10 Tips to Prepare for an Open House

First impressions are everything. And you only have one.

An open house is your first opportunity to showcase the features of your home, drum up excitement, and encourage offers. Your home should look its best, from the curb to main living areas to storage spaces. Follow these 10 tips to make a great first impression.

  1. Minor Renovations and Repairs – Potential buyers are paying attention to the small details, and will notice when something doesn’t work. If you know you have a leaky faucet or a squeaky door hinge, take time to repair it. You can also rejuvenate a room with simple updates like fresh paint and polished floors.
  2. Curb Appeal – The way your home looks from the street matters. Mow the lawn, trim trees and shrubs, weed garden beds, and power wash the front walkway. If you have a front porch, make sure to sweep and clear it of clutter and personal items.
  3. Deep Clean – Cleaning your home, even the hard to reach places, is essential. You may want to consider hiring a cleaning service before the open house. This will also make it easier to keep tidy in between showings.
  4. Declutter and Depersonalize – People want to envision themselves living in your home, which is difficult to do with your photos and memorabilia on display. Remove all personal items and keep it to the basics: essential furniture, appliances, and linens.
  5. Organize Storage Spaces – Storage can be a big factor for homebuyers. Go through each closet, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and even your junk drawer (we all have one!). Get rid of anything you no longer need and organize the rest so storage areas look clean and spacious.
  6. Put Valuables Away – Protect your most important items by putting them in a safe place or locking them up.
  7. Little Things Matter – Believe it or not, we have shown up to open houses with unmade beds. When it comes to first impressions, even little things can turn off picky home buyers. Check all light bulbs to make sure they are working, empty the dishwasher and washer/dryer, close toilet lids, and please, make sure your beds are made.
  8. Finishing Touches – A few hours before the open house, make your finishing touches. Open windows to air out and neutralize odors (candles and scented air diffusers can turn people off), open curtains for natural light ,and set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
  9. Remove Pets – Remove pets from the home during the open house. Also, put away food and water dishes, toys, cages, and litter boxes.
  10. Leave! It can be an uncomfortable situation when homeowners stay for an open house. Let your real estate agent handle the tour and questions from potential buyers.

After the open house, listen to the feedback your agent received. While it can be difficult to put your emotional attachment aside, fixing issues potential buyers notice will ultimately help you sell your home.