how to prep for an open house
the essentials in getting your house ready to show (plus a handy checklist how-to).
Published Feb 29, 2016 5:00 AM
by Liz Thompson
Putting your house on the market can be stressful. Take away those open house jitters by preparing in advance.
clean windows and glass doors
It’s amazing how dirt, grime, and fingerprints come to life in the light of day. Make sure all windows and glass doors are gleaming pre-open house. Short on time or a serious case of ladder-phobia? Hire a pro.
depersonalize your space
There are two reasons for clearing your space of personal objects when holding an open house to sell your home. One; it allows potential buyers to visualize themselves and their things in the space. Two; it protects your privacy. Less is definitely more here. Put away family photographs and other personal objects, and go for cleared surfaces.
stash your stuff
We all have kids, or pets, or crafts, or work stuff. But you want open house goers to see the big (uncluttered) picture. Find a place to stash clutter, even if this means stowing in a bin and placing it in your car, for the time being.
organize closets and cupboards
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Not so much. Buyers want to see what kind of storage your home has, and this means peeking inside closets and cupboards. Nothing says small space like an overcrowded or messy closet. Taking time to organize your storage spots will pay off in the end.
take out the trash
The rest of your home is sparkling clean, same goes for trash receptacles. Be sure to empty waste bins and wipe clean, inside and out. Think buyers won’t notice a clean trash can? What they will notice is a dirty bin.
light it up
A daytime open house means your home is filled with natural light. Take advantage of it. Open shades, blinds, and curtains to let in as much sunlight as possible. And don’t forget to turn lights on in less than bright rooms, like bathrooms, closets, and basements.
sparkle and shine
Of course, your home gets a thorough cleaning before an open. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms for most buyers, so these should sparkle and shine. Keep a bottle of glass cleaner handy to spot clean and wipe surfaces before showings.
stow seldom used appliances
Toasters, blender, food processors, and other small appliances can be put away to create a more open feel and show off counter space. No room in cabinets for extra items? Get some boxes and pack them up. You’ll soon be moving thanks to your mad open house prep skills.
Put out fresh hand towels in kitchen and baths before people walk through. The best policy here? Purchase new ones that you only use for open houses to ensure you will always have a clean one ready.
a natural vignette
Fresh flowers, greenery, and even fruit make for a pretty display without looking cluttered. Place a small, tasteful bouquet near the front door or fresh fruit bowl in the kitchen. Adds a vibrant, homey touch.
front door appeal
First impressions are important. Make sure your front porch and door are welcoming. Cobweb and sweep to make the space inviting. Add a fresh coat of paint to your front door, if necessary, and put out a new welcome mat.
put away valuables
Jewelry, laptops, prescription medicine, and anything else of real value should be placed in a protected spot. If you don’t have a safe or other secure place in your home, keep a sturdy bag or bin empty and at the ready. Fill and take with you when you leave before the open house.
inside of the ice box
Think potential buys won’t peek inside the fridge? If it’s staying with the house, you better believe they will! Make sure refrigerator interior is decluttered, organized, and free of spills and crumbs.
create a get-out-quick check list
Certain things can’t be done until right before your house is open. To keep from forgetting last minute must-dos, create a handy checklist of everything that needs to be done prior to showing. Turn on lights, empty trash, put out fresh towels, pick up dog dishes…you get the picture. Write them down on a notecard or add a note to your phone for a crash course in open house prep. Go down the list before buyers arrive to fend off that feeling of “Oh no! I forgot to…” and your home will be SOLD in no time.