13 Nov


Cassidy's Moving and Storage

Get Your Home Ready For a Successful Open House

In theory, an open house is easy to pull off: simply make your home beautiful for one day and the offers will come rolling in. In reality, staging your home is a monumental task, one that can seem impossible to achieve amid the stresses of everyday life. While preparing your home for a successful open house may never be easy, it can be less stressful. If you start early and if you take the right steps, your home will impress buyers on the day of your open house.

1. Show the House, Not Your Stuff

The first step in preparing your home for an open house costs nothing and is relatively easy. So why is it that most homeowners fail to de-clutter their homes before an open house?

When you live in a space, you become blind to the accumulating stacks of trinkets and memorabilia. Unfortunately, potential home buyers are not so blind; they see the clutter, and it makes them think your home is smaller than it actually is. Clutter can also prevent home buyers from picturing themselves living in your home because all they see are memories of someone else’s life.

You should start to de-clutter the second you put your home on the market. Take inventory of everything you own, and toss, recycle or donate anything you no longer need. You will still be left with far more than what you should keep on display during an open house. Here’s how to deal with it:

  • From your closets, remove everything that you don’t wear on a daily basis.
  • From the family room, take down personal family pictures and store movies and CDs in closed storage.
  • Remove all sports equipment from the front hall and clear off kitchen counters.

If your home lacks storage space, don’t draw the buyers’ attention to the problem by packing storage closets to capacity. Rent a storage container or borrow a friend’s basement, and keep all of your belongings there until your house sells.

Lastly, remove anything valuable from your home or lock it away. Jewelry, credit cards and cameras can all easily be stolen during an open house when strangers are allowed to wander through your home. Take all of your medication and identification with you before an open house begins. It is also a good idea to ensure your insurance policy is up to date.

Once you are done with the de-cluttering process, your home will not look like your home anymore. Every personal trace of your life will have been removed. This is what you want. Without your belongings filling a space, buyers can visualize your home as theirs.

2. Appeal To The Two Types of Home Buyers

There are two main types of home buyers: the renovator and the turnkey. They’re each looking for something different in a new home.

The Turnkey Buyer

If you want an offer on your home for the full asking price, you need to appeal to the turnkey buyer. This type of buyer wants a move-in ready home with no renovations required.

The turnkey buyer scares easily. If they see a crack in a wall, they will assume your home has foundation problems. If they see mildew around the bathtub, they will think that mold has infested the whole house. Do not give the turnkey buyer a reason to dismiss your home.

An amateur can complete minor home repairs with time and practice, but if you need to invest in a professional contractor. Plaster over the cracks in the wall, and replace any old caulking surrounding the bathtub. To impress the turnkey buyer, paint every room in warm or neutral shades. If your budget allows, replace old and worn carpeting with hardwood or laminate. If kitchen cabinets or countertops are overly worn, consider replacing them.

With the abundance of home improvement shows and design magazines, buyers are comparing your home with show homes designed by professionals. Do your best to impress. Look through magazines for inspiration on how to stage a home. A bowl of fruit on a kitchen counter or flowers on a bedside table can impress a buyer just as much as pricy upgrades.

The Renovator

The renovators will not be frightened away from a home by the need for some repairs and a style overhaul. While a leaking roof or electrical problems will stop many renovators from making an offer on a home, they’re basically looking for a diamond in the rough.

As long as the roof, foundation, plumbing and electrical aspects are all reasonably sound, don’t spend too much repairing all of the little problems with your home. Renovators are bargain-hunters. They will overlook a house’s design faults if the price is right.

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3. Curb Appeal

Most home buyers fall in love with a home before they even enter the front door. Curb appeal is important, so don’t forget to make all necessary repairs to the outside of your home. Seal a cracked driveway, and fix broken front steps. Also, invest in some landscaping; planting some medium-size shrubs in your front yard will make your home more inviting.

4. Selling Older Homes

If you are selling an older home, it may be a good idea to have a pre-listing home inspection done. You will pay for this out of your own pocket, but it can be a valuable tool in appealing to buyers. The inspection will help ease the turnkey buyer’s fears; before making an offer, they will know of all the potential problems with the structure of the home. If you cannot repair a crack in a wall, you can show potential buyers the inspection report as proof that the foundation is structurally sound. Buyers will have no reason to fear the worst when they see something that needs fixing.

5. The Countdown To Open House Day

One Week Before

A week before your open house, give everything in your home a deep cleaning. Steam clean the carpets to remove any stains, vacuum all of your furnishings, and clean your curtains and bedding. These soft surfaces can hold in odors, so it is important to give them a thorough cleaning. Home buyers have a way of finding dust and cobwebs, even in the tightest of corners. Clean under beds and behind tables, and wipe down the tops of fridges and cabinets. If you can afford the additional cost, it may be worth it to hire a cleaning service for a one-time thorough cleaning. They will catch that one speck of dirt you may have missed.

One Day to Go

On the day your open house starts, give your home a quick clean. Sinks and bathtubs should be sparkling; give them a good polish with a fresh-smelling cleaner. Clean every window and light fixture in your home. A well-lit home will sell faster than a dark and gloomy one, so pull back the curtains and let the sun stream into your home. Turn on the lights, especially in the darkest rooms. And put everything back in its place: toys have a way of spilling onto the floor, and dirty dishes seem to stack up in the sink. When the open house begins, your home should be picture-perfect.

Make sure any pets are secured away, ideally in a kennel. Litter boxes should be scooped, and food and water bowls tucked away. Toys, especially Fido’s half destroyed chew toy, should disappear.

One Hour To Go

Before the open house begins, walk through your home as if you were a potential buyer. Start at the front door, and work your way through. Remember what drew you to the house the first time you saw it. Maybe it was the living room window with the view of the park, or the dream kitchen with the large island. Odds are, these features will attract buyers, too. Tell your real estate agent to point this feature out to the buyers who view your home during the open house. This may entice them into making an offer.

6. Keep Calm

Open houses can be stressful; to make matters worse, you may need to have two or three open houses before an offer comes in.

You might feel tempted to spy on the open house to gauge its success, by either staying in the home or watching from across the street. Avoid the temptation. This will only add to your stress. Instead, indulge in a spa day or an afternoon on the golf course. You will return home relaxed and ready to deal with those multiple offers.

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