Smart ways to Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Selling

Smart Ways to Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Potential buyers want to walk inside a house, exploring all its features before they decide to buy it. While you can wait for individual would-be buyers to come by and take a look at your home, there’s another way to get your house seen: host an open house. Open houses allow multiple potential buyers to see your home in one day. After all, the more people that see your home, the greater chance you’ll sell it. But it’s important to carefully prepare your house for the big day.  You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Here are some tips to help you get your house ready.

 

Declutter

 

When people enter your home during an open house, they don’t want to see photographs of your kids clustered on the fireplace mantle. They don’t want to see your collection of snowglobes from all 50 states perched on a bookshelf. And they definitely don’t want to see rooms crammed with furniture. Would-be buyers want to imagine their precious belongings in your home. And having too much of your belongings in the house makes it difficult to envision themselves living there. US News reports that your house will seem more attractive if you remove family pictures and knickknacks that take up too much space.

 

How can you do this? Start by packing unneeded items away in moving boxes and carting them to a storage unit. Do the same thing for any furniture that you don’t need at the moment. The result will be rooms that seem more open, spacious and welcoming.

 

Keep it clean

 

Do you really want your home to make a great first impression? Clean it from top to bottom. Vacuum and shampoo the carpets. Scrub the bathroom and kitchen. Mop the floors. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or dust on the coffee tables. Prospective buyers look for any little thing to give them a reason not to choose your home. Make sure your home is in pristine condition before any would-be buyers enter the house. Consider hiring a cleaning service to give your house the white-glove treatment. The extra time you take to make sure your home is spic and span can mean the difference between selling your home and having multiple people pass through your open house with no offers on the table.

 

The nose knows

 

We are accustomed to the way our houses smell. But people who don’t live with you can be sensitive to the unique scents that drift inside your home. To make sure your house doesn’t have an offensive odor, ask a family member, close friend or your realtor to tell you if your house has an unpleasant smell. You don’t want would-be buyers to enter your home and be turned off by the smell of pets or other bad odors. Again, make sure you thoroughly clean carpets and bathe your pets regularly. Do you have a cat? Clean the litter box.  Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink and take out the trash.

 

Give your pets a vacation

 

As you are trying to sell your home, pets should be undetectable. If there are obvious signs that a pet lives in your house, it could discourage buyers from making an offer or cause them to make a lower offer. Potential buyers don’t want to check out a house while an aggressive cat or dog trails them through the rooms. Other people are allergic to pets and start sneezing as soon as there within a few feet of them.

 

It’s best to take Fido, Fluffy and any other pets away from the home during the open house. You may even wish to give your pets a short-term vacation. Send them to a boarding kennel for a few days or ask a family or friend to pet sit them for a short period of time. After you get the pets out of your house, hide their toys, food and water bowls, crates and bedding.

 

Selling a home is an exciting but stressful time. If you and your realtor decide to host an open house, don’t neglect these simple but effective methods to make your home look and smell its best. By taking the time to make your home welcoming and attractive, you will eventually find the perfect buyer who will love your house and pay top dollar to make it their own.

 

Author

 

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.