Written by Cindy Aldridge
However, there are ways to prepare for an open house that will wow visitors without leaving you too tired to leave the sofa during showings. Here are a few tips to try.
The National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging survey found that 62 percent of sellers’ agents polled said staging a home reduced the number of days a property spent on the market. The majority of buyers’ and sellers’ agents said staging raised the bar for offers.
The first step of staging should be clearing clutter and cleaning. In fact, 93 percent of professionals polled in the NAR survey recommended decluttering. So now is the time to tackle the areas that weren’t featured on the flyer. Excavate storage spaces completely and donate or sell any unused items. Also, consider renting an off-site storage unit to stash everything you don’t use regularly. This will maximize the appearance of spaciousness for the storage in your home, which is a huge selling point for potential buyers.
Most real estate agents polled in the NAR survey also advised a deep cleaning, with 89 percent recommending a whole-home cleaning and 81 percent pushing for carpet cleaning. That’s no surprise considering a strong odor in the home is one of the top reasons potential buyers pass on a property.
Getting rid of pet-related smells and other obnoxious odors is paramount. And while spot cleaning and enzyme-based odor removers may work well enough on a day-to-day basis, your goal for an open house is to erase any evidence of pets, including lingering smells and suspicious spots.
Given that, if your home has carpet, it’s probably worth calling a professional cleaning company that uses the hot water extraction method, complete with truck-mounted units, to treat carpets to a deep-down cleaning. If pet odors are a problem, you should also let the carpet cleaners know your primary goal is eliminating them since they utilize special products and procedures.
And, even if you don’t have carpet, consider hiring help to give your whole home a deep cleaning before an open house. Professionals have special tools to remove built-up dirt and discover dens of dust bunnies you might have miss. Giving everything a thorough cleaning will also help erase odors from cooking or smoking.
Although it’s probably too late to undertake any extensive renovations before your open house, you should make minor repairs to fix things that will distract buyers from your home’s finer features. You may have been living with a cracked window or torn screen for years, but buyers probably won’t be willing to do the same.
Also, consider some quick cosmetic changes. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color will help everything look cleaner and brighter. And replacing dim bulbs and dingy switch-plates and outlet covers can give rooms an inexpensive makeover. Outside, give landscaping a lift by trimming back overgrown plants, clearing flower beds, putting in some eye-catching annuals, and spreading a new layer of mulch.
Implementing these tips will take some time and money, but the investment will be worthwhile if it helps make your first open house your only one.