By Liz Dominguez
While saying goodbye to summer means less trips and less planning, it also means an opportunity to get more visitors through your door for an open house. The biggest mistakes you can make is having an open house that is not memorable, or having one that is remembered for the wrong reasons. These events are your chance to make a strong positive impression to the buying public. Here are four tips for hosting an effective open house.
Keep it tidy. No one wants to walk into a mess. Open house visitors are trying to envision themselves living in the home. Things like overflowing closets and packed countertops make the home seem smaller than it is. You want to sell the idea that your home has more than enough space. Clear all surfaces and put anything you don’t need into storage.
Make sure there aren’t dirty dishes in the sink and that countertops are wiped down.
Bedrooms should be neat and beds should be made. Even small things like dirty grout in a bathroom will stick with potential buyers. Mirrors, surfaces and tubs should also be cleaned. Double check that your medicine and under-sink cabinets are organized and presentable.
Make sure it smells neutral. You may not notice if your home has a distinct smell, but your visitors will. This is especially true if you have pets. Make sure that litter boxes are cleaned up if you have cats. Vacuum and dust to ensure that animal hair is not prominent as this will also give off a smell. If possible, have carpets cleaned as well.
If you spray anything to offset the smell, don’t overdo it. Open house visitors are also able to tell if you’re trying to mask something. Keep it as neutral as possible and smelling clean.
You can even bake some chocolate chip cookies right before your open house. There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked goods. Just be careful if you decide to leave food or drinks out for your visitors. You never know if you’ll come across allergy issues or if something can be a choking hazard.
Keep it bright. There’s nothing worse than loving the curb appeal of a house only to walk into a dark and depressing space. Turn all lights on for an open house and draw up any shades. You’ll be amazed how much a space opens up with a little bit of light. This is especially important for rooms with low ceilings or dark paint colors.
If you have special lighting in the kitchen (under cabinets or inside cabinets), make sure those are turned on. Same goes with under-hood lighting.
Be prepared. While visual elements make up a big part of the open house experience, visitors will also remember the information they walked away with. Things like utility costs and snow removal companies may seem like small details, but buyers like to have as much information up front before they decide to invest in a home. If they don’t have to work hard to get property information from you, they will take it as a sign that you are ready to sell and will be easy to work with. Gather up as many details as possible, such as recent renovations, roof year, utility information, etc.
Open house visitors can tell when you’re making an effort for them. Not only will they feel like they’re home, but they will be armed with the necessary information to put an offer on your property.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s Associate Content Editor. Email her your story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.