Tips from Realtor.com:
Few buyers want to buy a house sight unseen. Holding an open house is a great way to get many potential buyers through the door and show off your polished, picture perfect home. But first you must make sure your home is ready to be seen. Buyers need to envision how they'll use the available space, and that means staging your home so that it looks inviting but not too lived-in.
Here are 10 tips to make your next open house the one that gets offers.
- Clear clutter: Buyers get turned off when you have too many appliances on the kitchen counters, piles of magazines on every flat surface of the living room, or too much furniture. The clutter makes it hard for visitors to picture their stuff in your space. How to remedy this situation? Start packing! You want to move anyway, so now's a good time to pack up anything that you don't need in the short-term and put those surplus items in storage. That includes furniture—you might want to store a few of the larger items, like a sectional couch, while your home's on the market.
- 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.
- Remove family photos: Yes, your children are stunning, and your animals are so cute! But buyers need to see a neutral field where they can put down their roots instead of viewing your family tree.
- Neutralize odors: 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.
- Make repairs: Buyers are looking for imperfections, so now's the time to fix that leaky faucet or slow-running drain, and replace broken windowpanes and burned-out light bulbs. These are noticeable maintenance problems that keen-eyed buyers will spot.
- Buy new towels: Spruce up your kitchen and bathroom for your guests with plush linens.
- 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.
- Enhance curb appeal: Trim your lawn, weed your beds and prune your shrubs. These small landscaping tasks make a world of difference to your home's first impression.
- Organize cabinets and drawers: Storage space is a vital selling point of any property. More is more when it comes to nooks and crannies, cabinets and closets. Cluttered linen closets, kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets make it appear that your home doesn't have enough storage. We guarantee a buyer is going to look.
- Leave: Buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions of your agent if you're not hovering in the background. Your real estate agent can highlight the positive features of your home without bias. So, take a hike for a few hours, and take your pets with you. Some buyers might not feel comfortable around your four-legged friends or might have allergies.