Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Open houses are a year round event, but the spring market tends to create a buzz in the real estate industry with buyers heading out on the weekends to check out all the homes in the area. While your Realtor is doing their long checklist of items to prepare for an open house, here are 10 items you can do to make your home inviting to all buyers.

  1. De-clutter. Buyers want to enter your home and envision themselves living there. Start by removing clutter from kitchen counters, living room shelves and dressers in bedrooms. You are planning on moving anyway, so grab some boxes and pack up appliances, piles of clothes and any items you will not need in the near future. Getting rid of some furniture may help make a room look more spacious too.

  1. Neutralize odors. Nothing is more of a turn-off than the smell of strong food odors, smoke or pets when entering another person’s home. I have been with buyers showing homes with strong odors, and the buyer refused to enter the home. Have a friend or your Realtor do a smell check and give you an honest opinion. Shampoo rugs and clean pet beds or litter boxes before the open house. DO NOT mask odors with another scent, it is an obvious cover up.
  2. Organize closets, cabinets and drawers. You are showing your home to sell it, buyers will be opening your cabinets and closets. Cluttered closets will give the impression your home does not have enough storage space. As mentioned in #1, you are planning on moving, so box up, donate or trash.
  3. Make repairs.Replace light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, secure loose door knobs and cabinet handles that buyers may notice. Touch up paint in high traffic areas.
  4. Spruce up exterior areas.Curb appeal matters when buyers pull up to your home. Trimming bushes, weeding and adding a bit of mulch will freshen up the appearance of your home. Fill foundation cracks and don’t forget to replace burnt out light bulbs on the exterior of your home. 
  5. Set the table. Having a staged dining area (or kitchen) creates a nice visual for buyers.
  6. Fresh towels. Hang a new set of towels in the bathroom to freshen up the look of any bath.
  7. Safety check. Remove (or take with you) expensive electronics, expensive jewelry, prescription medications and firearms during an open house. Although a Realtor will be with the buyers, it is best to secure these items as a precaution.
  8. Remove personal items. As stated in #1, buyers want to visualize themselves in the home. Remove some of the family photos and kiddy art work.
  9. Let the sun shine. Have the windows cleaned and take out the screens—this adds such a nice, clean appearance to any home. Open blinds and curtains to let in as much light as possible.

The best recommendation is to leave the premises, but if you need to stick around, be as unobtrusive as possible. To not follow buyers around, they want to envision themselves in the home.

If you want an evaluation of your home before you sell or need ideas for staging a room, call me anytime—917-613-2936.