Set the Stage for a Successful Open House
While many house hunters start their initial search online, photos or a short video can’t replace an in-person visit. With that in mind, anything you’re potentially hiding with Photoshop or stuffing into a closet can’t be disguised during an open house. Before opening your door to a potential buyer, make sure your home is as showroom ready as possible.
Turn Decluttering Into An Opportunity To Start Packing
There’s no reason to wait until someone signs on the dotted line to start prepping for a move. Clutter is among one of the top turn-offs for house hunters. It’s also a major distraction from viewing the property, so do yourself a favor by purging and packing prior to your relocation. While many people choose to start packing by room, it can actually be more helpful to focus on a specific category. For example, books — getting heavy items out of the way first. Make five piles (pack, display, sell, toss, donate) and handle each one accordingly immediately after decluttering. Don’t forget to write down everything you’re donating for tax purposes.
Keep in mind that one of the most important things during this process is to depersonalize all items including personal photographs, niche decor (think a fishing theme), certificates and trophies, pet paraphernalia, toiletries and other personal items. It’s important that you create a neutral space where potential buyers can picture their own things. Consider storing boxes out of sight in the garage, in a temporary storage facility or your new abode if applicable.
Hire A Pro To Remove Pet Odors And Stains
Pet urine can be extremely difficult to remove — if at all — so put down the store-bought cleaner and pick up your phone and call a professional cleaner to remove stains and odors. Make sure you hire a company that steam cleans with a hot-water extraction method as any other process is liable to bring out the odors even more. If all else fails, you will have to remove the carpeting and/or furniture if you still detect an odor as it’s likely that it will cost you a sale.
The Devil Is In The Details
You may be so focused on the big-ticket items that you overlook smaller yet equally important details like cleaning the pool, power washing the deck, trimming the trees and bushes, making sure all the lighting fixtures are operating properly, and removing weeds between brick entryways. Have an outside source like a neighbor or loved one do a walkthrough of your home prior to the viewing to serve as a second set of eyes.
Extra Touches Count
Have a few light refreshments out — think lemonade and fruit in the summer, hot cocoa and cookies during cooler months. While there’s a debate on whether or not to play music as it’s completely personal, as long as it matches your home, market and the volume is low. Soft jazz (not elevator music), calming classical or “coffeehouse”-type tunes work well. Basic is best.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years’ experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.