OPEN HOUSE TIPS
Conducting an open house is a good way to show your property to many people in a short amount of time. While your REALTOR will advertise and manage the event, it is up to you to make sure that your home is in showing condition.
Here are some things you can do to make a great first impression.
Start with the outside:
- Do a visual check of the front of the house from across the street. Does it have curb appeal? It should look inviting with a trimmed lawn and flower bed and a freshly painted front door.
- Polish door handles and knockers and replace worn items such as a rusty doorbell.
- Consider adding a new doormat and flowering plants at the entrance.
- Do the windows need cleaning?
- Are there oil stains in the driveway that need removing?
- While outside, don’t forget to check the side and back yards.
- Add some flowering plants to the back as well.
- Rearrange the outdoor furniture to look inviting.
- Put away gardening tools.
- Tidy around the grill area.
Now the inside:
- Cleanliness, space, smell, and lighting are the key.
- Get your house in tip top condition by cleaning and clearing away clutter.
- Vacuum the carpet, maybe even steam clean.
- Make sure your floors are clean and shiny.
- Touch up nicks on walls and make sure the porcelain sinks and tubs shine.
- All metallic fixtures and surfaces should shine.
- Your kitchen and bathrooms should pass the white glove test.
- Be conscious of any lingering odors such as smoke, pets or strong-smelling foods. You may need to air out your home prior to the open house.
- Consider grinding fresh lemons in the garbage disposal.
- And don’t forget to empty out all the trash.
- Look at your counter tops in the kitchen, bathrooms, and the tops of your bureaus. Do they seem cluttered? Clear away and store as much as possible. You want your home to seem spacious.
- Make any small repairs that you can.
- Next, set the mood. You want buyers to be able to picture your home as their own.
- You may want to rearrange the furniture so that rooms look more spacious.
- Add accessories from rooms with too many furnishings to those that are bare.
- Lighting is also important to creating an atmosphere.
- Bright lights provide a cheerful environment and make a small space appear larger.
- Pull back all drapes and open the blinds.
- Turn on all the lights.
- Make sure all the light sockets have working bulbs and install the maximum-wattage bulb that is safe for that fixture.
- For rooms that you want to have a warm, cozy feeling, use softer light.
- Don’t forget little touches such as fresh flowers, lit candles in the bathrooms, new logs in the fireplace, or a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.
- You may even want to set your dining room table with colour coordinated place settings.
- Some of the people coming to your home may be thieves. Make sure that all valuables are put away.
- You may want to be out of the house for the open house so that the viewers will be free to discuss the home without worrying about hurting any feelings.
- Consider taking your pets with you or ask someone to watch them so that they are not a distraction to the open house. This is also courteous to those who may have any allergies.
*Information from Real Estate Weekly, April 15, 2009