Getting Ready for Your First Open House
Your real estate agent may prepare the fact sheets, post advertisements, and run the open house, but if you don’t do your part, it won’t be a success. It’s up to sellers to get their homes ready for the open house. If you’re preparing to host your first open house, this is what you need to do to make it a success.
Make Your House Sparkle
The most important thing to do before an open house is make your home impeccably clean. A pre-open house cleaning should go beyond your normal cleaning to scrub, polish, and dust every corner of the house. If you don’t have the time or energy for a deep cleaning, a one-time cleaning service is an affordable solution. Since damaged walls and floors make a clean house look unkempt, this is also the time to repaint walls and repair or replace damaged flooring.
Step Up Your Curb Appeal
Some of your open house attendees will be people who noticed the event while passing by. But if your home doesn’t look inviting from the outside, they aren’t likely to step in for a closer look. Follow the DIY Network’s tips for adding curb appeal on even the smallest of budgets, like repainting the front door and trim, installing a new mailbox and house numbers, replacing exterior light fixtures, and adding container plants. Of course, you should also make sure your lawn looks its best by keeping it manicured and repairing bare patches in advance.
Pare Down Belongings
No matter how well-organized it is, if you have too much stuff, your house is going to look cramped and cluttered. Furnishing your home with just the basics, on the other hand, gives buyers the impression that there’s plenty of space for their stuff. It also makes for better pictures and easier navigation while prospective buyers tour the home. Declutter and pack before the open house rather than waiting until moving day. Address not only small clutter but also excess furniture. If you don’t want to get rid of it, rent a storage facility until you can move everything to the new house.
Make Major Repairs
Don’t make your agent explain to prospective buyers how you plan to have the sagging gutters or the overworked HVAC system replaced before selling. If your house needs significant repairs before it’s sold, handle them before hosting an open house.
Make Minor Repairs
Some issues are minor but give the impression that your home hasn’t been cared for. You should fix minor issues that can turn off buyers. While you may think something as insignificant as a missing light bulb wouldn’t dissuade buyers, it could be enough to sway the decision when it’s a choice between two comparable homes.
Stage a Scene
Now that you’ve made your home into a blank slate, it’s time for the final details of home staging. A few well-placed throw pillows, place settings on the dining table, plush bathroom linens, and eye-catching decorations can turn a basic house into a dream home. Remember that staging isn’t about decorating to your tastes. Rather, the goal is to highlight your home’s best features and inspire prospective buyers to imagine living there. For tips on how to stage your home, see these staging suggestions from Elle Decor.
When it comes to preparing for an open house, cleaning and tidying isn’t enough. If you want your open house to be worth your while, your house needs to look its very best for the event. Follow these tips and ask your agent for advice on the best way to stage for your local market.
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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