You’re getting ready to list your home and you know you’ll be faced with potential buyers viewing your personal spaces. Whether preparing for daily viewers or series or having an Open House, it pays to think ahead.
- Having everyone out of the house as long as humanely possible will help you keep your home tidy and smelling fresh. No pets and kids equal more time for last-minute prep. Check out friends and neighbors for some temporary kid and pet sitting. Give them your best puppy dog eyes and promise to return the favour for them.
- If you can’t manage yourself, or time is a factor, line up a contractor or handyman to take care of maintenance issues your REALTOR® has asked you to fix, like leaking faucets, sagging gutters, or dings in the walls.
- Declutter every room (even if you've already decluttered once before). Don’t hide your stuff in the closet—buyers will definitely open doors to size up closet space. Store your off-season clothes, sports equipment, and toys somewhere else. This advice is very cliché, but it can’t be stressed enough! Easy as well on the prominently displayed family photos. They are better tucked away when trying to sell a home, as it helps depersonalize the space.
- If time is short, book a home cleaning service prior to listing the home. Otherwise, make sure to leave time to do these things yourself a couple of days before your home goes public on MLS.
- Fluffy white towels can create a spa-like feel in the bathrooms. Fluffy advice, for sure, but a nice touch.
- Be sure your front door mat is in perfect condition to give a good first impression.
- Designate a storage basket or container for each bathroom to stow away personal items during showings.
- Clean all the light fixtures, ceiling fans, light switches, and around door knobs. A spic-and-span house makes buyers feel like they can move right in.
- Be careful not to turn your spaces into a perfume factory with many obvious and strong 'in-your-face' air fresheners. It can be a turn off for many buyers. If they are discreet and decorative and used minimally, that’s a better decision. Truthfully, there’s no nicer smell than ‘clean’. Use the power of fresh air flowing through windows for awhile before the showing if possible.
- Power-wash the house, deck, sidewalk, and driveway. If it's a Manitoba winter, be sure any walkways and yard access areas are shoveled, and that any yellow snow or pet evidence is picked up.
- Make sure potential buyers can get up close and personal with your dust-free furnace, air-conditioning unit, and appliances. They’ll want to read any maintenance and manufacturer’s stickers to see how old everything is and how well looked after and clean they look. If you still have manuals and purchase or maintenance information, leave any pertinent information stored in an envelope for the buyers to see.
- Clean the inside of appliances and declutter kitchen cabinets, drawers and the pantry. Buyers will open cabinet doors and drawers. If yours are stuffed to the max, buyers will think your kitchen lacks enough storage space.
- Buy a bag of apples or lemons to display in a pretty bowl. Or some fresh flowers. Details...details.
- Clean the windows and keep window treatments open to have the most maximum light as possible during showings.
- In the summer, mow the grass a day or two before an open house. Mowing immediately before can irritate house hunters with allergies.
- Tuck away yard clutter like hoses, toys, or pet water bowls.
- Put valuables such as jewellery, prescription drugs, bank statements, and other treasures in the trunk of your car, at a neighbor’s house, or in your safe. It’s wise to always be cautious.
- Set a simple table in your kitchen or dining area. In the backyard, uncover the barbeque and set the patio table for a picnic to show buyers how elegantly and simply they can entertain once they move in.
- Clean the fingerprints off the storm door. First impressions count.
- Remove shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other personal items from the bathtub, shower, and sinks in all of the bathrooms. Store them neatly under the sink before a showing or an open house. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living in your house.
- Stow away certain kitchen countertop appliances that should not be taking up valuable countertop real estate, such as blenders, toasters, breadmakers, grills, etc.
- Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights in the house. Buyers like bright homes.
- Didn’t get any baking done for a nice scent factor before your home is viewed? Brew a pot of coffee to make the house smell inviting. Try and avoid strong smells such as deep frying, fish, strong spices and certain cooking odours that can knock a buyer flat.
Get out of the house and let your REALTOR® sell it! Potential buyers will be uncomfortable discussing your home if you’re hanging around during the open house. Take advantage of your child and pet free hours by treating yourself to something you enjoy, such as a few extra hours at the gym, a trip to the park or mall or whatever you like. With the great preparation you did, you'll be sure to get some great feedback from the REALTOR® who was lucky enough to host the Open House.
If you would like to chat about how best to prepare your home for an Open House, it would be my pleasure to help you in any way.