When you’re selling your home, a tactic that your realtor may try is to host a few open houses to bring potential buyers onto your property. Hosting an open house can be a great way for interested people to see the inside of your home without having to schedule a showing. Now because you, the selling homeowner, won’t be around during the open house, you might feel like there’s not much you can do to prepare your home for the upcoming event. However, as the seller, you are an integral part of open house success!
Here are 5 tips that you can do to prepare your home for an open house:
- Make Sure Your Home is Ready to Sell
Before you list your home, you will want to make sure it’s ready to sell. Sounds obvious right? Sadly this isn’t for everyone- So what does this mean? This means that first you’ll need to repair anything that’s broken. If there are repairs that need to be made and systems or appliances that need to be replaced then there is little to no chance that you’ll get great value out of your home. Most buyers will expect a reduced price or credit so they can make the repair or replacement themselves, which won’t entice them to buy as much as a newly replaced appliance or system. It is a good idea to hire a home inspector or appraiser to go through your home and help you determine what needs to be repaired or replaced to help your home’s value. After your home is repaired and replaced, then you’ll want to list it and start to stage your home with a realtor.
- Help Your Realtor Stage the Home
“Home staging?” you may be thinking, “But that is what the realtor does, I can’t do much … I have absolutely no eye for interior design.”
Actually, homeowners hold the keys to excellent home staging. The actual interior design step of staging is the last part of a much longer process. Here are the first steps that you as the home seller should be involved in:
- DE-CLUTTERING THE HOME:
The first part of staging a house is to get rid of all of the extra “Stuff” that is in your home. This is typically the stuff you have lying around. When you move and pack up your items, this is usually a good time to go through the home and purge items in the house. You can utilize this time to sell, donate, throw away, or store items that you don’t need. Not only will this help make your home feel more spacious, but eliminating things you don’t use will help make moving easier. Also by decluttering the home, you will allow prospective buyers to see the “bones” of the home and can envision themselves in the home.
- ORGANIZE WHAT’S LEFT OVER:
In open houses, people will take a peek in the closets, open the drawers, and look in the basement. It comes with the open house territory, so make sure that whatever you have left in your home after de-cluttering is neat and organized. Do not think you can hind all of the extra clutter in a closet or spare room or just thrown into a cabinet or drawer. By having everything neat and organized you will be helping potential buyers feel less stressed and frazzled as they go through the home. It will also help them see the home as somewhere where they could easily move.
- CLEAN EVERYTHING:
During showings and open houses, every part of your home will be out and on display. This means that every part of your home needs to be cleaned. Yes that includes things like the fridge and oven. You will either need to deep clean your house or hire a cleaning company to come in and make sure the floors sparkle and the counters shine.
- GET RID OF PERSONAL ITEMS
Buyers will want to step into your open house and feel like they could move into the space and make it theirs. Removing personal items like family photographs and kid’s art on the fridge, can help potential buyers feel like this could be their potential home. Open houses can make people feel like they’re intruding on someone’s life if the home isn’t staged properly. While you might still be living in the house, you will still want to try and keep it clean of personal items so no one feels like they’re intruding.
- INCREASE CURB APPEAL
A great way to stage your home is by getting your front stoop ready for the open house. First impressions mean everything and that starts with the outside of the home. Throw a fresh coat of paint on your door or power wash your stairs. Whatever you need to do to make sure your home looks beautiful on the outside, do it. A potential buyer will be more interested to go inside if the outside looks great.
- LET THERE BE LIGHTS
Open up the shades/ blinds, clean all of the windows, replace the light bulbs, and clean off the lampshades because the more light you have the open the home looks. Light makes a potential buyer feel cozy and at home and if you accentuate your lights during the open house you’ll have more interested buyers.
SET THE THERMOSTAT TO A COZY TEMPERATURE
Make sure your home is not too hot, but not too cold! It needs to be set at a comfortable temperature for everyone so they’ll want to stay a while and look around. If the home is too hot or cold, buyers will leave quickly without being sold on the home.
- Invite Everyone You Know to the Open House
Once you’ve gotten the home ready for the open house then it is time to start planning the actual open house.One of the hardest parts of having an open house is getting people there. Your realtor will probably post an event online, so share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #openhouse. Invite your neighbors, family, and friends online and in person. When you invite everyone you know to your open house, they’ll spread it around to their friends and family. Never underestimate the power of a friend’s recommendation. If a potential buyer hears about how cute your kitchen is, or how much they love your backyard, and how great it would be to live down the street, you’ll end up having more interested clients at one of the open houses.
- Have Security Measures Put in Place
Although you want everyone to come see your home, for your safety and your realtor’s, you’ll want to have some security measures put into place for the day of the open house.
Make everyone who comes into your home check in with a valid identification and leave their information. This way realtors can get leads with the houses and ensure that the people who are entering your home are there for the right reasons.
Clean out any drugs from your medicine cabinets and make sure all of your valuables are either locked away or with you during the open house. You don’t want to have the open house be an invitation to steal your possessions. Make sure your real estate agent has everyone chaperoned as they walk through the home and don’t allow anyone to use the bathrooms while they’re there.
- Before the Open House Starts … Leave!
Finally, make sure you and your family are off the property while the open house is happening. Buyers will feel uncomfortable voicing concerns or asking questions if they know that you are listening. They’ll also feel pressured to buy if you’re the one showing them through the home, which will usually result in them feeling frustrated instead of intrigued; the exact opposite of how they’ll feel if they’re interested in buying the home.
Also, take your pets (and any trace of them) away from the home. Although you love your pets and can deal with barking, shedding, or strange smells, some buyers can’t. A frightening experience with a barking dog could set a potential buyer off your property.