How to Prepare for an Open House

How to Prepare for An Open HouseMany people believe that they must hold an open house in order the sell their home. But the reality is, not all homes are best suited for one. Check out Paige’s post on why, and why not, to hold an open house.

If you decide that an open house is for you, there are several things to consider before opening your doors to potential buyers, including when to host the party, how long it should be and what needs to be prepared to make it a success. Here are the small details that will make all the difference for a successful open house.

Timing: Your open house should never conflict with a holiday, community celebration or special event that could deter people from coming to view your home. A weekend is always the best and we’ve found that a two to four hour chunk of time on a Sunday afternoon is the sweet spot. If you can, check the forecast beforehand to try for a nice day because, while it cannot be controlled, weather has a drastic impact on attendance.

Set up: You definitely want your home to be in tip top shape before you open its doors for an open house. A lot of people struggle with this part because it involves putting personal belongings away or into storage. You should leave just enough furniture to show the depth of the space, but allow potential buyers to envision how they can decorate and arrange the space for themselves. This is actually helpful in the long run anyway since a good de-cluttering will help you pack before your move.

Light, especially natural light, is your best friend. A well lit room looks bigger right off the bat. Open blinds, pull back drapes, replace old light bulbs and illuminate dark corners. Make your home look bright, airy and inviting.

Lastly, spend some time focusing on the curb appeal of your house. The front of your house is the first thing people are going to see so it needs to look great. First impressions are everything. Tidy up the yard, arrange any outdoor furniture you have, tend to the garden if you have one and do some standard lawn maintenance.

Clean, clean, clean: A day or two before the open house,  go through each room with a fine toothed comb. Clean the floors, walls, furniture and surfaces. Touch up marks on the walls if you can and be sure all carpets are clean. Great showers also ensure that the beds are made with clean linens, the closets are organized and the dishes are put away. If you have kids, the toys should be cleaned up and definitely not anywhere where someone can trip over them.

Once everything is clean and organized, do a walk through and look for anything you might have missed. If you have pets, have a friend watch them during this time and during the open house. While we love our furry friends, they do make it harder to sell a home. Lastly, a lot of people will tell you that you should bake cookies or burn scented candles before the start of your open house. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but your best bet is to just make sure your home smells clean. If you thoroughly clean your space and open the windows, your home will smell fresh, which is a scent that everybody can agree upon.

Preparing for your open house isn’t all that you as the homeowner need to do. During the open house, it’s best for you to leave. You need to let your Realtor answer questions openly and freely without the risk of interjection. If you are present, stay scarce and, whatever you do, do not apologize for the appearance or condition of your home and do not try to oversell the value of your home. If you do, you run the risk of calling attention to an issue that people may not have noticed otherwise, or aggravating those who do not share similar tastes.

Hosting an open house to assist in the sale of your home may or may not be the best option for you, but if you decide to go this route, be sure to properly prepare so that you show the home in the best light.

Do you have any tips on how to prepare for an open house? Please share them below.