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You can bet that homes placed on the real estate market before the advent of the Internet had a well-planned and executed open house. But today, the choice to do so is more of a personal decision. Hosting an open house may not be necessary, but it can bring awareness of your listing and may even help introduce home buyers to their potential new neighbors.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare your home for a fabulous open house.
Remember, First Impressions Matter
Your home’s first impression and specifically its curb appeal, can have a positive or negative impact on a buyer’s perception. Make sure the exterior is clean, cohesive, and in good condition. U.S. News & World Report contributor Teresa Mears says not to forget to add a new mailbox, house numbers and garage door. Clean the driveway, remove toys from the lawn, and make sure the flowerbeds are weed-free and full of colorful flowers.
Pay Attention To the Dog’s Belongings
We all love our pets, but the world doesn’t need to know that you have furry friends living in the home. Aside from putting away your dog’s toys, take the time to eliminate odors throughout the house. This will likely be taken care of during your deep cleaning, but more on that later. Even the self-proclaimed Dog People at Rover insist that it’s a good idea to relocate your pet while the home is being shown.
When your home is on the market, it should look like a showplace. This means staging, and staging will require you to thin your belongings and cut the clutter. Your child’s fossil and mineral collection may be the kick start of a career in geology, but it’s going to look like a pile of rocks to buyers. Eliminating knickknacks and wall art will also help accent your home’s features. Think about it this way: An empty bookshelf is an open invitation for buyers to imagine their own literary collection in a new home.
Vacuuming, dusting, and unloading the dishwasher are admirable tasks, but they just barely skim the surface of what you’ll need to do to make your home sparkle. And sparkle it must. Your best bet is to hire a cleaning service and pay a professional to shampoo the carpets. Wash the walls, wipe down the fixtures and doorknobs, clean and organize the closets, clean the inside of the microwave and oven, and do whatever it takes to render your home a neutral scent zone. If your family and friends don’t gasp at your home’s cleanliness, your work isn’t done.
Repair Issues Big and Small
One thing is certain during your open house and subsequent showings is that the people walking through your hallways will have their eagle-eye senses turned up. They will have an uncanny ability to spot every loose tile, squeaky door hinge or crinkled and painted over wallpaper line. You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by rectifying these issues beforehand.
Go Au Naturel
According to Realtor.com, “a dark house turns off potential buyers.” But you can’t just go around flipping up the light switches and think that your home is illuminated properly. The right light can turn a small room into a spacious sanctuary and draw attention to important aspects of your home’s design. For example, spotlighting on the fireplace will make that the focal point of the room. The best light is also the least expensive. If your open house is in the evening, firelight or candlelight will make rooms glow. During the day, nothing beats sunlight streaming in from an open window or skylight.
If you’re going to have an open house, do it right. Let your agent handle your home’s marketing and promotion while you get to work making sure it’s primed and ready for its next family.
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.