What are Some Tips for Open House Planning?

Darlene Goodman

Individuals selling a property may choose to hold an open house to show the property to prospective buyers. These individuals are typically homeowners or real estate agents. There are several ways for a seller to prepare his or her property for an open house. Most tips for open house planning fall into four main categories, cleaning, repairing, removing clutter, and updating.

Virtually all real estate agents advise minimizing the clutter in the house.
Virtually all real estate agents advise minimizing the clutter in the house.

Home staging is typically an important part of open house planning. Staging means to set up a house in a way that makes it appealing to buyers. Many realtors realize the importance of this, and some have professional training in it. Homeowners who are selling their property without the help of a realtor or home decorator may plan their own open house, or hire a home staging professional to help.

Odors from cigarette smoke need to be removed for an open house.
Odors from cigarette smoke need to be removed for an open house.

Generally, a thorough house cleaning should be one of the first stages of open house planning. Sellers may wish to clean the house themselves or hire a professional cleaning service to do it. This cleaning should remove dirt, stains, and any unpleasant odors, like cigarette smoke or pet odor. This step may be crucial for the sale of a property, because many potential buyers are incapable of looking past dirt or odors to see a property’s potential.

A thorough house cleaning is important to have completed prior to an open house.
A thorough house cleaning is important to have completed prior to an open house.

Another step that should be a part of open house planning is making repairs to the property. Often, completing major, or even minor, repairs can increase a property’s ability to sell. If major repairs are needed, the seller should probably invest in them before the open house so that buyers can see the house at its best.

Open houses are often buyers' first look into a home for sale, so the house should look as appealing as possible.
Open houses are often buyers' first look into a home for sale, so the house should look as appealing as possible.

Minor repairs should also be taken care of before an open house. These repairs may be as simple as filling holes in drywall or recaulking a bathroom, but they can be important for a sale. Sometimes, if a buyer perceives that the homeowners have neglected basic maintenance of the property, he or she may wonder if there are more serious or expensive structural problems that were not addressed.

Walls should be re-painted before holding an open house.
Walls should be re-painted before holding an open house.

Organizing and removing clutter is another task that should typically be taken care of during open house planning. Many realtors and home design stagers suggest that rooms, closets, and kitchens should not be too tightly packed with furniture, accessories, or clothing. Clutter may make a living space feel small, so some items may need to be removed before the open house.

Many home staging professionals suggest that a seller should update the look of the property. This step typically involves giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. It may also include adding new accessories or window coverings to create a space that feels fresh.

Open houses are used to showcase a property to potential buyers.
Open houses are used to showcase a property to potential buyers.

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