Open House Tips

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters

Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens

This will help get more light into the interior of the home. But most importantly, it sends a signal: ‘I take good care of my home.’

3. Keep everything extra clean

A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it. I can give some recommendations.

4. Get rid of smells

Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help, but not too much. You will find a good amount of buyers that have alergies.

5. Brighten your rooms

Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint. You may want to change the energy efficien bulbs to either LED of back to incandescent. There is nothing worse than to flip the switch and to show a house “at candle light”.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs

Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but again, they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard

Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway. Curb appeal is one of the most important effects on buyers. Make them want to come in and experience the rest of your beautiful home.

8. Patch holes

Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room

A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa – nothing fancy, just something new and nice.

10. Buy a flowering plant …

 and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables

Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene

Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there.

13. Replace heavy curtains …

… with sheer ones that let in more light. Or remove the curtains entirely and show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace

Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use. Remember: Candles inside the fireplace often raise the question whether it is functional or not.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious

Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Think ‘Hotel’. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight. (I call it: Remove DNA)

16. Send your pets to a neighbor

… or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement or garage).

17. Lock up valuables

While a real estate salesperson will always be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time. Don’t create ‘opportunity’.

18. Leave the home

That’s a biggie! It’s usually best if you as the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there. You also do not want to rush them.