You’ve made the big decision, and your house is listed for sale. An open house has been scheduled. Now what? If you want that open house to end with an offer - or better yet - multiple offers - then you have some preparation to do. Based on our years of experience seeing clients list and sell their homes, we can share these 5 tips to prepare for an open house. Depending on the condition of your home, some of these tips will take more time than others. Avoid the stress of not being ready, and start a good month ahead so that you are fully prepared for your open house to be a great success.
Tip #1 – Repairs & Fixes
Those slight imperfections and flaws which are so familiar and cozy to you will not be appealing to a prospective buyer. They want to buy your house and make it their home….not fix your problems. Go through the house carefully and replace light bulbs, sticky doorknob, and missing baseboards. Repair leaking faucets, shower heads, and broken outlets. All these repairs and fixes will make your home more appealing at your open house.
Tip #2 – Professional Staging
You’ll get a solid return on the investment of hiring a professional. They understand real estate, they have specific training, and most importantly - they have an unbiased eye and will assess your home the same way a visitor at your open house will. Working with a professional usually means a blend of decluttering, purging, rearranging the furniture and storing personal items, - in the mix that will maximize the appeal of your house to a potential buyer. The end result will be that at your open house, there will be no obstacles for people to visualize your house as their next home. Bonus hint: your professional stager will also spot repairs and fixes which you may have overlooked.
Tip #3 – Professional House Cleaning
Ok, this sounds obvious coming from us, but seriously - it is so common for people to underestimate how much time is required for house cleaning before an open house. We’ve had many panicked phone calls from stressed out sellers the day before their open house, saying that they don’t have the time to do the cleaning required and can they please book some hours? Preparing for an successful open house means having the bathroom and kitchen in a state of clean so that it doesn’t look like anyone has used it. Also - ensuring that the window ledges, trim, and corners are free of dust and pet hair. It is also telling that professional stagers we know say that they will only work with clients who hire professional house cleaners. They’ve seen too many houses sit on the market because the shower floor is still grubby, or the baseboards are fuzzy with dust.
Tip #4 – Odours & Scents
A home with an unpleasant odour is a huge obstacle to getting offers. Your stager will be honest about any odours coming from musty boxes of clothes, a pet-stained carpet, or a bag of forgotten onions in the basement. The professional house cleaners will also help get your home smelling fresh. Avoid using sprays or perfumes to make your home smell good - they could trigger allergies or asthma in your visitors. Avoid the old trick of baking cookies - your visitors may wonder what you are trying to cover up. Keep it simple. Clean the house, remove anything offensive smelling, and avoid cooking with strong odours in the week leading up to your open house. Celebrate with cabbage and fish AFTER you’ve accepted an offer.
Tip #5 – Start at the Driveway
We’ve been focusing on the inside of your home, where you spend your time. Remember that the first impression will be at the end of your driveway. Get that curb appeal and ensure that your landscaping is neat and tidy, and there is no peeling paint, or repairs needed. Investing in some potted flowers, a new mailbox, or porch light fixture may be well worth it to create a great first impression of your home.
These 5 tips to prepare for an open house means investing some time and money, but it is well worth it to have a quick sale and offers at or over your asking price.