May 19th, 2016
Last week we talked about protecting your valuables when you’re selling your house. This week, we will focus more on when you have an open house. Keep a basket or a bin that you can throw your financial statements, prescriptions, photographs, spare keys, and other small valuable items into when you leave. You will also need a plan for your pets.
An open house, you will have more time to prepare then for a showing. You’ve already fixed items that obviously needed repair, and cleaned up the front of the house to give a great curb appeal.
The next best way to put your best foot forward is to get rid of the clutter, and that includes large pieces of furniture. Clutter makes it hard for visitors to picture their stuff in your space. Since you want to move anyway, so now's a good time to pack up anything that you don't need in the short-term and put those surplus items in storage. It may seem like an added expense, but it will pay off when you sell the house quickly.
You also want to get rid of clutter in cabinets. Pull out all the linens, and just put a few in. You want the storage space to look huge. And remember people will look in your medicine cabinets, so don’t leave anything in there like prescriptions that people will steal. Pack away the majority of your clothes to make your closets look larger and neater. And don’t forget drawers. Empty out your junk drawer because they will get looked at.
You will want to remove personal photos and artwork that is religious or racy. You want people to think of themselves in your house, and not see you living in your house.
Also, look into hiring house cleaners to keep the house at its best. A cleaning service tackles all those dusty places you might forget: baseboards, tops of picture frames, ceiling fans. It will also make the house smell clean.
Ask a friend or your real estate agent to do a sniff test to see if there are any odors that need neutralizing. If you are a smoker, it is very difficult to get out the smell of stale smoke, and you may need to a professional to remove it. Your agent can mask some odors by having cookies baking in the oven during the open house.
Display new towels in the bathrooms. Look into buying some new towels that are only put up for open houses and showings, and hide your towels that you use while still living there.
Pets need to go with you when you leave. And you do have to leave during the open house. Buyers don’t feel comfortable asking questions or really looking around if the seller is right there. If you have a cat, bring the litter box with you. You don’t want potential buyers to know that a pet was ever there.
You can’t count on locking a cabinet or the door to the garage. People will expect to see everything if they’re considering buying the house.
You have very little time to get people to fall in love with your house. Make your house look clean, open and inviting, and you will get a lot of offers.