Post by Suzie Wilson, Guest Contributor
Visibility is crucial to getting your house sold, and holding an open house is one of the best ways to increase visibility and get potential buyers in the door. You don’t want to go into it unprepared, though. Make sure you plan ahead and get your house in pristine shape so that buyers can immediately envision themselves calling it home.
#1. Plan Ahead:
The first step to having a successful open house is to start with a plan. Make a timeline for any updates, cleaning, and other things that need to be done first, and set a date that gives you plenty of time to do it all. When setting the date, you also need to allow enough time for marketing in order to get a good turnout, and keep in mind the importance of timing. Scheduling your open house for the same time as others in your area can help generate traffic.
#2. Updates and Repairs:
Go through your entire home with a critical eye, keeping potential buyers in mind. What might jump out at them as a problem? Repairing anything that is broken or damaged needs to be your top priority. You may also want to do some quick updates, like a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color if any rooms are painted in bright colors or if paint is looking dingy. If your home is older and has light fixtures or kitchen hardware that is outdated, replacing these is inexpensive and makes a big difference in how buyers view your home.
#3. Clean and De-clutter:
Cleaning may sound obvious, but now is the time to do a little more than your regular cleaning routine. Even if you clean your home and maintain it regularly, there are some things that are easy to overlook and others like carpets that are hard to get completely clean on your own. Having your home deep-cleaned by professionals ensures nothing gets overlooked and that everything is spotless. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price for a one-time interior house cleaning is between $118 and $239.
Along with deep-cleaning, make sure to get rid of any clutter, like papers on counters and knickknacks. If you have a lot of stuff lying around, buyers have a harder time picturing themselves in your home. Plus, when surfaces are covered in clutter, buyers can’t see your home’s features. Having too much furniture can feel like clutter, too, so Realtor.com recommends getting a jump-start on packing and putting anything extra in storage.
#4. Set the Stage:
Even after you have deep-cleaned and de-cluttered, your home may not be ready for your open house as is. Staging your home for the open house is about making it feel welcoming, yet neutral, so that buyers can envision living there. HGTV’s guide for staging is a great checklist to use as you go through each room. In general, you want to remove anything that is overly personal, like family photos. When the day of the open house arrives, be sure to let in plenty of light and take a little time to add a few special touches, like putting out new towels in the bathrooms and setting out a vase of fresh flowers.
#5. Spruce Up the Exterior:
Holding an open house is an opportunity to make a good first impression with potential buyers, which means you want them to be wowed when they first arrive. Just like the interior, all exterior surfaces should be clean, including siding, driveways, and walkways. A little landscaping goes a long way toward creating a welcoming yard, especially if the time of year allows for flowers that are in bloom.
Sometimes sellers feel overwhelmed or emotional going through this process of staging and getting ready for an open house. Those feelings are entirely normal, but do your best to take the emotion out of it and instead focus on making your home as appealing as possible to buyers. Keep the end goal in mind—a successful open house and a quick sale!
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House (her new book Coming Soon) is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.