Hosting an open house this coming weekend? Here are 7 tips to wow potential buyers.
1. Clear out your entrance.
To create a great first impression, it’s important to make sure that your entrance corridor isn’t lined with your shoes, umbrellas and coats. All of these should be kept in your storage locker or neatly placed away in a closet while your home is open to visitors. A cramped entrance will make your home seem smaller than it really is, and will indicate to potential buyers that your storage capacities are insufficient.
2. Remove any lingering smells.
Every home has their own unique fragrance, but during an open house sellers should try their best to neutralize the smells in each room. Open up the windows 1-2 hours before the open house to let fresh air circulate through the rooms. If you use air fresheners in the bathrooms or kitchen, opt for clean, fresh smelling rather than heavy smells such as vanilla or rose.
Things to look out for in particular are pet smells (if you own a dog or a cat you might want to spend a little extra time deodorizing your rugs and furniture), kitchen smells (avoid cooking prior to the scheduled open house- go out for brunch instead!), and of course bathrooms.
3. Maximize the space.
Before an open house, remove and store any personal possessions that are lying around in your living space. Unless the possessions work harmoniously with your interior design or give the visitors a better idea of how a space could be used, consider it clutter. Photo frames, sport equipment and electronic accessories are typical items that are left out during open houses and that really should be hidden away. Keep in mind that the more a visitor can imagine themselves and their own possessions in the space, the higher the likelihood of them making an offer. You might also want to rearrange your furniture to make each room look inviting and spacious. Give each room one, clearly defined purpose. So if you’re also using your office as an exercise room, you might want to pick one or the other and rearrange accordingly. Read more about staging your home for sale here.
4. Light, light and more light.
Leave your windows open to let in as much natural sunlight as possible. If your home is on the darker side, make sure all your lights are on before your guests arrive.
We’ve said this in numerous other blog posts- the kitchen is your home’s best selling point. It’s definitely the most important space to have looking snappy and shiny before hosting an open house. Put away all appliances, dishes, food, and utensils lying on the counters- including things that you prefer to keep out (toasters, blenders, etc.) Clean out your sinks to avoid odors, and take out the trash at least a couple of hours before the showing.
If your kitchen cabinets are out of date, rusty, damaged, or stained, this is one quick renovation that will be worth the time and dollar. Consider a trip to Ikea, or repaint/varnish the surfaces at the very least.
6. Make your bathrooms shine.
As soon as you decide to put your house on the market, you should have replaced your bathroom curtains and toilet seat to make your bathroom it look as fresh and new as possible. Before an open house, put away all partially used toiletries, replace the toilet paper roll, and make sure that all tiles, fixtures, and mirrors are sparkly clean.
7. Mind your manners.
Lastly, an important factor to hosting a great open house lies in how comfortable your guests feel in your presence. If you’re working with a broker, choose one who is charismatic and polite. If you’re showing on your own, remember to make your guests feel welcome, and to allow them to move through the rooms at their own pace. Remember that mood greatly affects perception, so if your guests feel rushed or unwelcome they are unlikely to see the home in a favourable light.