You are about to list your home and you have been debating whether an Open House is something you should do. Every in-law and friend has an opinion. Some will tell you it’s the only way to sell, while others may try to convince you of the the labour and time involved to prepare. If you have conflicting feelings, then it is a discussion you should have with your real estate agent. An experienced listing agent will be able to answer your questions. So have them ready. Once you have the answers, you can balance the pros and cons for yourself, and then determine if an Open House meets your needs as a home seller. This decision is one that only you, and your agent can make.
I have prepared some of the steps and tasks required for a successful Open House. Reviewing these may help you understand better what’s involved. These tips may also bring to mind some of the questions you have for your agent.
Tips for a Successful Open House
- Give Yourself Time – Choose an Open House date, or dates with a couple of weeks notice. This way you will have sufficient time to prepare. Hopefully some of the tasks required to prepare for the open house, you have already completed prior to listing your home. If that’s the case you are off to a great start.
- Declutter – This means every room, closet and cupboard. Your home will look more spacious, and attractive if you reduce the “stuff”. Pack up anything personal. Have a look at each table, shelf and even counter space and limit the items to no more than three. Pack up the “kid’s stuff”, “sports stuff” and of course the family pictures. Buyers have an easier time imagining living in a home, if they can visualize their children and pets. Not yours. Think of the nicest hotel room you stayed in. Odds are there was little clutter, and there were no pictures of the staff on the walls.
- Remove It – If you have collected a lot of things over the past few years and find you have several boxes full, you may want to consider moving them to a storage facility or a kind and considerate relatives crawl space. Buyers want to see all of your home. Stacked boxes in a recreation room or garage can be a turn-off. Look on the bright side. You will have less packing to do when it’s time to move.
- Clean It – If you can see it, clean it. Washing floors, carpets, windows, sinks, appliances, ceiling lights, baseboards and the list goes on. If you don’t have the time, but your budget allows, you may want to hire a professional cleaner to come and do the big jobs. A great thing about an outside cleaning company is, they see things you don’t. A massive clean a day or two before the Open House allows you to just have to do some spot cleaning when the day arrives.
- Fix It – Take the time and money to repair all of those little things you may have gotten accustomed to living with. Do your light bulbs all light? Are the screens in your windows and doors clean and in good repair? What about that squeaky back door or the cabinet door with no handle. Take inventory of all the little things that need replacement or repair and get to work fixing them.
- Mow It – The front and back yard are important features of a home and very important to buyers. Their first impression will be upon arriving, so make sure the outdoor space is as spotless as inside the home. Decluttering is essential outdoors too. Spend time weeding as well as trimming up bushes and trees. In the backyard, make sure that children’s toys, yard tools and extra outdoor furniture are neatly packed away.
- Market It – The more time you have to prepare for the Open House the more time it can be marketed. This is a very important question for your listing agent. How will the Open House be marketed? Today you will want to ensure that there is a plan for “social” marketing your home. Ask your agent if it will be marketed on their website, facebook or other social platforms. A well marketed Open House will have a better turn out of possible buyers. It is typically your agent that markets your home, but there is no reason that you can’t spread the news as well. You can indicate you are having an Open House at work, to your neighbours and to all your social connections.
Today’s home buyers know what they want. If they are looking for storage then they will open every closet, cupboard and drawer. So make sure they are all clutter free and spotless. If you are including the appliances in the sale price, then yes, clean them. An over crowded refrigerator shouts “too small”. A smelly and dirty refrigerator is a turn off as well. Remember, no home hunter wants to see your dirty pans when they open the dishwasher or your linens when they check out the dryer. So remember if you want to impress people at an Open House take the time necessary to properly prepare.
You really don’t have to worry about any tricks or treats. Although home buyers may enjoy the occasional goodie, what will really impress is a spotless home. If you were to ask them what their favourite aroma is when they visit a house, that answer would surely be “a home that smells naturally clean”.