They originally posted this on Coldwell Banker Elite.
Selling your home quickly is a matter of pricing it right, marketing it aggressively and making sure that it looks its best for potential buyers. Having a great open house can increase your chances of selling a your home tremendously. Your agent is responsible for the first two, but the last one is where you can really shine! In order to get top dollar for your home, you need to make sure you are helping it make the best possible impression. This means creating a calm, clean space so any lingering does not put that buyers off smells, unusual decor choices or messy rooms.
Curb Appeal Matters: Enhancing First Impressions
- First impressions are very powerful! Take a look at your home from the street and spruce up any landscaping or front porch decor. Does your siding need to be powerwashed or your front door repainted? Even just sweeping up the cobwebs from around the doors and a few well-placed flowers on the front steps will make a big difference.
- Make sure your home is as empty as possible, or at least extremely decluttered. This means almost all pictures taken off the walls, most pieces of home decor off the shelves, and no curtains unless they are very flattering and make the windows look larger. Ask your agent if you’re not sure if the curtains should stay. Someone should put away or hide everything on the kitchen and bathroom counters. This includes toasters, coffeemakers, soap bottles and sponges, etc. For example, the countertops on the left are perfectly clear except for one tasteful bowl, while the countertops on the right are mostly clear but the appliances still make it look cluttered.
Declutter and Depersonalize: Presenting a Real “Open” House
- Remove all valuables and medicines from the home during an open house. Unfortunately, open houses are easy targets for theft and during a busy open house and your agent simply cannot be everywhere at once to make sure your valuables aren’t pocketed. There’s no need to risk losing something precious when it could easily be taken with you or secured elsewhere!
- Turn on all the lights in the home–the home looks larger and more inviting when it is properly illuminated. Make sure to change out any dim lightbulbs before the open house or consider upgrading to some smart bulbs as an added feature!
- This should go without saying but all beds should be made, no towels or trash left in the bathrooms and all toilet seat lids should be down. Pet items like toys and beds should be removed or very well-hidden in the home. Kid’s rooms are not exempt from this—hampers and toys should be very well-hidden or removed from the house and the beds should be made just like every other room!
Professional Cleaning: Polishing Your Home to Perfection
- Consider hiring a cleaning service to come a few days or the day before an open house, especially if you have pets. As thorough as you think you are, there’s nothing quite like the shine and polish a home has after a professional cleaning. Freshly steamed carpets, stainless steel sans fingerprints, a spotless bathroom—these little details are what will convince a buyer that the home is worth the asking price.
- Please take all the dead animals off the wall before your open house!
- Don’t worry too much about making the house smell extra nice. If you absolutely must have scents in the home, one or two candles in universally-appealing scents like lavender or vanilla are acceptable but DO NOT Febreze the house into oblivion or leave a bunch of cookies baking in the oven for your agent to take care of during the open house.
- Ask your agent to make feature cards to put next to any unusual or special features in your home, or if anything in the home has a really interesting backstory.
- Lastly, probably the most helpful thing a seller can do for an open house is to leave the house! Go get a coffee and hang out for a few hours in a bookshop, or take a scenic hike—whatever you need to do to not be in the home during the open house. Buyers get really uncomfortable if the seller is still in the home and they feel like they can’t say what they really think.
Let Us Help You With Your Open House!
Trust your agent to sell the home and to put it in its best light for the buyers–it’s our job! As long as you and your agent have prepped your home for success, all you need to do now is relax and enjoy the process!