- First and foremost, it pays to be clean. Keep your house as clean as possible for showings, but when you’ve got an open house scheduled, it’s time for a thorough clean. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, it pays to invest in a professional cleaning service for a one time deep clean.
- The sense of smell is one of our strongest. Offensive or mysterious odours will turn off any prospective buyers. If you have pets, you need to be vigilant regarding pet odour. It’s easy to become used to the smell of your home, so if you’re unsure if it’s fresh, ask a friend to give you an honest opinion.
- Keep your house as uncluttered as possible. Put away any personal items such as pictures or figurines. You want people to imagine themselves living there, not you. If you have children enlist their aid in keeping their rooms tidy. To make rooms appear larger and more spacious, consider storing small items of furniture that you may not need for the time being (think book shelves, foot stools, coffee tables, etc.)
- Look for hazards. Make sure there are no cords or frayed carpets where people will trip. If you have a loose patio stone on the walk, now is the time to fix it. Make sure all light bulbs are also working and that there is sufficient illumination.
- Set the atmosphere to put them in the mood. Buy fresh flowers and put them in vases. Bake bread or cookies the morning of your open house. If you’re not baking inclined, a small drop of vanilla on a diffuser gives the same effect. Avoid heavy air fresheners and home fragrances. You don’t know if someone with allergies may come through your home. Use music as well. Soft jazz or light classical playing in the background makes the home more welcoming.
- Don’t neglect the outside. This is the first impression people are going to have of your home. Trim your hedges, cut the grass, weed the flower beds and sweep the walk.
- It pays to advertise. Advertise your open house in the newspaper and buy putting signs around your neighbourhood, usually the day before the open house. Your realtor will be able to help with this step.
- You shouldn’t be there, but you can have your say. Does your garden look great in summer, but it’s winter now? Is the landscape breathtaking in autumn but it’s summer now? You can leave a few pictures to demonstrate some of your property’s assets if they won’t be visible to the attendees at your open house.
- Put your valuables away. Now is not the time to put your display of rare coins on display. The majority of people who come to open houses are honest people, but you certainly don’t want to fall prey to the very small minority who are not.
- Don’t be home. It is tempting to stay and hear what people have to say and to be able to point out the house’s features while obscuring its’ flaws. This is the realtor’s job – to present an honest, unbiased look at your home. It’s easier on you and on your open house attendees if you can make arrangements to be elsewhere. If you have pets, take them with you if you can. If not, leave them with an understanding neighbour or make arrangements to have them safely away in the house with an arrangement with your realtor regarding when and how the pet will be allowed out.