You’ve decided to hold an open house to help sell your home. Think of it as your chance to showcase it. Here are several crucial steps to take in preparation for the big day.
Acquire the buyer’s perspective. Set aside your emotional attachment to your home and think about it as a potential buyer will — as a major purchase. You may want to go as far as role playing the part of buyer. If you were considering buying this house, what would you notice, both in terms of pluses and minuses? Think as if you were seeing this house for the first time.
Fix what’s broken. During an open house a buyer isn’t going to turn on appliances, climb on the roof or check for a level foundation. An inspector will do that later. But leaning fences, a broken door knob or split trim boards likely will catch a buyer’s eye and must be fixed. One often overlooked item: the front door. When a buyer walks up to the front door, is it attractively painted or stained? Remember, neglected fix-it items give the general impression that bigger, hidden defects are possible.
Make it sparkle. Either roll up your sleeves and clean the place top to bottom and inside out, or hire a professional cleaning service to do it. One key item: clean windows. You will be opening all the curtains and blinds to admit as much light as possible so the windows must shine. Don’t forget to remove the window screens to bring in even more light. Consider a fresh coat of paint in those rooms that appear tired or dated.
Declutter and depersonalize. Go through the house, the closets and the garage with ruthless efficiency and either sell, give away or toss items that aren’t used or loved. Clutter can give the appearance of a much smaller home with little storage space. Also, put away the pictures of your children or grandchildren. Store the trophies and keepsake collections. They are distractions to buyers.
Make your house a home. Prepare a three-ring binder of information about your house, the surrounding neighborhood and the town. Include such information as your home’s utility costs, neighborhood amenities and events that make it special, and information on nearby schools, parks and shopping.
Professional staging. Strongly consider hiring a professional stager to arrange furniture strategically and add accent pieces to make your home “pop” with style.
On the big day. Be sure sales flyers are in place for potential buyers to take with them. Immediately before the open house, air out the house or burn a scented candle to get rid of cooking odors. Leave the rest to your real estate agent.