The “Big Day” is planned and an Open House is just around the corner – QUICK, what do you do??
If the home is currently lived in, my best advice is to make the home feel warm and inviting – yet, less “personal.” I don’t think it is necessary to hire someone to clean your house, unless you just don’t have the time or energy. When a home is lived in, there are going to be “things” out and the house will look lived in (especially if you have young children.) IT’s OK – really. The expectations of the buying public would be able to walk-thru (without having to step over laundry or “stuff”) and actually SEE what the home has to offer for them. Meaning, if you are a hunting enthusiast and you have a room dedicated to the collection of “heads” or skins or even stuffed animals – it might not really represent the STUDY the buyer was looking for.
The most important rooms are the Kitchen and Bathrooms, to offer the cleanliness and space that most everyone is looking for in these rooms. If you are not using the canisters – take them off the counter. Think about what you LIKE about the house and spotlight those features. Now, think about what you DON’T like and either do something to “fix” the problem or at least not draw attention to it.
VERY IMPORTANT: While everyone does there best to keep the flow of the Open House moving, sometimes there will be groups of people that attend and walk-thru. For this reason, ANY personal / valuable items you have should be removed and certainly OUT of plain sight. Medications in the bathroom should be something most people would not even look at – let alone bother, but it is BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. Jewelry boxes and personal effects should also be considered OFF LIMITS to look at – but again, BSTS. I do my best (as do most agents) to try and watch over the house and the contents while the Open House is going on.
You will be amazed at how much just de-cluttering a place can do to make the house feel more spacious and welcoming! You do want good lighting – open curtains, blinds or replace light bulbs. Strong odors are not recommended (either good or bad) so don’t go too heavy on the potpourri or spices while cooking before you leave. YES, I did say “leave.” It is strongly recommended that Sellers NOT be present while the Open House is taking place, simply to allow for buyers to walk-thru and make comments without causing any uncomfortable situations. If there is a reason why you are not able to leave, make sure you discuss this with me (or other agent should I not be the one who has your property listed.) Given ample notice of particular circumstances allows for everyone to be more comfortable with how the day will need to proceed.
If you have pets, take them with you or have them in an area that will not be expected to be explored by Potential Buyers during the Open House. If your pets roam the yard and may have “used” the bathroom, it is best if the area is cleaned so that no-one has the misfortune of stepping in and bringing into the house.
Also, if you are not sure how your house will be perceived, ask a neighbor or friend to come over and give you their opinion. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes or a new nose will help offer an impartial yet friendly guide to what you could do to make the house “better” for the Open House.
If the property is VACANT – sometimes, a little furniture is better than leaving everything out of the home. It just helps for people to walk into a room and know this is where a chair could go – or they decide they wouldn’t have a chair. While “neutral” has been the thing – it is still good to have a splash of color (either a picture or a scarf over a chair will work.) Again, think of what attracted you to the property and spotlight that feature.
With the media coverage of recent crimes involving Realtors and Open Houses – I do take precautions to provide for my own protection and that of the house and property I am given charge of for the event. Your understanding and cooperation will not only help to make the Open House a success – but also a Safe Event for us all. I do ask for guests to Register, just as a means of knowing who has had the access for that time. If a guest does not sign in, I can ask them to leave or allow the access with limitations. If at any point I feel either I or the property are in danger, necessary actions will be taken.
I will provide you with an update as to how things went, usually within a day of the event taking place. Sometimes I can update you right away, but other times – if appointments are set for after the open house – I may not be able to respond as quickly.
Variations on Open Houses are sometimes MORE appealing – it you’d like to talk about what that could mean – I’ll be glad to share some ideas that have worked really well in the past. Afterall, my purpose is to get as many people through your property so that the right buyer can be found!