As soon as your apartment goes on the market, one of the first things you’ll want to do is prepare for an open house. An open house gives potential buyers the opportunity to check out your home without having to make an appointment or go through a real estate agent. Interested prospects can even put in an offer during an open house. It’s always a good idea to prepare for an open house because it is the first impression that your home will make to potential buyers. Here are some tips on how to prepare your property for an open house.
You want buyers to mentally move in when they step into your house. It’s hard for them to do that if you have pictures of you and your family lurking around every corner. One of the most important steps in preparing your property for an open house is depersonalizing. Do this by removing photographs and memorabilia. You should also rid your home of taste-specific items — like taxidermy mounts. What may seem appealing and artistic to you might be appalling to a potential buyer. Keep things neutral.
When visitors come to your open house, you want them focusing on all of your home’s features, not on piles of laundry sitting on the couch or dirty dishes in the sink. Clutter is a huge distraction to buyers and makes your home less attractive. Help them focus on what’s important by removing clutter. And remember, you can’t just stash everything in the closet or under the bed because potential buyers are going to be checking out the closets, too.
Stained carpets, moldy showers, and gunky sinks detract from the beauty of your house and pose a distraction to would-be buyers. Again, during an open house, you want guests to be able to see themselves living in your home, and no one wants to see themselves living in a house full of cobwebs and toothpaste-splattered mirrors.
When cleaning, don’t go overboard with the bleach or cleaning products as the scents of these chemicals can be harsh and bothersome. Instead, do a thorough cleaning with fragrance-free or mildly scented products. Then, freshen the air with a spritz or two of air freshener. You could also use a wax warmer or light a candle. Just be sure that the scent is a simple one like citrus, vanilla, or pine and cedar during the holidays. You also want to avoid using multiple scents.
Make your house as bright and cheerful as possible. Turn on all the lights throughout the house, and open up all the blinds and curtains.
Potential buyers will start making judgments about the property before they even step foot in the front door, and that’s why it’s important to think about your home’s curb appeal. Is the grass mowed, and are the bushes well-maintained? Is the screen door ripped? Is the mailbox door missing? And even if you live in an apartment with no curb in sight, you can still enhance your home’s curb appeal. Place a potted plant at the entrance or hang a neutral wreath on the front door.
The scent of freshly baked cookies is heavenly, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t enjoy nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Not only does the aroma of cookies wafting through the air help mask any not-so-good smells, but your guests will totally love the kind gesture.
Many people are scared of animals, some people are allergic, and some just don’t like them. If you have pets living at your house, be sure you take them someplace else while your open house is in session.
It’s usually best for property owners to leave the property during an open house. Let’s face it: it’s kind of awkward for potential buyers to freely walk your house and “snoop around” if you’re hovering right over their shoulder. However, if you’re hosting the open house yourself, then you want to be as professional and unobtrusive as possible. Stay in the shadows without offering commentary and only answer questions that are posed to you.
Properly preparing your property for an open house can be the difference between receiving an offer the day your house goes on the market or waiting several weeks or even months for someone to show interest.
Darlene Mase lives in Newnan, Georgia with her husband and daughter. She is a stay-at-home mom and works as a freelance writer for Zumper.com and other popular sites. During her free time, Darlene enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, cycling, gardening, caving, kayaking, or anything else outdoors.
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