Your Open House is an opportunity to welcome some very important people – prospective buyers, and realtors who can present your home to their buyers. To the realtor, your house should tell a story of a well-maintained property that will be a good value for a client and an easy sale; if your future buyer happens to walk into your open house, you want them to envision writing the next chapter of their own story within its walls. Where to begin?
Edit: Declutter and depersonalize. Removing extra furniture and accessories will make your home appear more spacious, and removing your family photos and personal collections will provide a clean canvas for buyers to begin visualizing their own future.
Clean Up Outside: People do judge a book by its cover, and won’t even view a home if the outside puts them off. Make sure the exterior is clean, landscape is trimmed and neat, there’s a new welcome mat at the door and your entryway is bright and clear of family belongings – coats, shoes, gloves, keys.
Clean Up Inside: People will want to know the home offers enough storage space, and some are just plain inquisitive, so they will likely poke around in places guests won’t. Be ready for them by purging and organizing your closets, cupboards, basement and garage. Lock away valuables, private papers, and anything you don’t want people to see or touch.
Remove Distractions: Make repairs. Replace broken appliances, lighting, windows and doors, etc. Buyers and realtors will be reassured that the home that has been well maintained and cared for and has no worrisome flaws.
Think “Experience:” You want your guests to feel at home and comfortable in the space. A clean, well staged house is a delight for the eyes, but there are other influential senses that you can appeal to to make the open house memorable. Bake something wonderful just before the event so that the house smells yummy, and leave it out for your guests to enjoy. Work with your realtor to create a printed piece thanking them for coming, describing the benefits of choosing this home and the amenities of the area, and place it near the food you have put out.
Mind the Weather: Be prepared for inclement weather. Rather than allowing people to trek wet muddy footprints through your home, establish a place and a plan for umbrellas and for shoes. Purchase a pack of wet umbrella bags, place a large mat for wiping feet and removing shoes and encourage guests to use them.
Be Absent, but Available: Open houses are usually more successful when the current owner is not at home; buyers feel more comfortable examining a house when owners are away. That said, it’s a good idea to be reachable in this time of digital connectivity. A prospective buyer or buying agent might have a question or concern; if you can be reached by your own agent to address it right away, you can maintain momentum with an interested buyer.
Not every open house is a blockbuster, but it is not unusual for an open house to attract a buyer and multiple offers in an active market. Putting your home’s best foot forward while creating a positive and memorable experience for your guests will help to ensure that your open house attracts and inspires as much interest as possible.