How to Prepare for an Open House: 7 Tips to Make the Home Look Too Good to Pass Up

how to prepare for an open house

You’d be amazed by what you can buy on Amazon these days.

Although you technically could buy an entire furnished and pre-built home online, investing in a home is not something most people want to leave up to chance. Most of us want to see a potential new house in person before committing to anything.

This means open houses are still crucially important when selling property, even in this digital age. To learn more about how to prepare for an open house, keep reading.

Spread the Word Early

A good open house takes weeks or even months to prepare for correctly. You can’t procrastinate and wing this like your high school math final.

Take this time to make hard decisions. You may even decide an open house wouldn’t be worth the cost of making everything showroom ready and opt to sell to a property firm instead; these homebuyers pay for homes as they are, so you don’t have to do any extra work.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say operation open house is a go.

Start getting the word out that you’re holding an open house at least a month in advance. Advertise online, post in newspapers, tell your friends on Facebook, talk to coworkers—everyone. Invite your real estate agent over to do a sweep through and tell you what changes to make before your open house showing.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Cleaning for an open house is not your average deep-clean.

This time around, you’ll need to spot-touch any chipped paint, declutter as much as possible, rearrange furniture, and maybe even redo your decor.

Many homeowners go as far as paying contractors to reframe doors, polish floors, and replace carpets. Absolutely any small changes that used to bother you need to be addressed now, before potential buyers get the chance to judge your property for them.

Up Your Curb Appeal

The outside of your home needs to make a great first impression too.

If you have the budget, invest in landscapers to make the outside of your property as visually appealing as possible. This may mean ripping out dead shrubs and trees or redoing the lawn.

Don’t forget to power wash the driveway and sidewalks, and repaint the garage door if you need to.

Make the First 15 Seconds Count

According to Helen Bartlett of Kansas City Home Stagers, “Buyers connect with a home emotionally within 15 seconds of walking through the front door.”

This means you need to be conscious of what buyers will be seeing as soon as they walk in. Where is the flow of traffic going to go? How well does your natural lighting warm up the space as soon as they walk in?

Touring your own house with a fresh perspective will help you decide what small ambiance changes need to happen to make buyers feel welcome.

Remove Personal Items

Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a personal touch.

While it’s fine to leave your furniture, lamps, kitchenware, and such inside while you prepare your open house, you still need your home to look like a showroom. Buyers will understand you’re still living in the property, but on the day of the open house, your bedroom should look like a bedroom furniture display at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

This means hiding all of your:

  • Clothes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Family photos and heirlooms
  • Sentimental items that don’t fit the decor theme, etc.

Take this step in phases instead of trying to do it all in one day. The day of the showing is the time to open the windows and do a last spray of air freshener—not the time to drive your ugly college futon to your storage unit.

Pay for Professional Photos

This tip cannot be understated: the photos you post will make or break your open house.

Just like selling anything online, photos make a huge difference in response to your open house ads and real estate listings. If you could only spend money on one service to prep for this open house, make sure you invest in a photographer who can help you make the best home photos possible.

Real estate and open house photography is a professional niche, just like good wedding photography or actor headshots. You won’t have to pay them as much as you would with a wedding photographer, but an experienced staging photographer is worth the investment.

Speaking of important tips that don’t get mentioned enough…

Provide a Taste of the Neighborhood

Engage all of your buyers’ senses on open house day!

Instead of basic cheese and crackers, help your home stand out by providing appetizers from local restaurants throughout the day. This will create a great opportunity for you to talk about all the cool local businesses nearby.

You may even want to stock up on locally made candles, incense, or table decor pieces from small businesses in your area. Go ahead, brag about your community! After all, the quality of the neighborhood is a huge factor in every home buyer’s decision.

Learn More About How to Prepare for an Open House

Figuring out how to prepare for an open house is an art form. No seriously, there are people who dedicate their entire careers to staging open houses for property owners.

While we could have kept these home staging tips going for ages, following these first seven steps is a fantastic place to start.

For even more general real estate and home-related posts, check out more of our blog!


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