How to Host the Best Open House
Ah, open houses.
Some Realtors love 'em, others loathe 'em, but almost every listing can benefit from an open house. Why? Because open houses expose your home to prospective buyers, and you can gain valuable feedback about updates you can make to ensure your home is attractive to purchasers.
Though your agent can help you prepare for an open house when your home is on the market, there are a few key things you can do together to ensure you and your Realtor can host the perfect open house - even if you won't be attending. That just so happens to lead me to my first point...
Don't be present (no, seriously)
Have you ever attended an open house where the home owner was present, and were left feeling slightly nervous about looking around the property, maybe making notes, or even asking the Realtor important questions about the home? Trust me when I tell you that you are not alone!
Open houses with home owners present are awkward for everyone; prospective buyers rarely feel like they can truly look around the property to get a better feel for the space, and it can also make conversations with the home owner's Realtor pretty uncomfortable! My first piece of advice is to let your Realtor run your open house and use the time to complete some projects away from home, run errands, or grab a coffee with friends. Give home buyers a chance to check out your property without making anyone uncomfortable or anxious!
Depersonalize your home
Before your open house, ensure that personal items (such as family portraits, clothing, jewelry, etc) or stored away or neatly organized so as to avoid making it difficult for home buyers to envision themselves in your space. The more personal your home feels, the less likely home buyers will feel like they could imagine themselves living in your home, cooking in the kitchen, working in the study...you get the picture!
Let the light in
Virtually every home can benefit from natural lighting, which is why I always recommend my clients open all drapes/blinds/curtains and remove clutter from windowsills and doorways. The goal in doing so is to make your home feel as bright, warm and welcoming as possible; if it's too dark or shrouded inside, home buyers don't enter (or leave) with a positive feeling. So, go ahead and let that natural light in!
Do some landscaping
The front yard/entry way of your home is the first thing prospective home buyers see when they pull up to, and approach, your house. If your front yard is filled with weeds, overgrown garden beds, or unkept landscaping, it doesn't inspire very much confidence in your listing! The same can be said for walkways, porches and front door areas.
A quick solution is to pull weeds, trim back unruly gardens, and mow the lawn before your open house. You may also consider power washing your front porch/deck and even giving your front door and any railings a fresh coat of paint!
Kick odours to the curb
One of the biggest turnoffs for home buyers is a house that smells. No one wants to spend more than five minutes in a space that smells like dog, mildew, or a dirty fridge! As an easy solution, clean up after your pets prior to your open house, and air out each room to eliminate must and any mildew-related odours. You may also consider using a diffuser or lighting lightly-scented candles in each room for 30-60 minutes before your open house starts.
Ask your Realtor to lay out snacks + refreshments
Make attendees feel welcome in your home by asking your Realtor to lay out refreshments and snacks, such as pre-packaged sweets, water bottles, or unique goodies that home buyers can munch on or take with them while they view your open house.
Clean, clean, and...well, clean some more
You probably wouldn't be convinced to move into someone else's dirty, unkept home, so why leave your own home in a state before hosting an open house?
In order to present your home in its best light, ensure it is clean from top to bottom - this includes appliances as well as popular spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. The goal here is to eliminate any reason why a home buyer wouldn't want to live in your house.