An open house is a great way to show off your home. In a tough market it’s even more important for your home to stand out—in a good way—to potential buyers. Before you open the doors, be sure to pay special attention to the finer points and little details—they could help your home sell faster and for more money.
Give your home a clean sweep
Start by neatly storing unused items in closets and cabinets, because buyers are sure to peek inside. Clear the sink of dishes and remove clutter from countertops. Give the house a thorough scrub and wash all windows for a crystal-clear view. If you have pets or live with a smoker, consider steam cleaning all carpets and curtains.
Create a welcoming aroma
Nothing says home like the smell of freshly baked cookies. To make your visitors feel at ease, burn lightly scented candles, boil a pot of cinnamon sticks, place a dab of vanilla on cold light bulbs before turning them on or grind a piece of lemon in your garbage disposal to eliminate any unpleasant odors.
Set the stage
If you have several big pieces of furniture, consider putting some of them in storage so that rooms are less crowded, which creates the illusion of more space. Set the dining room table with color-coordinated place mats and table settings and open drapes and sheers to let in natural light. Fresh flowers instantly create an inviting atmosphere; place a bouquet in the front hall, living room and bathroom. Clear the way to utility boxes, because perspective buyers may ask to see them. Tidy up anything blocking the furnace and trim hedges or plants around the water meter.
Let in the light
A room that is well lit automatically gives the impression of a larger space. Open drapes, pull up shades and replace any burnt out light bulbs. Illuminate dark corners and hallways with lamps or sconces.
Make a lasting first impression
The front of your house is the first thing potential buyers see, so focus on creating curb appeal. Put away lawn equipment and gardening tools and neatly arrange outdoor firewood and furniture. Mow the lawn, rake leaves and trim hedges for a polished look. For an added touch, place a new welcome mat at the front door.
Let your realtor do his or her job
Plan to be gone during the open house so prospective buyers can discuss your home openly with your agent. Ask a friend or relative to care for your pets during this time or take them to a kennel. If you can't leave, make yourself scarce and let your agent field the questions. Don't apologize for the appearance or the condition of your home; you may be calling attention to things the potential buyers overlooked.