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4 Things You Must Do to Your Home Before Hosting an Open House


People have been selling their homes for hundreds of years, and people have been focused on the proper staging of homes for open houses for decades. So there are tried-and-true techniques that make your home much more attractive and greatly increase the chance of getting a quick, respectable offer. Here are some must-dos when it comes to holding a successful open house.


Give your home a deep clean

This may seem like a given, but it’s shocking how many home sellers think that a quick vacuuming will do the trick. Potential home buyers are, at their core, inspectors. They’re looking to find something wrong with your home. If they find dirt and grime, it’s hard to swing them in a positive direction. An open house is an event where it’s worth it to spend a weekend giving your home a deep clean or even hire some professional cleaning help.


Take personality, politics, and religion out of the house

There’s a time and place to promote your own family, political beliefs, and faith. During an open house is not one of those times. You should remove anything that tips a particular religious adherence or political leaning or simply personalizes the house in any way. Your potential home buyers come from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. It’s best not to offend. Beyond that, people shopping for a new home want to be able to imagine themselves in your home. It’s hard to do that in a home filled with photos of a stranger’s kids and pets, campaign signs, and religious imagery.

“There should be a sense of neutrality in the house … you want to depersonalize the house. Remove personal photos (and) religious, political and racy art,” a real estate firm VP tells Bankrate.


Neutralize odors

Even if your house does not smell bad, it smells like you and your family/pets. Strong smells, even if relatively pleasant, are unfamiliar. And weird smells are a turnoff to almost any home buyer. Be smart. Don’t cook a big batch of salmon the night before the open house. Do your best to deodorize (the aforementioned deep cleaning will help with that). But beyond that, you need to take steps to mask your home’s natural odor. Air fresheners and even candles can trigger allergies and headaches in some people, so avoid these if possible. Instead, opt for some more natural ways to make your home smell great.


Give potential buyers something to take with them

Most people going to open houses are going to multiple open houses, which is to say they are shopping around for their perfect fit and are going to see a lot of homes. You can increase your chances of sticking in their head and standing out if they have something physical to take away with them. A REALTOR® might prepare a packet for open house guests to take with them, but you can go above and beyond. The Balance suggests offering a page of printed photos, showcasing the home in different seasons/weather. For example, your garden may look phenomenal during the spring, but no one will know if you’re hosting a fall open house.


Remember, an open house is a chance to showcase your home at its absolute best—a way to show potential buyers all its potential. You only have a few minutes to pique their interest. If your home is still on the market after a while, it may not be a problem with the home itself. It could be a problem with its staging.


About the Author

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.


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