Often-Missed Tips on Preparing Your Home for a Successful Open House

Suzie Wilson

Presenting your home to buyers in a way that makes your property stand out from the crowd can be challenging. After all, your house is a big investment, so you want to make the most of every opportunity to catch a great offer. Unfortunately, many sellers skip some of the most important steps involved in getting their homes ready for an open house. Make sure you follow these strategies to ensure a successful event.

Think ‘Move-In Ready’

The overall impression buyers should get when they look at your home is that it is well-maintained and ready for them to move in. That means fixing any obvious issues. If you have anything that is broken or looks worn out, address it well in advance of your open house.

Enhance curb appeal

The first thing house hunters will see is your home’s exterior. Make sure you enhance your property’s curb appeal to catch the attention of potential buyers. Stand across the road and inspect the impression your home makes. If your home’s paint is looking weary, give it a fresh coat, and clean your roof and gutters. Cut any overgrown shrubbery, manicure your lawn, and plant some colorful, blooming annuals. Tidy up the walkways and patio areas, and install a new mailbox and house numbers if they appear to be in less-than-mint condition.

Clean inside

You want your home to be spotlessly clean for your event. Wash your windows, scour the bathroom, scrub your kitchen, and mop and vacuum floors thoroughly. If you have carpet, it should be shampooed. Be sure to deodorize your home, especially if you have pets. Be forewarned, pet odors can be especially difficult to lift from carpet. Use an enzymatic cleanser specifically formulated to lift biological odors naturally. If that doesn’t work, hire a professional to clean the carpet with steam cleaning. HouseLogic suggests asking a trustworthy third party to give your home a “sniff test” to ensure your method worked, and to help decide on any further action you need to take. If all else fails, you may need to replace your flooring.

Declutter and Depersonalize

Making buyers feel comfortable in your home means helping them to envision living there. Reducing your belongings and embracing a look that is both open and relatively impersonal can make all the difference. Declutter your living and storage areas—reducing your home’s contents to just enough to show how each space functions. Leaving some open areas in closets and cupboards helps buyers see whether their own items will fit. Clearing floor space helps with traffic flow and accents spaciousness. If you have a strong personal style or items which will otherwise remind buyers you live there, such as sports memorabilia or politically themed items, Houzz recommends toning it down for your event and putting away any potentially emotional belongings. Stow things off-site, since you want your storage areas somewhat open.

Rethink Your Palette

Many homeowners like to express themselves with color, and while it’s an inexpensive way to add flair to your home, bold hues work to remind buyers they don’t live there. If the paint on your walls looks worn or you used bright colors, HowStuffWorks recommends giving them a fresh coat in a paint color that will put buyers at ease. Think in terms of neutral and light shades, such as beige, grey, tan, or ivory.

Safe and Secure

Not much could spoil your event more than theft. Take a few steps to protect valuables before your open house event. Avoid leaving any bank account or password information where someone might inadvertently stumble upon them, and either lock jewelry, weapons, electronic gadgets, and medicine in secure places, or take them with you when you leave.

When you’re getting ready for an open house, you want to cover every angle to make the most of the opportunity. Prepare your home inside and out so you can catch buyers’ eyes. You’ll be closing on a successful sale before you know it!