Preparing for the sale of your home is one thing — finding and working with a real estate agent, finding all necessary paperwork, working on your search for new living quarters, etc. But preparing for your open house is a whole other process, and it can be time-consuming if you aren’t sure where to start. You want to make a good, lasting impression, but you also want to be sure to showcase the house itself — not your family photos or interior decorating skills. Here are a few tips on what to tend to before your doors open.
Maintain the Exterior
The interior might be the logical focus when you’re opening your doors to let people freely tour your home, but before they walk up the front steps, they need to be attracted to the exterior. Clean up the windows, siding, and sidewalks the best you can (a pressure washer can be your best friend), and make sure your house numbers and mailbox look clean and well-maintained. If they are looking a bit worse for wear, they’re quick and cheap to replace. Also, consider putting potted plants on the porch or adding window boxes for a splash of green.
When you’re cleaning, start with the obvious stuff: Pack up the clutter, like mail, magazines, extra blankets, your collection of cookie jars, etc. Basically, make sure that in every room, the house — not your personal belongings — is what is on display. With all of the surfaces cleared of unnecessary items, it’s time to turn to the nitty-gritty details. If your carpets are showing their age, have them shampooed. If the bathroom grout is less than white, give them a solid scrub. A potential homeowner doesn’t want to keep track of the move-in chores they’ll have to do. Also, pay attention to the way every room smells. If it’s a bit stale, spray some air neutralizer or use a wax melter to infuse pleasant smells, but stay away from heavy or flowery scents.
Decorate with Purpose
Every room of your house has a different mood and a different purpose, and you should leverage this knowledge when you’re staging your home. Show the versatility of your home by staging each room as a vignette of a certain lifestyle. A pitcher of lemonade with a couple of glasses on the kitchen table, a board game-in-progress in the living room, or a pair of rocking chairs on the porch can all help the potential buyer picture — and be excited for — their life in the house.
Focus on Comfort
With the heavy-lifting already done, the final touches should be geared toward making your home comfortable. What’s the weather like outside? A fresh breeze can do wonders for a first impression. A lit fireplace can cast the room in a cozy glow. But also keep in mind the general temperature of your home; you want every visitor to feel comfortable. Set out a few thoughtful snacks and bottles of water, grab one for yourself, and then relax. You’re ready!