Each month, we bring you a helpful question submitted by a Roost Reader. This month, we tackle the perennial question of how to prep for an open house... "Dear Roost, We're planning to put our home on the market soon, and we're thinking ahead to our first open house. What advice can you give us to help make sure our open house goes as well as possible? Thanks!"
This is a question every home seller should ask. If you're selling a home, you'll most likely have to do an open house or two. Open houses are a great way to introduce your home to home buyers and agents. Homes get more attention when they've just the market, so it's important to use an open house to its full potential in generating interest and excitement among buyers and agents as quickly as possible.
The best way to do this is to make sure your home is in "showing shape". Here's how to prep for an open house in 11 simple steps:
- outdated and/or fussy curtains
- artificial flower arrangements
- framed family photographs
- every magnet, photo, and piece of paper affixed to your refrigerator
- all toiletries and personal hygiene products
- trash cans
- half (or more!) of whatever is on your kitchen counter, coffee table, bathroom vanity, bedroom dresser, and closet/cupboard shelves
2. Do a deep-clean. Don't just put your stuff away, but deep-clean, too. That means shaking out rugs, wiping down baseboards, scrubbing the grout in your bathroom, etc. Make your home sparkle!
3. Get rid of pet smells. Pet smells can be pervasive -- yet sometimes we pet lovers don't always notice them in our own homes. Unfortunately, potential home buyers will likely notice right away. So change the litter and move the litter box to the garage; wash your textiles (curtains, throw blankets, bedspreads, etc.); use a pet-specific floor or rug cleaner; and shake out and/or vacuum your couch cushions. (DON'T simply try to mask these smells with a strong-smelling candle or air freshener. See #6, below!)
- Arrange your living space so the seating elements face each other — not the television set. Imagine three or four people visiting in your living room; can they all sit down and comfortably converse?
- Rooms usually feel more spacious when you can see all four corners. Move your furniture (and possibly remove some pieces, if need be) so that all four corners are furniture-free.
- Pay attention to traffic patterns — can you easily move through each room without having to navigate around large pieces of furniture or squeeze through tight spaces?
6. Avoid strongly scented candles, air fresheners, etc. Strong smells can bother people who have allergies or who are sensitive to chemicals, and they suggest you're trying to mask something. Instead, do a thorough deep-clean to get rid of any odors at their source, then open windows or turn on fans prior to the open house to increase air flow for a naturally pleasant-smelling interior.
7. Stage your bathroom. Put out fresh, clean hand towels, bath mats, soap, etc., in each bathroom -- consider making a "bathroom staging kit" so that you re-use the same hand towels and other supplies each time, then store them away until the next showing.