1- You cannot clean enough. The last thing you want the prospective buyers to remember about your house is the dirty floor or smelly bathroom. Wash the carpets the day before your open house, and try not to trample the carpet while it is drying. Wash your windows inside, outside and the tracks. Dust everything; a lot of people are allergic to dust and if they sneeze the whole time they are at your open house, you can guarantee they won’t be buying. Make the beds, and do the dishes. In general, clean the house like you would for very special guests.
2- Don’t hide the clutter in the closets or cupboards. Believe it or not, most open house goers open closets and many look in kitchen and bathroom cupboards too. Even if the prospective buyer doesn’t, if they have children in tow, nothing is off limits, even under the bed. So, the lesson is, don’t hide anything in the house you wouldn’t want to be seen. Pack it up and move it out.
3- When you leave for the open house, you assume that all of you possessions are safe. After all, the realtor is there. Most people selling a house don’t really know their realtor all that well, and even if you do, the prospective home buyers are strangers. You might want to lock up, or pack-up and remove your valuables (i.e. jewelry, coin, cash, great-aunt so-and-so’s special antique that is on the bedroom dresser) If the open house if busy, which is the goal, your realtor won’t be able to watch everyone, and there could be some with ‘sticky hands.’
4- Everyone likes their family pictures and portraits and we all know that our baby is the most precious. However, it is more difficult for prospective home buyers at the open house to envision living in a house filled with someone else’s personal effects. So, pack a few boxes early. Take down the family pictures. Carefully pack up you clown collections and fly fishing displays. Remove your personal clutter. Clear off the counters in the bathrooms kitchen. Counter space is a great selling feature, so don’t hide it with make-up and hair-do supplies.
5- Two weeks before the open house, take a discerning look at the front and back yard. Is the grass green and healthy? Have the weeds taken over? Do you need to fertilize or weed and feed? Is it covered in 6″ of leaves? Are there dead, pet circles? Is the fence propped up? Does the yard look safe and inviting? Two weeks is just enough time to get a yard in shape. Start watering regularly and do all that pesky maintenance that has been put off. Start with the front yard; if the front yard looks like a haunted house, your open house will be a bust. Brighten it up with some colorful, healthy flowers and foliage.
6- A fresh coat of paint can make a room seem completely different. White walls are out, for the most part. Buyers are more interested in rooms in color. There are literally dozens of nice, warm, neutral colors, which will go well with all types of decor. If you are unsure what color to use, bring a couple pictures of you room, or pillows to your local paint store, and they are more than willing to help. If you are afraid of the color change from white, a freshly painted white wall still looks ten times better than a smudgy white wall.
7- Right before your open house, bake something, a cake, cookies, muffins, bread or cinnamon rolls. Make sure to open all the bedroom and bathroom doors, to let the yummy smells waft through. You might want to prepare your fresh made snacks, with some coffee on a bar, or dining table. This will encourage you home shoppers to linger, longer. (don’t forget napkins)