Open houses are the best way to showcase your home to potential buyers, so you want to make sure you leave a good impression. Here are ten tips to help you better prepare your home for an Open House:
1) Empty half your clothes from the closet
Closet space is important, so potential buyers are sure to peak. By removing half your clothing, and ensuring everything is neat and tidy, you make your closets look bigger and more spacious.
2) Let in lots of natural light
Natural light makes even the smallest apartment feel larger and more welcoming, so be sure you draw back the curtains and open the blinds in every room. Being able to see out the windows also makes rooms feel larger.
3) Hide evidence of Fido and Fluffy
Not all people are pet lovers. Pet hair, food and water dishes, and toys can make a home feel unkempt and cluttered. Be especially cognizant of pet related odors, since a dirty litter box or a wet dog smell can quickly put off potential buyers.
4) Make your home as neutral as possible
Potential buyers that attend your Open House are going to try to picture themselves living there. Remove personal items, like family photos, so that your potential buyers are better able to imagine their own life there. Also, while you don’t need to completely redecorate try and hide items that aren’t very neutral. You may think that singing bass your uncle bought you for your birthday is hilarious, but your potential buyers may disagree.
5) Make sure your home is clean
Things like dust, grime and fingerprints are off putting, and do not present your home in a positive light. Make sure you thoroughly clean the entire house before each Open House, and be sure to pay close attention to often overlooked places like the downstairs storage cupboard and the cupboards under sinks. Potential buyers who are seriously considering purchasing your home are going to thoroughly inspect your home, so you want to make sure everything is in order.
6) Don’t forget curb appeal
The exterior of your house offers potential buyers a first impression. Make sure any children’s toys are neatly stashed away, and that your grass is cut or your sidewalk shoveled based on the time of year. Consider adding some welcoming decorations, like placing potted flowers on the front step or hanging a festive wreath from the door in order to make your home feel warm and welcoming.
7) Go the extra mile
Ironing your duvet cover and tea towels may seem excessive, but little touches like that can really add polish to your home. Make sure jars and cans are neatly organized in your pantry, and do your best to tame the tupperware and junk drawers. If you own a lot of stuff you might even consider storing some of it at a friend or relative’s home temporarily in order to reduce the amount of clutter you need to deal with before each Open House.
8) Fix what is broken
Even small things like squeaky doors, leaky taps and loose knobs can leave a bad impression. Small, easily fixed problems that have not been dealt with may make potential buyers wonder what other, larger, problems may be lurking. Take a weekend and repair these small things before your first Open House. You may also consider adding a fresh coat of paint to both the interior and exterior of your home. Fresh paint makes any space look brighter, cleaner and more well maintained.
9) Consider rearranging
The key to making any space feel larger is reducing the amount of stuff in it. Consider removing large sectional chesterfields or other large, dominating pieces of furniture. Items like these make rooms feel smaller than they actually are, and can leave potential buyers feeling cramped. If you can afford it, consider hiring a professional stager and potentially renting furniture that will best show off your home’s assets.
10) Add the finishing touches
The day of the Open House purchase one or several bouquets of freshly cut flowers. A bouquet in the kitchen, and one in the living room make any home feel fresh and welcoming. Also, consider setting out food and drinks for potential buyers. A cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day, or some warm coffee or hot chocolate on a cold winter afternoon not only make potential buyers feel welcome and at home but also makes them more likely to stick around longer. You should also be sure to secure any valuables and prescription medications in a safe place before potential buyers arrive. And last, but not least, be sure to leave. It is much easier for your Realtor work their magic if you aren’t hovering around potential buyers pointing out all the positive qualities of your home. Realtors know when to intervene and chat with potential buyers and when to let them explore on their own.
At the end of the day you want to make sure your home feels neutral, clean, uncluttered and welcoming. Creating a pleasant space that potential buyers can easily seem themselves living happily in is what will seal the deal. Also, ask your Realtor for any advice he or she may have on staging your home for an Open House, and take advantage of their expertise.