Open House Preparations
An open house is like a coming out party for a home you have decided to put on the market. We all know how important first impressions are so you want to be as prepared as possible for the potential buyer coming through your home.
It should go without saying that the home needs to be spotless. Hire a local cleaning company if necessary, because nothing will turn off a potential buyer quicker than a dirty home. The outside of the home is just as important, after all, that is the first thing prospects will see. Put your best foot forward with your curb appeal by picking up all toys and bicycles, etc. and make sure the lawn is mowed and your landscaping looking fresh and manicured.
An open house should be bright and cheery. Turn on all the lamps and overheads in the house and it will look like a home out of a magazine. Move your furniture around or ever remove a few pieces to give the impression of spaciousness.
Do a little decorating to get your home ready. Fresh flowers are always a welcoming touch along with some potpourri around the house. Set the dining room table as if your prepared for a dinner party with a complete table setting and candles. Start a fire in the fireplace or place a fresh basket of flowers in it's place.
Don't forget the bathrooms. Buyers check them out very carefully so you want them sparkling with fresh soap and maybe a new carpet or shower curtain to dress them up a bit. Take the time to put away your personal items so the counters have more room.
You want to give the buyers every opportunity to envision your home being theirs. Remove as much of your personal items as possible including personal photos and mementos.
Welcome your open house visitors as if they were family. Have some coffee and sodas available along with cookies. If you can bake some fresh cookies that would be great to have the smell throughout the house. Your buyers will want to stay and make the home their own.
If you're fortunate to have alot of open house traffic then it is impossible for yourself or the real estate agent to keep an eye on everyone. Put your jewelry and any other value items you may have in a safe place. There are con artist that specialize in open houses and you need to be aware.
Dogs are a man's best friend. Well, not everyone's. Be considerate and put your animals next door or if that is not possible, maybe the garage or in a separate room and then let the agent know in advance so there are no surprises. Most animals are friendly, but you don't want to take a chance on Fido jumping up on your potential buyers new linen skirt.
Please, if you have your home listed with a real estate company and the agent is going to be conducting the open house, leave. Let the agent do his/her job. It is uncomfortable to have the owner's in the home at the same time as the potential buyers. A much more honest dialogue can be established between the buyer and the agent when the buyer can be more forthright.
RUTH BETHEM, ABR, CRS, GRI, Realtor®