Open House Preparation 101 – What one MN Realtor Says

Family Room (HDR)

Image by _christian m via Flickr

Preparing for Your Open House

Prepping is very important so that your house can sell itself and place it above other like homes in the area.  Read on for tips to make your open house successful!

Curb Appeal

Careful preparation of the exterior of your home is very important.  Make sure lawn is mowed and trimmed.  Pick up any loose garbage that might have blown in, pick up downed sticks and if possible put garbage and recycling containers out of sight.  Walk up the sidewalk and look for anything that might need addressing such as a plant that doesn’t look healthy or do that last minute sweeping of the porch to pull out dust and or maybe even a cobweb.  First impressions are often lasting.

The Smell Test                     

Our senses often work overtime and we often attach emotions to smells.  We want potential buyers to either not smell anything or to smell something that reminds them of a great moment in time.  Some of the biggest complaints that are heard after a walk through are about the smells.  Smoke, musty, pet odor, dirty clothing are all things that potential buyers will comment on, but these are also things that will leave a lasting impression in a more negative way.  Bake cookies just prior to the open house, a pie or perhaps even some pot pourri.  Just be careful not to overpower the house with any smell.

Foyer Focus

Step outside your front door and then open the front door and walk in.  As you do so look around.  Really look.  Make sure you have put away all shoes and jackets,  Look at mirrors, wall art and windows making sure that there are no smudges, dust or spider webs.  Take a moment to wipe down switch plates and those door knobs!  Does the closet look spacious?  If not, pack seasonal items away and limit anything else that is not necessary at this time.

Open Spaces

From the home entrance, take a look around.  What other areas of the house can you see from the entrance?  If there are items or areas that look cluttered, remove these items.  If something looks out of place, move it.  As you walk around, make sure all window treatments are open as far as possible to let in lots of light.  Turn on all lamps and lights in the house!

The Kitchen

The kitchen is often the make or break of any home buying consideration.  This makes it a room to spend some extra time in.  Put away anything that is not necessary.  Make sure trash can is empty and clean to meet goal above (odor).  Shine the sink and make sure all towels are put away.  If you have appliances sitting out on the counter top,   Dishwasher should be clean and empty and thought should be put into de cluttering the inside of the cabinets and drawers.  Make sure they are clean.

The Bathroom

Bathrooms require a real shine.  By nature, they are private spaces so try to think hotel bathroom here.  Remove all clutter, and put away all personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, brushes, etc.  Put these into a basket and tuck them away during open houses.  Put up some new towels that are clean and fresh.  Make sure toilet, shower, sink are all shining!  Empty trash and hide the toilet brush and or plunger out of site.  Look to the ceiling and make sure fan and fixtures are clean and dust free.  Are all of the bulbs working?  If not, replace these before the open house.  Open up the linen closet and declutter and remove anything that you won’t need until after the move.

The Bedroom

Are the windows letting in as much light as possible?  Are the windows clean both inside and out?  Make sure the bed is made and that all personal items are stored away.  Use a laundry basket or storage tote to pop items into during opens and showings so that you can just toss items into it and take it with you in the car during the show.  Open your closet and remove any seasonal items, bulky bedding or anything else that makes the closet “look full”.  You want to leave the impression that you have lots of extra space.  Take all jewelry or other valuable items with you if at all possible.  Medications are another thing that should go along with you or at minimum, be tucked into a drawer.  Potential buyers can be nosy and will open closets and other items that will sell with the home such as built in furniture.

The Living and Family Room

Put away everything that might be construed as clutter.  Newspapers, magazines, remotes, toys, etc.  Wipe down all electronics to make sure they are dust and smudge free.  Fluff those pillows and throws to create a clean and tidy appearance.  Vacuum the room to remove any tracks if you have this type of carpet.  Remember it can be the little things that can make or break the deal, so your extra effort can really pay off big!

Dining Area

Wipe down chairs and table and remove all clutter.  Consider adding a simple arrangement like flowers or a bowl of fruit and consider dressing the table for a meal with nice china.  This is the one room that you may choose to dim the lighting if possible to create extra ambiance in the room.

Laundry / Utility / Basement Area

These areas often carry an odor due to their below grade status.  Allow dehumidifiers to run before your open house, however turn off and remove if possible so as to not cause extra concern if not necessary.  Just a reminder, that any moisture problem will be disclosed to all potential buyers. You might plug in an air freshener behind a piece of furniture to add a nice scent to the room.  The laundry room, while a place to do laundry, should not have any piles of clothes present, clean or dirty.  The washer and dryer should be empty as well as any baskets.  Dirty laundry can stink too, so take this into consideration.  Store detergents and other cleaners out of site and give the washer and dryer a wipe down to have them shine.  Oh and don’t forget to clean the lint trap and empty that trash can.


I hope that you have found these tips helpful and can see what with these tips you can be ready to go in short notice without feeling like you have left a mess behind.  Keep it up and Good Luck in finding your buyer!




2 thoughts on “Open House Preparation 101 – What one MN Realtor Says

  1. These are great tips. Reminds me of what we went through selling our home a few years ago. I had two babies at the time (an infant and an 18 month old) and it was craziness trying to get the house to be presentable!

    Now, whenever I clean, I am so thankful that I am doing it just for OUR family, and not a bunch of lookie-loos on open house day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s