5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for An Open House

While your real estate agent can no doubt offer you a few pointers on how to prep for an open house so that you have the best chances of securing a sale, the truth is that you, as the homeowner, are on the hook for doing all of the actual work. And since you want to sell your home as quickly as possible and get the best price in the process, it behooves you to create an atmosphere that is fresh, inviting, and most of all, appealing to the average buyer. So here are just a few tips that will help you to prepare your home for an open house.

  1. Clear out clutter. Think about how you might feel walking into a house with the goal of figuring out whether or not you could live in it and encountering photos of another family, piles of their stuff, and their hissing or growling pets. You’d probably run right back out the door. So what makes you think you can sell your home in such a state? You need to pack up the lion’s share of your personal possessions, including photos, tchotchkes, clothing, books, cookware, and more; send your pets to kennel or to a friend until the house has sold; and basically return your home to a blank-slate state. This could also require you to minimize furnishings in order to make the house seem spacious and breezy. A bare-bones approach is best so that viewers can picture themselves in the space.
  2. Freshen up foundations. You may love the red paint in your bedroom, but not everyone will appreciate the boudoir aesthetic. So think about choosing a warm neutral to use throughout the house (a cream or pale sand hue) with white accents. And you might want to replace or at least steam clean the grungy carpeting. This will set a fresh foundation that will allow buyers to better visualize their own stuff against the neutral backdrop. In addition, this refresher means you won’t have to offer an allowance for paint and carpet during the sale.
  3. Stage furnishings. While the amount and size of furniture in your space should be minimal, it’s important to stage the furnishings and accessories you leave to take advantage of the space you have and highlight selling points. For example, you might not normally make the fireplace the focal point of the living room by turning the couch to face it. But by removing your television from the space and rotating the couch you can subliminally force the eyes of viewers to take in the fireplace, which is a much better selling point than your TV. You might want to ask your realtor for help with this critical task or look online for suggestions.
  4. Deal with odors. Your house smells like you - what you eat, the detergents you use, the pets you have, and so on. In order to make the space more appealing it’s a good idea to purge your own odors. Even if you spritz everything with a lavender scent that you love, others simply might not be drawn to it, so think about airing out the house, using lemon-scented cleaning products (nearly everyone finds this scent to be clean and fresh), and then baking some chocolate chip cookies the day of the open house to create a homey atmosphere (and feed your guests).
  5. Curb appeal. Overgrown shrubs and a dead lawn hardly provide the first impression you need to set the tone for a successful open house. So trim the brambles, head to RTC landscaping (or your local nursery) for fresh sod and some blooming plants, add a fresh coat of paint to the façade, and spruce up the porch with new lighting and house numbers. The curb appeal could perk up wary house hunters before they even step foot over the threshold.

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