Preparing Your Open House
Despite the fact that we’re living in a digital age, online photos do not take the place of a physical open house. However, considering 90 percent of individuals start searching for a new home online, they can help drive potential buyers to your property. With that in mind, it’s essential to prep your abode so that it’s clean and appealing in photos and in person — because it’s not uncommon for people to snoop in cabinets, closets, and drawers. While the majority of the groundwork is relatively easy, don’t leave it to the last minute or you’re liable to overlook a crucial detail that can make or break a sale. We will help you take a good (and honest) look around your home and create an action plan for success.
Choose a Date
When choosing a date, Saturday and Sunday afternoon tends to be popular — usually a time frame between four and five hours — but not if it’s a holiday, community celebration, or Sunday event like the Superbowl. If possible, try to avoid days with bad weather, as people are less likely to show up.
Declutter and Depersonalize
One of the most crucial, yet undeniably difficult, aspects of the staging process is depersonalization. Getting rid of clutter means taking care of piles of mail on the table, too many shoes in the entryway, and an overabundance of toiletries in the bathroom. However, depersonalizing means stowing away family photos, anything related to your pet (to include removing your pet from the home during an open house, if possible), trophies and awards, collections (whether it’s guns, ducks, or thimbles), and overly themed decor that’s specific to a destination or hobby. However, don’t take this step personally. The ultimate goal is to create a neutral living space so that it’s easier for potential buyers to picture themselves living there.
Remove Pet Odors and Stains
Just because you remove your pet and its things do not mean you’ve completely gotten rid of the evidence that a furry friend is living in your home. Lingering odors and stains are a dead giveaway that you’ve got an animal. Even though you may be immune to the scent, it’s worth hiring a professional to conduct a deep-clean. DIY spot treatments can work in a major pinch, but pros have industrial-strength supplies and equipment, as well as the expertise, to give you the confidence you need to have a successful open house. Keep in mind that if your surfaces continue to smell and/or show evidence of stains, replacing the materials is your best bet.
The small details are just as important as the more laborious tasks involved in preparing for an open house, so don’t overlook them. For example:
● Make sure the yard is well-manicured, which should include a freshly mowed lawn, trimmed bushes, and flower patches void of weeds.
● Remove trash from curb, newspapers/junk mail from front porch or yard.
● Air out the house at least one hour before showing.
● Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
● Put toilet seats down.
● Make sure all artwork is hanging straight.
● Create ambiance by lighting the fireplace (if applicable) or candles, playing soft music, simmering a pot of cinnamon sticks on the stove, adding fresh floral arrangements in common areas, opening all blinds and drapes, and turning on enough lighting fixtures depending on the time of day.
Suzie Wilson, an interior designer with over 20 years of experience says, “remember, the very first impression a potential buyer is likely to see are online photos and/or videos, so don’t post anything until you have properly prepped your home. Maintain as much accuracy as possible to avoid disappointment or showcase a false sense of advertising. You don’t want to get a bad reputation, or it will only be harder to offload your home”.