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Prepping Your Home for an Open House: How to Do It Right

Prepping Your Home for an Open House: How to Do It Right

If you’re in the market to sell your home, be prepared to have an open house for potential buyers. That means you need to get your home ready to make the best impression. Whether you have an immaculate house with no pets or children, or you’re giving the Addams family a run for their money, there are several things to remember when hosting an open house. Here are some tips about what you need to get right.

First, you’ll need to walk around your home, inside and out, and look at it like you’ve never seen it before. Buyers will be looking for anything broken or dirty, so you want to do the same. Make a list of everything that needs repair or cleaning, as well as normal maintenance like tree or shrub pruning, washing windows inside and out, and sweeping the garage. The list will dictate what you should do next.

Any major repairs or updates should be taken care of first so that you have time to schedule the work. Are the wood floors or carpet in need of replacing, or will a good cleaning be sufficient? Does the exterior need a new paint job or pressure wash? How about a new coat of paint on the front door? Repainting interior rooms that are overly dark or in “expressive” colors (think anything not neutral) will go a long way toward helping potential buyers see themselves in your home.

Once those fixes are done, you can look into deep cleaning the house. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company because they will get to everything, including what you might forget like baseboards, ceiling fan blades, etc. According to HomeAdvisor, the average house cleaning (interior) price is $116 - $222 for maid service. You want your house to be spotless, so it’s worth the money to have professionals do it, plus you’ll save yourself several hours of work.

Once your house is clean and in good repair, you can look to surface touches like new towels and soap in the bathrooms and a new welcome mat at the front door. If you can’t afford new bed coverings, get a nice, luxurious looking throw for the bed and/or furniture that needs recovering. Declutter your rooms by taking out one large piece of furniture per room and then stage them for entertaining, not for living. Your living room and entryway, especially, should look pristine. Don’t forget your closets and storage spaces because buyers will definitely look at them. Make sure they’re not overflowing, or home buyers will worry that there’s not enough storage space. Remove anything that doesn’t fit neatly. Also remove any items not included in the sale like the new, expensive dishwasher you want to take with you. If buyers don’t see something, they can’t expect to get it with the house.

Think about hotel bathrooms and make yours look the same (no toothbrushes in sight, shiny fixtures, etc.). Kitchen counters should also be cleared of most everything except for the coffee pot. Remember, you want potential buyers to see themselves in your space, not you. Remove family photos and knickknacks, as well as valuable personal items and prescription medications. Get a big rubber bin to put in your car for anything valuable that you’ll want to remove from the house on that day.

On the morning of the open house, walk through and stand in each doorway and see what you notice. It should be clean, bright, and uncluttered. If it’s not, fix it. Open all window blinds or shades to let in as much sunlight as possible. Stage a meal setting on your dining room table if you’re not providing snacks and beverages. If you have a back deck or patio, put a pitcher of water or lemonade and glasses out there, too. Freshly baked cookies or fresh flowers also add a nice, aromatic touch. Finally, you’ll want to be prepared to leave for the duration of the open house unless you don’t have a realtor hosting it. If you’re hovering around, potential buyers might not feel comfortable talking openly about what they like and dislike. And if you have pets, take them with you or arrange for them to be out of the house as well.

An open house is a lot of work, but it can really make a difference in what potential buyers think when they see your home. It can also increase the number of potential buyers who see the house, which is a good thing. You’re on your way to a new home and to getting the most out of the sale. Good luck!

Article WRITTEN BY: Suzie Wilson

Interior Designer, Author, Creator of

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