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7 Successful Tips for a Spectacular Open House

The selling season is upon us and “Open House” signs will be popping up all over town.  Many agents tell their Seller’s that open houses are a waste of time.  I strongly disagree with that for several reason, but that’s for another blog.

Today, I want to give you some tips for hosting a successful open house.  You won’t actually be hosting it though, but this will certainly help your agent put the best foot forward for the big day. Buyer’s start to make a mental list of things as they tour your home.  You want them to make a list of things that they love as opposed to things that they would need to change or repair.  You want the “love” list to be longer and these tips will help.

1)      Curb appeal – Be sure that the path to your home is inviting.  Sweep the walk-way, remove cars from the driveway (the potential buyer’s need to park), make sure plants are alive, brush away cobwebs, move the old birds next from the rafters, be sure the trash cans are out of sight and your door is clean.  These few minutes when a potential buyer is walking to the door help set the mood for their expectations inside.

2)      Have an impressive entry – If the table by the front door is the catch all, then by all means clear it off.  Also, if you are one of those families that doesn’t wear shoes in the house and keep them by the front door, remove them.  It doesn’t matter if you have them in a shelving unit and you think they are neatly stacked, they need to go.  No one wants to see your accumulation of worn shoes.  Plus, it may have some bearing on tip number 4.

3)      Clean, Clean and Clean – I assume you have had professional “spring” cleaning before you listed your home, but it’s the day to day cleaning you want to stay on top of.  Every surface that could be touched should be clean, counters wiped off, appliances cleaned, dishes out of the sink, floors should be swept or vacuumed and mopping should be done in kitchen and baths. Personal items should be picked up and put away.   Your home should look as close to a model home as you can get it.

4)      Clear up the odors – Odors get noticed right away as you walk into a home. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day of showing property that at least one buyer doesn’t comment on an odor.  Food odors are among the main culprit followed by pet and possibly item number 2.  I once held an open house where the seller left a pot of beans cooking in a crock pot.  It smelled horrible and every person who came in commented on it. They would remember that house not by the cute backyard, but by the horrible smell.  Try not to cook anything too pungent the night before an open house and if possible, bake some cookies or brownies about an hour before your open house begins.  It will help the buyers remember what a cozy and homey house you had and will only add to their experience at the open house.

5)      Lighting – I have yet to have a buyer ask me to show them a dark and not too bright home.  Most buyer’s want a home that feels bright and is filled with sunlight.  Your agent will most likely have every light in the house on and every blind or curtain open in order to show how bright it is. Help them out by replacing ALL burned out bulbs. I recently showed a property where the kitchen felt “dark” to the buyer. Well, maybe if they had replaced the burned out bulbs in the light fixture, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

6)      Pets – Take them with you and vacuum before you leave.  Remove all trace of animals for the day.  While most people love their pets, they may not love yours.  Also, many are allergic to animals.  I have been with buyer’s who are so allergic to cats that if they can sense one is in the house, they leave right away.  You also want to remove your pets as a safety precaution.  Don’t leave a cat or small dog in the home and ask the agent or open house guest to “not let the cat/dog out”.  If your agent is busy with another open house guest and can’t be at the door to ask the new guest to not let the cat out, they may not be aware that it is their responsibility to make sure that Fido or Fifi doesn’t dart into the street.  It is as much for the safety of your loving companion as it is for the agent and open house guest that you take your animals with you for those few hours.

7)      LEAVE – There is no reason for you to be present at your own open house.  You will make the guest uncomfortable number one as they will feel awkward walking freely around “your” home and will have a hard time envisioning it as “theirs”.  You also hinder the ability of your agent to get honest feedback from the agents and buyers visiting your home.  They won’t feel comfortable telling your agent the truth about their impressions, so you may never know what changes need to be made to improve the desirability of your home.  You staying at the open house is a lose/lose for everyone.


Something that is for your own protection to think about is to lock-up or remove your valuables AND medications. It makes common sense to put your valuables away such a jewelry, money, credit cards, guns, etc., but medications are becoming the number 1 item stolen from an open house.  It is a national issue with open houses and many articles have been written lately warning agents about this problem.  Any prescription drug should either be locked up or taken with you for the day.

Those are my tips for a successful open house.  If you follow these steps you will help your agent to make this as successful an event as they can and maybe even sell your home that day!




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