What You Need To Know About Planning A Successful Open House
Written by: Suzie Wilson
Interior Designer, Author, Creator of Happierhome.net
It’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase “there’s never a second chance to make a first impression,” well that’s exactly what should be going through your head when planning an open house. Things that seem completely normal to you — from decor to smell — are likely to be a turnoff to a potential buyer.
It’s also interesting to note that research indicates millennial home sales are on the rise (34 percent of the market share in comparison to 30 percent of baby boomers), and they have specific needs in mind. For example, millennials want larger homes in comparison to boomers (average of 2,375 square feet in comparison to 1,879) with at least four bedrooms — only 20 percent of boomers want the same. Robust outdoor spaces such as a patio/deck and front porch are also on the younger generation’s wish list. While your neighborhood and home value might already determine your market, these are things to consider when preparing for an open house if there’s an opportunity to appeal to a specific group. However, don’t let this be your only driving force. There are several other details to take care of that will wow a potential buyer of any generation.
- Add Curb Appeal
The outside of your home is the first thing a potential buyer sees, so you want to make sure it has an inviting flair. While adding low-maintenance flowers and shrubs (even in large, attractive pots if you don’t have a green thumb) can go a long way, don’t neglect impactful details such as mowing the lawn and getting rid of weeds and leaves; cleaning the windows and gutters; killing mold and mildew on the house, roof, sidewalks, and driveway; removing vegetation/weeds between concrete or bricks; trimming trees and bushes; and pressure washing dirty siding, porches, and decks. Added bonus: adding curb appeal boosts the value of your home.
- Declutter And Depersonalize
You can’t take this step personally if you want to sell your home in a timely manner. Potential buyers want to envision what their life could be like in your space, so you have to remove excess furniture, anything related to a personal hobby or interest, collections, personal photos or awards, personal items (think toiletries, piles of mail or work-related papers, craft projects, toys), and anything related to your pet. While it’s a good idea to declutter your home before a move anyway, remind yourself that you don’t have to get rid of your things — just temporarily remove them until after the move. It’s also a good idea to replace dated and child-focused wallpaper/wall decor (think decals, stencils, etc.) with a fresh coat of paint in a neutral hue.
- Remove Odors
Pet and cigarette odor mixed with last night’s garlic chicken aren’t going to help sell your home. In fact, an unpleasant aroma is among one of the top turnoffs. Aside from a good thorough cleaning (including carpets, drapes, curtains, upholstery, and bedding), deodorize your home with simple techniques such as making a stove simmer with citrus slices and herbs, cleaning your garbage disposal with running water and baking soda, strategically placing scented candles (light during showing), clip a car deodorizer on air vents, and cooking something sweet and delicious in the oven.
- Go For Light And Bright
While there’s something to be said for cozy ambiance, an open house is not the occasion. Open up the curtains and drapes and turn on attractive illumination (think lamps and lighting fixtures with soft lighting, not a glaring fluorescent light you use to do housework) throughout your home.
If you start to get stressed, look at open house prep as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. It enables you to start the decluttering/packing process for your move while enabling you to sell your home faster. Just make sure you create a plan of action and a timeline so you stay on track.
Photo Credit: Pixabay