Preparing for an Open House

Real Estate Agent 00330494

Preparing for an open house is an important part of the selling process.  But there can be so many things to think about that the entire process can become overwhelming.  Here are some great tips to simplify your open house preparation!

1. Clean out closets and cabinets.  Even though you might not think about it, potential buyers WILL open drawers, cabinets and closets to see how much space there is.  Any clutter could be a turn off for buyers and it’s hard for them to see how much storage space the house really has.  Try using baskets or bins to neatly organize your cabinets.  Food storage containers are a great option for flour, sugar, etc. and can make your pantry look put-together and larger.

Photo Credit: DIY Network


2. Remember the outside of the house.  It’s the first impression potential buyers will have!  Pressure wash the outside, or add a new coat of paint, if needed.  Replace the house numbers if they’re worn out so people will be sure to find the right home.  Mow the lawn, add potted flowers and put a doormat on the front porch.  You want to make the best first impression possible.

3. Clean.  Better than you ever have before.  Have carpets and fabrics professionally cleaned.  Polish hardwoods.  Spend extra time on the bathrooms and kitchen — people expect those areas to be spotless. And don’t forget places you normally don’t think about!  Ceiling fans, windows and floorboards should be spotless as well.

4. Depersonalize.  Put away anything in your house that would be considered “personal.”  This includes family photos and vacation pictures, bills that you normally leave out on the table, children’s artwork, prescription medications, toys, pet items, etc.  Again, potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home, even to the point of imagining their own pictures hanging on the wall.

5. Make your house feel like a home.  Set the table with your best dishes.  Hang matching towels in the bathrooms.  Put a bowl of fresh fruit or beautiful flowers on the kitchen counter.  Light a few candles to make your home smell its best.  These little touches will make your home feel “put together”.

Photo Credit: The Yellow Cape Cod

And remember, there is no benefit for anyone if you’re there during the open house.  Leave.  You have an emotional connection to your home that doesn’t need to be a part of the buying process. So trust your agent and go get a cup of coffee or visit with friends for a few hours.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

We’d love to help you go through the selling process.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  And to read more about staging your home and preparing it to sell, check out our other posts on this topic.  Best of luck to you!

Comments (8)

Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

First impressions are always important whether outside or in.  The better it looks the more inviting and the greater the potential for a buyer to want to make it theirs

May 20, 2015 10:46 AM
Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

After watching an ABC show where homeowners lost items due to theft by "visitors" to their Open Houses- Some homeowners and agents are now installing hidden cameras to review after the open house.

May 20, 2015 11:14 AM
Will Johnson
Hendersonville, TN
The Sell and Stage Team

Ed, you're absolutely right!  That's where I think staging really comes into play. It makes a home look so much more put-together and inviting.  And the better the first impression, the faster a home sells!

May 22, 2015 01:02 AM
Will Johnson
Hendersonville, TN
The Sell and Stage Team

Michele Cadogan yes, this is definitely an issue.  Hidden cameras are a great idea!  It's also good to hide valuable items like jewelry, as well as personal information such as prescription medications, bank statements and bills.  

May 22, 2015 01:03 AM
Gloria Todor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Media, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Hi Will, Your point about depersonalizing a home can be really hard for some homeowners but it is so important for potential buyers to see that the sellers are actually wanting/preparing to move.

All the best.


Jun 06, 2015 06:21 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I agree. It is so important: remove as many personal things as you can and keep the house clean during the selling time.

Jun 20, 2015 04:31 PM
Will Johnson
Hendersonville, TN
The Sell and Stage Team

Gloria Todor, I absolutely agree.  Taking down cherished family photos or sports memorabilia can be difficult, especially during the already difficult process of selling a home that a buyer could have had for years.  But it's so important! Potential home buyers find it very difficult to picture themselves living in a home full of other peoples' personal items.  Thanks for commenting!

Jun 21, 2015 03:41 PM
Will Johnson
Hendersonville, TN
The Sell and Stage Team

Inna Ivchenko, absolutely!  Personal items can make it very difficult for a potential buyer to picture themselves living in the house.  And keeping it clean make a home seem so much more appealing and presentable.  Thanks for your comment!

Jun 21, 2015 03:42 PM