or hire a professional to stage your home for sale, staging can improve the appearance—and sale price—of your home.
- Remove Displays of Personal, Political, & Religious Items.When Buyers tour an open house, they try to imagine themselves in the space—calling it home, and living there. Many buyers have trouble looking past the sellers’ personal items, including religious and political displays with which the buyers may not agree. This isn’t a criticism of your personal taste or beliefs; it’s a documented reality of the home selling market.
- Vacate the Premises, & Take Your Pets.Obviously, if your house is For Sale By Owner, someone has to stay and oversee the open house, but all unnecessary family members (and all household pets) should leave for the duration of the open house.
- Secure Valuable Items in Safes or Safe Deposit Boxes. Don’t leave valuable items, like jewelry or laptop computers, on display or in easily accessible locations. Thieves do visit open houses, and even vigilant real estate agents can’t always prevent a theft. Lock valuable items in safes or remove them from the premises before the open house begins.
While these tips can’t guarantee a sale—and they aren’t the only things smart sellers do to prepare for an open house—following them can help you avoid the worst open house mistakes, and give your home the best possible chance of finding a buyer at your open house.