Preparing Your Home for an Open House

Open houses are a great way to attract interest and attention to your property.

The mention of this, however, can ignite a feeling of panic among many sellers. While there are great benefits to hosting an open house, how exactly can you showcase your property in the best way to appeal to prospective buyers?

This guide explains the most important things that sellers, as well as, their realtors should understand to prepare homes for open houses.

Understanding the Purpose of the Open House

Open houses have always been a staple of the home selling/buying process.

Despite this, they are still the subject of hot debates in certain circles. Whether or not you feel this is something you should do, will depend on your understanding of why it’s needed.

So, what exactly is the purpose of showing your home in this way? The answer is simple!

You want to sell as quickly as possible and get high offers. This is exactly what open houses help you to do. Open houses help to sell homes. Hosting an open house is an agelong real estate marketing strategy that still works.

It’s an easy way to show the house in its best to multiple potential buyers at a time.

Lots of sellers leverage this opportunity to attract and excite potential buyers. If your house is in tip-top condition, it could be your key to selling fast and for top dollar.

How to prepare your home for an open house

Now that you know the purpose behind open houses, it’s important to ensure you do it right so you can achieve the intended results. So, how can you prepare your home for an open house?

Below are some of the key processes involved;

Decluttering the home

Clutter heightens stress and can make the atmosphere appear choking and unpleasant to potential buyers. The clutter zones in your house, from the kitchens to the bathrooms, closets, open areas, and others need to be properly organized.

Decluttering will make the atmosphere in your house welcoming and relaxing.

It will add this touch of freshness and simplicity, and help to create the illusion of space even in the tiniest of rooms. It will make your house appear more livable and appealing to potential buyers.

Decluttering may seem overwhelming but it’s something you have to do prior to an open house. There’s much to gain from keeping your indoor spaces orderly and neatly organized. If you’re wondering how to go about decluttering, here are a few tips to help you get started;

  • Create a plan to get started. List out all the clutter zones based on their level of severity. This will help you understand your priorities.
  • For the kitchen, closets, living rooms, and more keep the items you regularly used neatly stored in easily accessible places.
  • Avoid keeping doubles, triples or quadruples of certain items
  • Consider throwing out items you no longer need. If you can, you should recycle or donate useful ones to charity, etc.
  • Organize your clothes and footwear properly when decluttering the closet
  • Organize your living spaces as if you have less storage room
  • Tidy up the kitchen and keep flat surfaces clear
  • Wipe dust and dirt from corners and flat surfaces
  •  

Keeping the house neat and clean

You have to keep your house clean and tidy as long as it’s on the market.

If this is something you don’t see yourself doing, hiring a professional cleaning company makes sense, especially when you are planning an open house.

The goal of open houses is to get potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the property. Your house should, therefore, be made as appealing and desirable as possible.

But how do you get potential buyers to visualize themselves living in your dirt-ridden house?

Leaving accumulated dust on your fireplace mantle, on the fan blades, and elsewhere won’t help. Everywhere should be sparkling clean and tidied up in time for your open house. Below are a few house cleaning tips to help you;

  • Tidy up your living spaces, cabinets, closets, and other areas people would likely inspect.
  • Clean up the fireplace mantle, fan blades, and more to get rid of accumulated dust.
  • Wash the interior and exterior sides of doors and windows thoroughly.
  • Polish your appliances and faucets to keep them sparkling clean.
  • Get rid of foul odors and smells as some potential buyers might be sensitive to these smells.
  • Scrub down bathroom showers and bathtubs.
  • Clean off spots, smudges, and fingerprints from the woodwork.
  • Wash the floors, baseboards and powerwash the driveways

Accentuating the key areas of your home

Prepping your home for an open house is no piece of cake.

You want to accentuate your home’s strengths while also minimizing its weakest spots. This is why lots of people go the extra mile to hire professional stagers to get their house showroom-ready in time for an open house.

This investment makes sense considering that staged homes sell for 17% more on average than non-staged homes. You can also expect to reap $400 for every $100 you invest in the service of a good home staging consultant.

The kitchens, master bedrooms, and fireplaces are some of the places you can positively accentuate to pique the interest of most potential buyers.

If you have a beautiful fireplace, for instance, you can set it up on a pedestal to make it a beautiful focal point in your living room. You can consider arranging your furniture to try and make the lovely fireplace a focal point. You can even focus light on it so potential buyers can see it in its optimum setting.

The same thing applies to those beautiful windows you’d like the buyers to see.

Rather than block them, you could clean them thoroughly and accentuate them. Every beautiful feature in your home should be accentuated and highlighted so the potential buyers can easily recognize and admire them.

Neutral paint on walls and trims can also help you accentuate your home.

For the bedrooms, you can consider putting out fresh linen, new bedding and towels, clean and colorful pillows, and more of other beautiful and inexpensive things that will help you perk up your house.

Selling the vision

Selling the vision makes selling the house much easier.

The vision, in this case, is all about the potential home buyer. The potential buyers have to see themselves in the center of this vision. They have to clearly see what they can achieve through the vision you create.

The open house is always a great opportunity to sell this vision with clarity and passion.

The vision is meant to get potential buyers to be truly convinced that the house in question is a great place they can call ‘home.’

 So, how do you help potential buyers create their own vision of the property?

  • Depersonalize the house so it doesn’t display too much of your personal touch.
  • Use neutral colors for your wall paint. Extreme colors and themed rooms may scare off potential buyers. Maintaining neutrality with colors, however, would help them create their own vision of the house.
  • Showcase the house as a place to call home using candles and air fresheners, colored pillows, a few family pictures, etc.
  • Accentuate the positives in your house (we mentioned this already).
  • Make necessary repairs, declutter, and deep clean the house so that nothing will get in the way of potential buyers while they try to visualize themselves living in the house.

Do open houses still sell homes?

Open houses are a vital part of the home buying/selling process.

They’ll help you bring potential buyers up close and personal with your property. If the house is presented in its best condition, you stand a chance to sell the house quickly and at a great price.

While people in the real estate industry are divided on the effectiveness of open houses for selling properties, the statistics are always there to support the old but still effective real estate marketing strategy.

  • The NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that up to 37% of home buyers used open houses during their home search. That same report showed that potential buyers with another language aside from English as their primary language use open houses more often, at 59%.
  • A recent study by Redfin also showed that homes with open houses sell for $9,046 more than homes without open houses. These houses also tend to spend fewer days on the market on average compared to similar homes without open houses.

The researchers from the Redfin survey offer a possible caveat though;

The premium here may have to do with how desirable the house is along with how effectively it was marketed during the open house, rather than just the open house itself.

Bottom Line

So, here’s the takeaway;

Open houses still work, but your house needs to be well prepared to maximize the attention that comes from the showings. If your house is well-prepared and shown in its best condition, your chances of selling quickly and for more money will be significantly increased.

Hopefully, the tips above will be of great value as you prepare your house for your upcoming open house.

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Crystal Pierson - Realtor

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