Today, in a housing market where home prices are rising, staging a successful open house is more important than ever. According to CNBC, the number of available homes is at a low ebb this year, and builders aren’t supplying enough new ones to meet the demand. This should place an even higher premium on successful open houses as potential home buyers get into full swing this spring. Some experts are predicting homes full of suitors and buyers queued up at front doors. If that proves true, doing a great job with your open house will be crucial to gaining an advantage among discriminating buyers who know exactly what they want and what they don’t want.
Curb appeal is critically important in a competitive housing market. You want passersby to slow down and get a good look, drawn in by a specific feature and the overall attractiveness of your property. Make sure your yard is immaculately landscaped with bushes and shrubs well manicured, the grass kept short and edged, and flowers planted strategically by the front door and around your mailbox. Consider giving your front door and shutters a fresh coat of bright paint and make sure your house numbers are undamaged and clearly visible. Remember, the drive-by is your first chance to make a good impression on prospective buyers.
A home with a lot of clutter gives the impression of being disorganized and dirty, which is not the impression you want to make when buyers walk through the door. Go room by room and pick up or throw away any loose papers, move out excess furniture that might impede easy movement throughout your home, and pack away any knick-knacks that could contribute to a disheveled appearance. Home buyers are impressed by clean space where everything’s in its place. If you have a lot of personal items, put them away until after your open house. Remember, you want to impress with square footage and flow, not the cuteness of your kids and pets. Personal objects tend to distract visitors from what they’re really there for: to envision your home as theirs. If they’re able to do that, you’ve made a good first step.
Lots of light
There’s no substitute for light when you’re trying to make a strong impression on buyers. The more natural light the better, so keep your drapes and blinds open to let in the sun. If you have rooms that don’t get much sunlight, install new lighting so that visitors can easily see into corners and inside closets. Consult with a lighting professional at your local hardware store to determine what kind of lighting would work best in your darkest rooms.
Pets are another no-no when it comes to an open house. Buyers, even those who might be pet owners themselves, are likely to see your house in a different light if they see evidence that a dog or cat lives there. Keep your furry friend with a friend or relative on open house day or look into a boarding facility or dog-walking service for the day. And remove the evidence. No pictures of your dog dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day. Store away pet toys and food and water dishes.
Your home’s interior has to be in pristine shape. That means having your carpets professionally deep-cleaned, with all pet urine stains removed and dog or cat hair vacuumed. The average price for a one-time interior house cleaning in Los Angeles ranges from $116 to $222. If you’re not able to wash your windows, consider having it done professionally, and if your siding is looking dingy, you may need to rent a power washer to get it into proper open house condition.
An open house is a key part of your marketing outreach. Your home may be listed online with plenty of pictures, but there’s no substitute for making a good in-person impression. So clean, declutter, and make it shine, inside and out.
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By: Suzie Wilson