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10 Tips for Preparing Your Home for an Open House

posted Apr 23, 2014, 6:36 AM by Wise Move Realty Inc. Brokerage
An open house is a great way to have a multitude of potential buyers walk through the door and see your for-sale property. Buyers walk into an open house needing to envision how they'll use the available space when they live there. But how do you ensure that your beloved home appeals to buyers? Staging your rooms is a sure-fire technique for showing off your home to its best advantage.

Here are 10 tips to make your next open house the one that gets you offers:

1. Clear clutter. When you have too many appliances on the counters in your kitchen or piles of magazines on every flat surface of your living room or too much furniture in your rooms, it turns buyers off because they're not able to visualize how they will use the space. How to remedy this situation? Start packing! You want to move anyway, so now's a good time to pack up those knick-knacks, kitchen appliances extra dishes and pans to clear out cabinets and make room on the counters. Put the extra items in storage while you sell your home. If your rooms are packed with furniture, store a few of the larger items – for instance, a section couch – while your home's on the market.

2. Hire a cleaning service. Buyers won't notice if your home is spotlessly clean, but they will notice if it isn't. A cleaning service tackles all those dusty places you might forget: baseboards, tops of picture frames, ceiling fans. A neat and clean home is more attractive to potential homeowners.

3. Remove family photos. Yes, your children are stunning, and your animals are so cute! Oh, and look at this black-and-white one of your grandmother! But buyers need to see a neutral canvas where they can put down their roots instead of viewing your family tree.

4. Neutralize odors. Often, you get used to the smells of your home. Ask your real estate professional or a friend for a nose check. Shampoo your carpets before the open house, and if you have pets, give them baths and make sure litter boxes are clean.

5. Make repairs. Buyers are looking for the imperfections in your home, so now's the time to fix that leaky faucet or slow-running drain, replace broken window panes and replace burned out light bulbs. These are noticeable maintenance projects that must be tackled before the open house.

6. Buy new towels. Spruce up your kitchen and bathroom for your guests with top-of-the line plush linens.

7. Set the table. Stage your dining room table for a nice meal to encourage buyers to imagine what it would be like to entertain in the house. Your best china and a new neutral tablecloth with matching napkins will help with the visualization. This works for the patio too!

8. Enhance curb appeal. Trim your lawn, weed your beds and prune your shrubs. These small landscaping tasks make a world of difference when trying to make your home sell. Remove extra vehicles from the driveway too.

9. Organize cabinets and drawers. Storage space is a vital selling point of any property. More is more when it comes to the nooks and crannies of where to put belongings. Cluttered linen closets, kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets make it appear that your home doesn't have enough storage. Solve this issue by streamlining and organizing all these spaces – we guarantee a buyer is going to look.

10. Leave. Buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions of your agent if you're not hovering in the background. Your Realtor can highlight the positive features of your home without bias. Occupy yourself away from home for a few hours. And if you have pets, take them with you. Some buyers might not feel comfortable around your four-legged friends or might have allergies.

By Stephanie Mills