How to Prepare for an Open House
Getting the maximum exposure possible is a key part of any home sale. That’s why it pays to sell your home with the help of a REALTOR®through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). MLS® provides details of your home to all real estate professionals in the area and markets the property to a broad range of potential buyers.
Open Houses tend to attract a lot of "browsers". If your home is clean, attractive, well priced and in good repair, it could turn a "browser" into a buyer. Some purchasers want to get the "feel" of several neighbourhoods before they begin working with a REALTOR®. Open Houses will attract these potential buyers.
Most Open Houses for the public are held on a weekend afternoon when potential buyers often have more time to drive through neighbourhoods. If you have pets, it’s best if you remove them from the home during the Open House, since their presence could be distracting.
It’s also recommended that you and your family be away from the home during the Open House as well. If you remain home, prospective buyers may feel compelled to rush their visit to avoid disturbing you. You want them to feel relaxed and to take the time to really see the features of your property. Potential buyers also feel uncomfortable commenting on your home in your presence. This hampers the ability to sell the home since buyer feedback is essential in making any deal.
Here are some general tips to help you prepare for the big day:
- Attend to any potential hazards — electrical wires crossing open areas, sharp table or counter top corners, slippery stairs and walkways, fragile items that can be easily damaged.
- Lock away or remove valuables such as jewellery, cameras, electronics, coins and currency.
- Avoid cooking food with strong odours such as fish. The scent of fresh-brewed coffee, home-made bread and cookies can be very welcoming.
- In poor weather, provide a place for overshoes, boots, umbrellas and coats.
- A warm fire on a cold day will make your home feel inviting and cozy.
A tiny handprint on a wall or the slightest door squeak can be quite distracting to some potential buyers. Use this handy checklist to assess what needs to be cleaned, repaired or changed before opening your home to potential buyers:
Kitchen and bathrooms
- Clean all surfaces, including floors.
- Organize countertops.
- Ensure all sinks and faucets work properly.
- Polish faucets and mirrors to a sparkle.
- Vacuum and dust all areas thoroughly.
- Collect and remove all clutter, including excess furniture.
- Neatly store books, toys and clothes in closets and on shelves.
- Clean all mirrors.
- Open drapes and pull up blinds on windows.
(Includes carpeting, tile, linoleum, hardwood, etc.)
- Remove all dirt and stains.
- Repair any damaged areas.
- Fix squeaks and any other problems.
- Ensure the handles are secure and work properly.
- Clean any stains.
- Clean and repair any cracks.
- Ensure they open easily.
- Check to see there is sufficient light.
- Attend to any broken switches, exposed wiring.
- Replace burnt out bulbs
- These should be clean, organized and odour free.
Outside the home
- Ensure all gates open easily.
- Clean all exterior surfaces, including decks, pools, walkways and driveways and make them tidy.
- Depending on the time of year, lawns should be mowed, walkways and driveway cleared of snow, leaves removed, trees pruned, gardens weeded, hedges trimmed.
Other tips to consider