Here Are 6 Tips to Keep Your Home Prepped For an Open House

Plus, some local real estate agents give us bonus tricks of the trade.

Dave Rosenblum | Flickr

Realtors agree, clean curb appeal goes a long way to making a great first impression. Dave Rosenblum | Flickr

Confession time: I’ve done a horrible job of keeping my home ready for Open House days.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been viewed at its best, but there’s simply no excuse for the few times it has left potential buyers wondering what kind of uncivilized people live there. I like to blame these mortifying instances on a fateful combination of the house being too big and too easily cluttered (which is why I want a trinity), coupled with impromptu visits by selling agents who opt to reach out a few hours before stopping by. (I kid you not, twice they’ve shown up an hour before the appointed time!)

Really, though, we should have the house ready to go at any time of the day. Thankfully, JustListed came across a list I have in good mind to follow to a tee: every one of these points will help you keep your house clean for unexpected showings. Whew.

Now, some are reminders of chores we surely had drilled into us as children like making the bed before leaving the house, putting away clothes from the day versus leaving it on the floor, and never going to bed with a dirty kitchen (come on, you don’t have to be told this again, do you?).

Others, meanwhile, are welcome routine changes that include things like doing a load of laundry every day (bonus: more clean clothes on a daily basis!),  cleaning as you go (just call us Monica Geller), and emptying the dishwasher in the morning.

You can check out the rest of the tidbits here, though we suggest you keep some of these local ones in mind too: BHHS Fox & Roach agent Mike McCann tells us curb appeal is most important, as almost all home buyers make a snap decision about a particular house as they’re making their way to the home’s entrance:

Then while they’re walking through the rest of the house there justifying why they’re buying it or why they are not buying it. So flower boxes and planters out front is very important.

This is followed by advice on freshly painted doors and trim, decluttering, and cleaning windows inside and out, among others. Interestingly, he notes that making your home “emotionally appealing” goes a long way, as do open blinds and turned-on lights – “Light sells!” he writes.

Similarly, Coldwell Banker Preferred agent Kathleen McNamara says she advises her clients to purchase new planters  for the front of the home in the event that it needs sprucing up. Moreover, she says pressure-washing the front door area and other troubled spots (or even just using a “sponge to remove the dirt on all the door jams and walls”) will make a great first impression with visitors. As for keeping daily messes at bay, she recalls one client’s novel fix-up method:

One of my clients kept a laundry basket handy so she could gather the items dropped by her kids quickly.  She would take the basket with her and then bring it in when showings/open house was done.

Other tips McNamara offers include removing all products from the tops of bathroom sinks and kitchen counters, as well as any furniture creating a “a clutter feel to the room.”

Once you have everything all said and done, it seems the cherry on top of the beautiful Open House sundae you’ve prepared would be to add soft background music (jazz or classical is likely the way to go), as both McCann and McNamara suggest.

Or, you can do what some folks have done, as Nerissa Salas from the RE/MAX Platinum Salas Team informs us: “We did have a few clients bury a statue of St. Joseph in their back yard. It’s supposed to be good luck.” (Yes, that’s really a thing.)

More importantly, though, as Salas reminds us, safety first:

Also, a good tip to remember is to pack away personal/confidential files during the declutter process. Even with the security systems we have in place for our clients it’s never a good idea to leave your SS Card sitting out. 

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