An open house is one of the best opportunities to sell your home. A properly run open house is more than just a walk-through; it also showcases your home. It is also an opportunity to get your house in front of as many potential buyers as possible. However, because of the competition for buyers, it’s important to make sure your home looks its best. Successful open houses require a combination of planning, marketing, and cleaning.
Planning for the Open House
A DIY open house can be challenging for a homeowner. Success requires an ability to remove oneself from personal attachment to the home. An objective perspective is necessary, as our natural tendency is to see value in our homes that might not be apparent to an outsider. Custom colors based on our preferences may clash with that of a prospective buyer, and our overall ability to depersonalize a home can be clouded by personal feelings. Before any of the hands-on work for an open house is done, make sure that you develop an objective plan.
A pre-open house marketing plan determines not only the asking price for the home but clearly defines the ideal purchaser. This knowledge, in turn, will drive how the open house is marketed and what steps you may take to prepare your house for the big bay.
Create Curb Appeal
An important marketing consideration is making your home as physically attractive as possible from the outside. Before the open house, buyers will drive by and scope out what you are offering. If your home looks rough from the outdoors, people won’t want to come inside for a closer look. Curb appeal is so fundamental to real estate sales that it’s a good idea even if you are not planning on having an open house. A nice exterior and well-maintained lawn draws buyers.
Here are some ideas for creating curb appeal:
- Invest in landscaping. A manicured lawn, pruned trees, and well-tended flower beds look great and are inexpensive. Prior to listing your house, invest the small amount of money needed for mulch — it will make your home’s outside look like new.
- Clean your driveway. Even if visitors aren’t parking in your driveway, they will walk the length of it to get to your door. Sweep any loose asphalt, hose or pressure wash away any oil spills, and scrub away any moss on walkways.
- Make your entranceway Paint your front door — surveys show that blue is a popular color. Update porch lighting. Put a wreath on the front door, and add a nice potted plant nearby. These little things make entering the open house more pleasant.
Declutter and Clean
When visitors come to your open house, they do not want to see a lived-in home. Your chances at getting an offer increase when prospective buyers can picture themselves living in the house. This requires depersonalizing by adding neutral colors and removing as many personal effects as possible. On one end of the spectrum is a good and thorough cleaning — on the other end is staging. Staging is the process of hiring a professional to completely depersonalize your home and make it look like a showcase home. Staging is expensive. By following some of its general principles, however, many of the benefits of staging can be realized in a DIY application.
Give your home a fresh coat of interior paint in a neutral color. Clean closets to show storage options in the home. Reduce your furniture and focus each room into sitting areas.
With an open house plan, you can take advantage of the prime opportunity to showcase your home. Neutralize, declutter, and give buyers a reason to want to attend your open house and you’ll increase the likelihood of an offer.
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.