Many sellers have a love-hate relationship with open houses. They love them because open houses bring potential buyers. They hate them because, let's face it, they have to clean and get their home organized to capture buyers' interest.
But preparing for an open house doesn't have to be difficult. You can leave the hard work to your real estate agent. Things like signage, flyers, listing the open house in newspapers or online, your agent can handle. However, if you're living in your home and trying to show it, here are a few quick tips to get you organized.
Coil it up! This might not come to mind right away but, until everything is wireless, we have to deal with those unsightly long cords. Using devices, such as the Cableyoyo or even twist-ties, will clean up the clutter and leave your electronic areas looking much better.
When you have electrical cords in a jumble behind your entertainment center (but still in view) it creates a feeling of chaos and clutter--not to mention, the cables collect dust and then can create an impression in the buyer's mind that the home is dirty.
Off the table into the portable bin. Organizing experts often recommend at least a two-drawer file cabinet per home. Now, a file cabinet may look out of place in, say, the living room, yet that's often where paper clutter winds up.
So, here's a tip. Get a portable file cabinet--small but one that can hold about a week's worth of papers. Leave it in the living room and instruct family members to place their papers in their labeled folder when they're finished reading them.
Homework, newspapers, documents that need signing should all be placed in the family member's folder and not stuffed in between couch cushions, entertainment center shelves, or left on the coffee table. Just before the open house, you can easily and quickly do a sweep of the rooms, picking up papers and storing them in the appropriate folder in the portable file cabinet. Then these folders can be transferred to a more permanent file storage system or packed for the move when the home sells. All too often, when you don't have a portable system and you're in a hurry to make the home look organized, papers are swept up into a heap and frequently accidentally thrown out or misplaced.
Go green selectively. I'm talking about your house plants in this next tip. The folks at HGTV recommend that your house plants be placed on a cute stand or in several decorative pots. While plants are usually seen as a welcome addition, creating a jungle with too many big, sprawling plants in your living room won't go over well, unless, of course, you're showing your home to Jane and ... well, that other guy that likes swinging from trees and vines.
Minimize product overload in the bathroom. I have a teenage daughter so I know how sensitive the bathroom clean up is before showing a home. Teenage girls have tons of hair, face, and make up products--okay, I do too.
Somehow these products end up everywhere and, if you're tight for time, gathering up the toothpaste, night cream, lotions, perfume, lipstick, powder, cotton balls, etc., can take more time than you have. Homestagers recommend buying a tub and storing it under the sink. Place all of your every day products in it. It's convenient, easy to access, and putting away the products quickly won't cause a big commotion from your teenage daughter. Another good rule is, every time you pull out the tub, evaluate whether you really need or use the products in it. If you don't use a product toss it out--eliminate the clutter.
Implementing these quick tips can help you be prepared in a moment's notice, saving you hours of searching for items that would have otherwise been swept up and crammed into any hidden place.
Published: September 10, 2010