Open houses are a good way to get more people looking at your home, which increases your chances of finding someone to buy it. You need to make sure everything is in order before people start arriving for the event, however; otherwise, you may unintentionally expose yourself to legal problems or scare prospective buyers away. Here are three things you need to take care of before the day of the open house.
Get Rid of Foul Odors
Nothing ruins an open house faster than bad odors. Future homebuyers may tolerate a cluttered space or bad décor, but they will turn their nose up at sticking around a stinky place for very long. It's important, therefore, to make sure your home smells clean and fresh before the first open house guest arrives.
Unfortunately, when people live in a place for a long period of time, they may become nose blind to the odors in their homes. You may need to have a friend, family member, or someone who rarely visits come to your house and tell you how it smells. Whether or not you make this happen before the open house, there are a few tried and true things you can do to prevent bad odors from ruining your prospects.
- Move litter boxes, blankets, and other pet items to the garage for the duration of the open house
- Steam clean carpets and furniture to get rid of pet and other odors
- Open the windows to air out the home for several hours
- Repaint the walls to add appeal and get rid of smells that may have settled into the old paint
- Use an odor neutralizer (e.g. Febreze, Lysol) on all your furnishings
Introducing nice smells into your home's environment can also cover up mild odors. Baking cookies, lighting scented candles (cinnamon, orange, and vanilla are good scents), or putting scented plug-ins in the rooms can do wonders to minimize bad odors.
Hide Your Valuables
You will have a lot of strangers roaming through your home, and not all of them may be trustworthy. Most criminals are opportunistic and will take advantage of the situation to make off with valuable items if the moment presents itself. Therefore, you need to take care to secure your valuables.
Jewelry, money, expensive collectibles, and other high-dollar items should be put in a safe or hidden somewhere people can't find them. Large, big-ticket items like 4K televisions, computers, and game systems should be placed in a room that won't be accessible by your visitors. Alternatively, you can place all of your belongings in temporary storage and stage your home, which is a good option if you'll be moving soon anyway.
However, it's not just your stuff you need to be worried about. Be sure to put away bank statements, credit cards, and other items that may look delicious to an identity thief. Lock down all electronic devices (e.g. tablets, cell phones) to prevent unauthorized snooping when you're not around.
Make Room for Many
The third thing you need to do is arrange the space to accommodate the number of people you're likely to have traipsing through you place. That hall table may look cute, for instance, but it could cause a traffic jam that may highlight negative aspects about your home to potential buyers.
It's also essential you move things that could cause a very expensive accident. The last thing you want is to get sued by someone who sprained an ankle tripping over a potted plant while at your open house.
For more information about preparing for your open house, contact a real estate agent.