Hosting an open house is helpful in that it gives potential buyers a no-pressure sneak peak at your home. If you make a great first impression, it could mean a private showing and perhaps even an offer. Before you open up your home, though, chances are that you’ll need to give it a little love and care. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the event and put your best foot forward.
You’ll want to do a thorough cleaning of your home from top to bottom. That means shampooing your carpets to eliminate odors and wiping down things you would normally forget about like baseboards, windows, tops of picture frames and knick knacks, ceiling fans, and even the walls themselves.
Move all the furniture while you clean and don’t plan on leaving a room or area off limits, as it gives the wrong impression. This means you’ll need to clear out the garage or any exterior buildings as well. Realtor.com recommends that you also reduce clutter by getting rid of stacks of paper or magazines and leave the counter appliance-free.
Take out any trash, make the beds, and set the kitchen table. Potential buyers will often open up closets in the hopes of finding extra storage space, so remember to tidy them up as well by utilizing shelves and storage bins. Consider renting a storage locker to secure any valuables, and look at this as a good excuse to start packing for your big move now.
If you dread the thought of giving your home a complete scrub-down yourself, consider hiring a cleaning service. A full day of deep cleaning averages about $150, which is a bargain considering how much it will improve your open house experience for potential homebuyers.
After your cleaning spree, it’s likely you’ll need to put a bit more work into staging your home so that it is truly in its best condition. You’ll want to fix issues that can distract buyers such as leaky faucets, burnt-out bulbs, loose knobs, broken tiles, squeaky hinges, and even worn toilet seats.
Spackle any holes or dents in the walls, and paint them a fresh neutral color. Buyers want a blank slate where they can envision creating their own home, so remove any religious or political art and personal photos, as they run the risk of turning the buyer off and possibly even offending them. Think about making small but meaningful updates to the kitchen or bathrooms by adding new hardware, stainless steel appliances and light fixtures.
Don’t forget about your home’s exterior. If it’s winter, make clear walking paths by shoveling and salting them. If it’s warmer out, mow your lawn, wash the exterior, trim the bushes, and clean out your gutters. Go the extra mile by displaying potted flowers or a wreath as well as an appealing house number and mailbox.
In order to drive traffic to your home for the open house, you’ll need to market it correctly. According to 2014 data from the National Association of Realtors, 92 percent of homebuyers use the internet in their search, so be sure to post the event online and in your local newspaper. It also helps to garner attention if you place signs in heavily-trafficked areas that people can see while they’re driving by. Make sure the arrows are pointing in the right direction and are spaced out appropriately.
Lastly, if you have a real estate agent, it’s important that you don’t attend your own open house. Potential buyers won’t be comfortable, and chances are that you won’t get honest feedback from them as a result. On the day of, remove any vehicles from the property so house hunters have room to park. Also, have flyers available to take home with more information including an inspection report, appraisal and any warranties or major updates that have been undertaken.