You've got your home on the market and your agent suggests holding an open house. What does this mean for you? Why would you want your agent to hold an open house? What are things you should do to prepare your home for the public (yes, that includes your interested neighbors) to see?
An open house means your agent (or an agent from her brokerage) sets up signs around your neighborhood and major streets directing anyone who passes by or who lives in your area to your home. Usually for a set time, and usually on a weekend, an open house is a great way to potentially secure a buyer for your home and markets the home to those interested in that particular area.
There are 10 main way to prepare your home for an open house.
1. De-clutter surfaces. This may seem obvious, but take time to clear your counter tops, even if it's cute containers or often used appliances, like toasters or blenders.
2. Take half of everything that's in ANY closet and stow it away. You want your storage space to seem ample, not overflowing, even if it's organized.
3. Clean! Again, this may seem obvious, but taking more time the night before to really get the home sparkling may mean less time on the market and a better buyer.
4. Change out any burnt out light bulbs and turn on every light. "The house is the body and the lights are the soul," says successful East Valley agent, Lori Wood. Make your home's soul bright and consistently ON.
5. Put away any prescription medications into a safe or other secure location. This may seem odd, but it's the most often stolen item from people's homes during open houses. Enough said.
6. Beautify the outside of your home as best you can. Plant new flowers, mow the grass, trim the trees; you want it to look like someone who cares lives there.
7. Remove family photos from the walls. This may seem extreme, but selling a home is about allowing a potential buyer to see herself living there. Your family photos, as darling as they surely are, mean distraction and you don't want that. Also, you never know what prejudices people carry and it's just another way to ensure they focus on the house, not on who is selling it. I believe it's also a safety issue.
8. Remove any religious articles, signs of political leanings or racy art/photographs. This is for the reasons listed in #7. Think neutral in all things: paint colors, ideologies, etc.
9. Make the entire house available. It may seem tempting to pile everything into the garage and then make that off-limits but it's a mistake. Even if the garage is full, make it as neat and organized as possible and make it accessible.
10. Consider offering water or refreshment to open house attendees. You don't have to offer a catered lunch or anything! But it's a nice touch and shows appreciation for a potential buyer. I suggest attaching a small card with ribbon to allow them to take something with them that gives some reminder of your home.
Many people associate pain with selling a home but it doesn't have to be a chore. Feeling confident that you are putting your best foot forward can give you the satisfaction that the right buyer will most certainly come along.
Maybe from your next open house.
(If you know someone who has their home on the market or is thinking of having their agent hold an open house, please share!)
Thanks for reading! Remember it's not just real estate, its home.