Preparing For An Open House
Last-minute tips to help you show your home the smart way
An open house is an important part of the selling process. It lets people know you're selling your home, it gets people talking about your home and, most importantly, it gets people looking at your home.
An open house will draw potential buyers, neighbours, real estate agents and others who are just there to "browse" your property. If successful, your open house can turn browsers into buyers and help increase the overall demand for your home.
If you're like most home sellers, you'll still be living in your house when the real estate agent begins hosting open house viewings. But don't worry. You won't have a family of four interrupting your Sunday morning bath to ask if the shower curtains are included in the sale!
Your agent will be sure to accommodate your schedule and give you lots of advance notice when showing your home. However, having your home open house-ready at all times will save you from panicked last-minute cleaning sprees, or worse: viewings marred by sloppy housekeeping.
Preparing your home to sell need not be time consuming. Make these last-minute touch-ups to ensure a perfect first impression:
Brighten and lighten
- Light-filled rooms are always appealing. Open drapes and blinds.
- Make sure windows and mirrors are sparkling clean. If there are no windows in the room, make sure the lighting is adequate.
- Turn on all the lights, even during the daytime, including outside entrance, closet, basement and attic lights.
Spark your buyer's imagination
- Set the dinner table for a formal dinner. Creating the proper atmosphere helps buyers envision themselves living in your home.
- On cold days, light a fire. If not in season, make sure the fireplace is clean.
- Set out fresh flowers, and hang decorative hand towels in the bathroom.
- Put pets in a fenced yard. Better still, ask friends to look after them. Some people may be allergic, and others may be afraid of animals.
- If possible, leave! Some buyers are uncomfortable when the owner is in the house. In their hurry to get away, they may miss important features or fail to ask important questions. If you must remain, be courteous, but try not to make conversation. The buyer's real estate agent knows what the buyer is looking for, and can discuss features and answer their questions.
Please the senses
- Display lightly scented candles to produce a pleasant aroma for potential buyers.
- Put out a few refreshments to keep people at your open house a little longer.
- Odours such as pet and cigarette smells can have a stronger impact on buyers than any positive feature of your home. You might not notice the smell if you're living with it, so get a second opinion before showing the home.
- Turn off the television, stereo and radio (easy-listening music is OK).
Ask your agent for feedback from the people who came to the open house. What did people like about your property? What didn't they like? What could use improvement? With good feedback, you'll be able to make any necessary adjustments or improvements to your home. That way, you'll soon be able to switch your "Open House" sign to a "Sold" sign.