Open House Checklist for Sellers

The open house is a key tool for buyers and sellers alike, providing a simple way to show a property or to begin your house hunt. While many prospective buyers express interest in a property directly through an agent, others find their dream home at an open house.

As a seller, an open house is among the best opportunities to make a first impression. The seller’s failure to plan ahead can mean a lack of interest by prospective buyers and potentially the loss of a sale. This open house checklist can make sure you’re prepared, no matter who walks through your doors.

Deep Clean Before an Open House

You may be able to see the potential of your home beyond the clutter, but potential buyers may not feel the same way. Ideally, you want your house to be as clean as possible, showcasing the best of what your property has to offer.

Before an open house, commit to deep cleaning every space that may potentially be seen by guests, including closets, spaces under beds, and behind appliances. This should go beyond your normal house cleaning; your deep clean should be intended to tackle every nook and cranny, no matter how insignificant. A beautiful and well-maintained home is the best representation of your property.

Remove Any Valuable Belongings

By and large, people are trustworthy, but accidents do happen. In order to prevent loss or damage to anything of value, like computers, personal documents, passports, medical records, or jewelry, remove these items and store them in a safe spot. This can mean a personal or bank safe that is kept away from visitors.

Remove Pets From the Home

Cats and dogs – or fish, reptiles, rabbits, and any other animal that meets your fancy – are among the most important members of your family, but your furry, feathered, or scaled friends don’t belong at an open house. Far too many people are allergic to animals or aren’t comfortable around others’ pets, creating challenging situations that may result in a negative perception of a property.

Further, guests visiting the house can be stressful for animals, creating the possibility of emotional distress or poor behavior. Before opening the doors to buyers, make alternate arrangements for Fluffy or Fido.

Eliminate Clutter Before Open Houses

Most people live in harmony with clutter. It builds on bookshelves, desks, or the counter, and it’s a natural part of life. However, when hosting an open house, getting rid of as much clutter as possible is a must. A few piles of magazines, newspapers, or unopened mail can send the wrong message, no matter how well you clean.

If you simply have too much stuff, like excess furniture that makes your home seem cramped and small, bookshelves overflowing with superfluous books and papers, or anything else negatively impacting the look of your home, consider renting a storage unit. Generally affordable, particularly when used as short-term rentals, a storage unit can help you declutter your home to create the best possible appearance.

Impress Buyers by Staging Your Property

Staging is a hot trend in the real estate industry, and for good reason. Decorating or redecorating can do wonders to transform a space, helping buyers to see potential they may have otherwise missed. Staging can be small, like painting walls a modern color or trading worn-out throw rugs for new ones, or large, like renting an entirely new set of furniture.

The extent of staging required varies greatly from one property to another. In most cases, your real estate agent can help you identify places in need of modification. It’s important to be aware that staging isn’t just for show – when done effectively, savvy staging can add thousands to the sale price of a home. Many buyers are influenced by the way a home looks currently rather than how it may look in the future, so providing a compelling canvas can be a great way to facilitate a sale.

Minimize Smells

In the days leading up to your open house, try not to cook foods with strong smells or partake in any other activities that may result in unnatural scents, like smoking indoors. Consider opening all windows for a day or two, weather permitting, to ensure guests won’t encounter stale or malodorous air during the open house.

Maximize Light Before Home Tours

Light, airy spaces are always more appealing, so be sure your home can be seen in the best possible light – in more ways than one. Here are a few ways to brighten your space:

  • Open all curtains and clean glass thoroughly to allow as much sunlight as possible.
  • If you have any kind of dim or dull light fixtures throughout your home, consider changing bulbs to a brighter alternative.
  • Swapping out lamps for something newer and more modern.

Leave During the Open House

While it might be tempting to stick around to hear how your home compares to others on the market, many buyers don’t like spending time with the sellers. While this might seem counterintuitive as no one knows more about your home than you do, some buyers don’t feel comfortable asking challenging questions around current homeowners. Instead of hanging around and trying to inspire a sale, make yourself scarce and let your agent do the hard part.

Selling a home is never easy, but a successful open house can be a great way to accumulate valuable leads. However, to do this, proper preparation is a must. In order to make the best possible first impression, sellers need to make the process a priority, from dedicating time to cleaning to investing in the staging recommendations of professionals. With the right attitude, this open house checklist for sellers can ensure you get the best possible results from your efforts.

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