Think of an open house as your home’s big welcome party to the market. The signs and balloons go up and all buyers in the area are invited! At this point in time, your home is less of a home and more a marketable product. At this stage, you should be materially and emotionally prepared for the fact that your home isn’t quite yours anymore.
An open house is a great way to get your house in front many buyers in a short period of time. It is also a great way for area agents to look at the house to keep in the back of their head for their other clients. During an open house, buyers can walk through the home, go room by room with your agent (and theirs) and imagine themselves and their stuff in the space.
If there is a dripping faucet in the bathroom, you have to side step around clutter and you can smell last night’s tuna casserole wafting from the kitchen, it may not make the best first impression.
We’ve listed our top tips for getting your home ready for your upcoming open house. We encourage you to print this out and use as a checklist to make sure you cover all the bases and have a successful showing once your house is on the market.
The house should be cleaned from top to bottom. Windows, ceiling fans and trim should all be dusted and all clutter removed. Remove paperwork and letters from office/work spaces and slim down the amount of pictures and other knick knacks that might be on tables and bookshelves. Make sure the kitchens and bathrooms are spotless and if you own a pet, ensure that there are no odors or signs of them there, if at all possible.
The outside is just as important; Make sure that the grass is mowed and weeds are tamed. Consider investing in some paint work, power washing services or landscaping to freshen things up. Give your home a helping hand depending on the season as well: Rake the leaves in the fall and get some flowers planted in the spring. Outdoor entertaining spaces should have clean furniture with little to no clutter.
A garage is a super valuable space for many – if you have a lot of clutter, consider cutting it down as a way to help viewers visualize the size and usability of the space.
Closets are fair game as well. Storage is a huge consideration for buyers and yes, they will be opening your closet doors and pantries to inspect the house’s storage. Make sure that main cabinets, pantries and closets are cleaned and organized.
It may sound like a ton of work (and for many, it is,) but buyers can’t be distracted with personal artifacts, dirt and general clutter. Especially when the goal is to have your home connect with those stopping for the open house.
I’m Gonna Let it Shine
Light is incredibly important aspect of a showing. People want bright, cheery homes with tons of light. Once those windows and treatments are cleaned, make sure that they are open and ready to dump as much light as possible into your home.
Light is important on your property as well. Overgrown trees and bushes might be blocking light to the yards, outdoor living spaces and windows. It’s worth discussing any landscaping needs with your agent to see what makes the most sense to your property and budget.
Cater to all the senses
Open houses aren’t just for people to see your home but to experience it. And, most people experience things with more than just their eyes. We use smells and sounds just as much! Consider playing soft music in the family room or entry way to set the mood. Soft rock or contemporary style music is a great place to start.
Baking the morning of your open house is another way to heighten the senses and make people feel at home, in your home. Who doesn’t like the smell of chocolate chip cookies or even mulled wine during the fall and winter seasons.
Speaking of seasons, temperature is very important as well. No one likes a cold or feverishly hot house. If you have central air, there is little better you can do to sell this amenity than to have a wonderfully cool house on a hot day.
Other little visual touches through staging can go a long way. A pitcher of water or iced tea on an outdoor patio, new fluffy towels in the bathroom, clean bed linens, and fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen and fresh flowers are simple, inexpensive ways to enhance your home.
Put Together a Game Plan
The first three tips can each seam overwhelming. It’s true there is quite a bit of elbow grease and expense to each of these steps. Yet, if you tackle the most important aspects of each in an orderly fashion, it will be much more manageable.
Go room by room and make a specific checklist for each. Take your time and consider what will offer the most impact or bang for your buck.
Little things like de-cluttering and touching up some paint are generally easy and inexpensive. Identify the bigger expenses, such as landscaping, floor cleaning or any mechanical updates/fixes and prioritize as best you can.
TIP: Mechanical issues such as heating/air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical will likely be a point of issue down the road after inspections and may need to be fixed anyway. It may be worth getting it taken care of in advance and early on in the process so that no issues keep buyers away or complicate negotiations during the buying process.
The agents at Class Harlan Real Estate are some of the most experienced agents in the Bucks CountyArea. Ask your agent what you should do as you prepare for your first open house. They can help in making sure your time and energy is well spent during this process by honing in on what is most important for you, your home and the market.
Ready to list your home? Contact us today to meet with one of our world class agents.