An open house means you’re halfway through the sometimes difficult process of selling your home. You’ve signed on with a real estate agent, started to market your home, and are now ready to have strangers (but potential buyers) come and see what’s on offer.
The key with an open house, and when selling your house in general, is that you show it off. Your home needs to be in the best condition possible to maximise its value. If any value-adding renovations or repairs need to be done, make sure these are finalised before the open house.
Another winning tip for open houses? It’s sometimes best that the owner not be there. In some cases, emotions get the best of us and we wind up steering potential buyers away from the best aspects of the home. These buyer don’t need to see who’s lived there, how they lived or what they ate. They just need to know the home is liveable, well-maintained and better than others in its price range.
So once you know how much time you’ve got to prepare for it, you can start the staging process all by yourself.
1. Make your home look like new
Buying a home is a major financial decision, so buyers will be looking at every aspect of the home.
Start with bigger areas like the garden, make sure the lawn is mowed and you’ve cleared out any gardening tools.
Then head indoors and make sure things like the walls are in good shape. Is paint peeling? Is wallpaper coming off? Consider rearranging the furniture to make spaces look bigger. You can also get rid of any old furniture or keep some in storage. All these features need to be in good condition to make the home feel new.
You’ll also want to do a deep cleaning of your home as well. From the floors to the countertops, windows and any lighting that may have dust settling. Now’s the time to consider professional cleaning services if that’s within your budget.
2. Declutter & de-personalise
Now that everything is clean, we have to ensure everything is tidy. Messy homes can signify dirty homes, even if that’s not always the case. This is the perfect time for a spring cleaning so you can also minimise your belongings when you move to your new home. Get rid of clothes, books, and all items you haven’t used in a while. Our personal rule is if you haven’t used it in two years and don’t plan on using it in the next two, it has to go.
Remove magazines, mail, shoes, laundry and of course, any dishes in the sink. Everything should be kept away in their respective storage compartments.
And when we say de-personalise, this unfortunately points to picture frames, bedside or bathroom products and kitchen goods. You can leave simple things out, but the fewer the merrier! The objective is for the space to look clean and well-kept.
Neutral interiors are more successful, so you might consider buying new bedsheets if your current ones are more eclectic. A good opportunity to revamp the bedroom look for your new home.
3. Hire a stager (if you need one)
Staging houses is notoriously successful. Stagers know how to bring out the best aspects of a property and let them shine. They know to add the right amount of personal touches without going overboard. And the biggest sell? All the furniture looks new, which makes your home look new too.
You can expect to spend around $5,000 for a stager in Australia, but this depends. Sometimes they can stage certain rooms instead of the whole house which drives down the price.
4. Final touches before the open house
Your real estate agent will offer great advice on how to prepare your home for the open house. If you trust your agent, you can trust them to the handle the open house on their own. They will usually prepare some light refreshments as well to encourage other agents and potential buyers to stay longer and chat.
Other little things you can do before the day are:
- Empty out your garage and pull your car out of your driveway: this will show people how much space there is and show the view of your home from the sidewalk.
- Draw your curtains and blinds: most open houses are held during the day, so you want to let all the potential sunlight in.
- Close toilet seats: think this one is self-explanatory!
- Check your front door and balcony: make sure these are clean, dusted and presentable.
- Take your pet with you: you can also clear away any signs of your pet, like theirs feeding vessels, toys and bed. Pets are not everyone’s cup of tea.
- Secure any valuables and personal items: any important valuable items, money, personal identification, documents and medication should be hidden or kept safe.
Just remember to use your real estate agent on their knowledge on how to stage an open house. They’ve usually done their fair share of them!
Need more tips on selling your home?
Browse our lifestyle category. It’s chock full of hacks and home decor advice from industry professionals including how to decorate a small space and our favourite design blogs. And remember to download the Soho app for quicker browsing and property matching. It’s getting you into your dream home faster!