11 Tips for a Successful Open House

Kate Marrone Info for Home Sellers Leave a Comment

Open House Tips

Here are 11 ideas to help make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

  1. The outside must shine.  You’d be surprised at how many buyers “sell themselves” on your house on the basis of their first impression as they drive up the street.  It’s called curb appeal.  You can enhance curb appeal by making sure the lawn is mowed, the bushes are trimmed, and the flower beds are freshly mulched.  Spending a few hundred dollars on fresh paint on the front of the house can return thousands of dollars in sale price.  Especially touch up the trim.
  2. The inside must look new.  Again, paint is cheap.  Be your own worst critic.  If you think a room could be brightened with a fresh coat of paint, do it.
  3. Make cosmetic repairs.  Windows that are cracked, holes in the walls, and tiles that are chipped all send the wrong message to a potential buyer.  Things you may tend to overlook on a daily basis are the things buyers seize on.  The buyers is going to assume that if there are many flaws that can be seen, then there may be even more serious flaws that can’t be seen.
  4. Let in as much light as possible.  Open all the curtains.  Turn on all the lights in the house (even in the middle of the day) and increase the wattage in the lightbulbs of all the lamps.
  5. Get rid of the clutter.  Don’t just stash it somewhere, get it off the premises.  Remember, every room in the house has to be available for inspection and every room needs to shout to a homebuyer, “There’s plenty of room here for your stuff!”
  6. Set the dinner table as if you are getting ready for a dinner party.  Put out your best china and silverware.  Put out your best glasses.  Don’t forget the candles. In this room, and in every room, the idea is to show potential buyers how they would live in your home… that it’s a place where they’ll be happy to entertain their guests.
  7. Kitchens and bathrooms absolutely must be spotless.  Shelves and countertops must be clean and well organized.  Also, assume that people will be looking through your medicine cabinet.  If there is anything there you don’t want on public display, get rid of it.  Same for inside cabinets and drawers.
  8. Remove some of your possessions.  Again, the idea is to make your home look as roomy as possible.  If the house is packed floor to ceiling with your possessions, it makes it harder for potential buyers to see how they’d live in the house.
  9. Put your pets somewhere else.  Dogs especially are a problem and must be moved somewhere else, preferably to another part of town.  You don’t want the dog to interfere with the buyer’s ability to see the house.  But don’t ask your neighbor to keep the dog during the open house, either.  Your dog may bark from next door if it senses strangers in your home.  You don’t want potential buyers to think the neighbors have a loud, barking dog… it could be a real turnoff.
  10. Bad smells kill deals.  It is worth your money to make sure your house is clean and odor free.  Pet smells, urine on carpets, cigarette smoke, things you don’t even notice anymore will attack the senses of visitors.  Use air fresheners if need be.  The old standby is to bake cookies or bread to send an inviting aroma throughout the house.
  11. Leave.  Yes, you.  As soon as I arrive to supervise your open house, you should pack the kids in the car and go somewhere.  Go to the park, walk the dog, go somewhere, anywhere.  We want potential buyers to freely walk around your home and see everything they want to see without you looking over their shoulders.  Once you have prepared your home for the open house, leave it up to me to handle the rest!