In some ways, having an open house is a lot like a job interview. You want to make a good first impression—the best first impression—to knock the socks off of anyone who may be interested, but what are the best ways to do that?
Just like in a job interview that is cut short when one too many spritzes of your favorite perfume overpower the room, the scents in your home have the same effect. Too much potpourri or an overwhelming odor of cleaning products won’t “trick” buyers into wanting a second look. Try subtle scents instead. Bake a batch of cookies before an open house and let that familiar smell waft through the air. If weather permits, open a window to invite buyers to enjoy the freshness of your home. If you use scented sprays or cleaning products, use them sparingly. Your buyer should feel at home in your house, not like they need to step out for some fresh air.
According to HGTV, one of the best ways to stage your home for an open house is by identifying who your target market is. “If you live in a neighborhood that’s popular with first-time buyers and your home hasn’t been renovated since 1977, you’ll want to strip the wallpaper and remove the dated draperies to appeal to young buyers. If you live in an upscale neighborhood, buyers will expect certain high-end features and upgrades.” Your Realtor will be the best source in helping you identify your target market.
HGTV also points out that once you list your home, it’s no longer your home. It’s a product. To you, the house is “a property;” to buyers it could be their next home. Let the buyers emotionally connect with their potential new home by removing personal items that make the house feel like yours. A wall full of your family’s photos hinders a buyer from visualizing their own family living in the house.
The most obvious tip is to have a clean house. You wouldn’t buy a new outfit covered in someone else’s stains, and buyers don’t want to clean up after your messes before they can enjoy their new home. But once your house is clean, consider which areas seemed cluttered, and straighten them up. Anything that draws attention away from the home’s appeal will only be a distraction. But don’t just shove everything into an empty room or uninhabited closet hoping others won’t look in there. Anything that is “off limits” is a huge red flag, and buyers will continue their home search at another property.
On average, HOME Real Estate offers about 60 open houses a week, making open houses an excellent starting point for buyers. If you’re unsure what to do before your open house, ask! Your agent will know your particular market area, as well as the habits and preferences of your potential buyers, making them the best source of information as you prepare for an open house.