It’s a blessing and a curse
The blessing of about being a Realtor is Open Houses. I know that might sound nutty, but it’s true. Even though only a small percentage of homes are sold at an Open House, (like less than 5%) it’s still a great way to get into the groove in this industry. The curse is that when you’ve hosted enough Open Houses, it’s easy to see missed opportunities to help the homeowners get their homes sold quicker.
One of the things I have noticed is that there’s a variety of ways people consider their homes ‘ready to show’ for those hours when visitors/shoppers are going to be coming in during an Open House.
I’ve been in homes that I don’t think had been cleaned in weeks. Blecht!
I’ve been in homes that had so much furniture it was like a maze in every room.
I’ve been in homes that were empty so the kids that were brought over thought it was an indoor playground. Gaaa!!
What I have constantly noticed is that some of the best features of the homes were not showcased. Frustrating, huh?
A large pantry was filled with food so it looks cramped.
The backyard or side yard were scattered with toys and items from projects unfinished or not put away.
One homeowner had a piece of furniture that was an heirloom so she was extra worried about it getting dinged or bumped by strangers. Really??
Listen, the beauty of being a homeowner is we LIVE in our homes. It’s our stuff. It’s our project or kids’ toy. But when you’re trying to sell that home that you’ve lived in and loved for a while, you need to show it in a way so that no one can tell.
Not to be rude or anything, but no one cares about it like you do.
You’re moving anyway!
You’re going to want to help shoppers visualize living in the home as much as possible, which can be challenging — especially if you’re still living in the home.
If you ever get overwhelmed with any of this, there’s a key phrase that will be helpful for you to remember throughout this entire process and it’s this: YOU’RE MOVING ANYWAY!
Don’t feel like removing pictures or furniture? “You’re moving anyway!”
Don’t feel like renting a storage space to move the tools in the garage? “You’re moving anyway!”
It will help you to remember this when it doesn’t make sense at the time. Promise.
Let’s break it down a bit
If at any time you would rather just download the checklist I have put together, feel free! It’s [eafl id=”1709″ name=”Open House Checklist” text=”here”]. But if you’re more of a detail lover, here’s the breakdown. We’ll just start at the front of the house and work our way through the entire thing. Okay?
1: Clear the entry.
If you have cobwebs, a ratty welcome mat, a burnt out bulb or dirty windows, that will be the first impression people see as they walk up.
You shouldn’t have any trash or dead plants. Imagine it’s the first time you’ve ever walked up to your home. What makes it look prettiest? Sweep the front door and walkway as well.
2: Put it away.
If you have weapons or jewelry set out, you need to put that away or in a safe. Better yet, take as much of it with you as you possibly can.
3: Lazy Shoppers.
If you have a very specific or dramatic decorating style throughout the house, think of taking half of it away. Shoppers are lazy by nature. They cannot ‘see’ their belongings and lifestyle over yours if it’s all over every wall, cabinet and bedroom.
If you can have your home professionally staged, that would be great. If not, that’s fine; just do your best to have as much walking space as possible. Give shoppers easy access and a clear pathway to the backyard. If you need to remove a chair or small eating area for the time being, do it.
If you have animals, take them with you. Put their boxes and beddings and toys away. Animals are like kids: everyone likes theirs best. No one goes to an open house to snuggle with someone else’s cat, dog or chickens.
Consider boarding them at a friend’s house or the vet for the afternoon.
To follow up with the animals being removed, it wouldn’t hurt to bake something. I don’t mean a full on birthday cake, I’m talking about a small batch of cupcakes or cookies. Something that can help your home smell inviting and welcome shoppers in.
The side benefit is that it will mask some of the animal odors. Again, like kids, pet owners don’t usually smell their dogs like others do. Do everyone a favor and hide it.
Word of caution though: don’t leave the mess. No one will want to see dirty dishes in the sink at an Open House.
6: Cupboards, closets & cabinets, oh my!
Leave yourself with basic cookware, linens, games, etc. for the time being, but take all of the extra pots, pans and towels out. Shoppers will open cupboards in the kitchens and hallways.
Remember: You’re moving anyway!
If you have a giant walk-in closet, remove half of your clothing and shoes. A helpful way to figure out what to remove, consider the opposite season’s attire. If you’re selling in the summer, move out all the winter clothing. If you’re selling in winter, move out summer. Easy peasy!
If you are lucky enough to have a giant walk-in pantry, remove half of the food and extras you have inside of it. You’ll want to showcase that space in particular because it’s a huge selling point!
7. Bedrooms & Baths.
In addition to removing all of your special items and jewelry from the bedrooms, clear the counters in your bathroom as well. If you have a tub & shower, keep the corners free of products and potions. Floors and toilets should be cleaned as well.
8. Kitchen counters.
If you have very little counter space, freeing that up will do wonders for you. Removing as many of the appliances from that room will make a huge impact. If you have tons of counter space, keep it clear as well.
Remember: You’re moving anyway!
9. Backyard, Side yard and Garage
If you have kid’s toys, jumpers and bikes, move them to the side yard. If you have a shed or room in the garage, put them there.
Do you have a pool with a waterfall or fountain? Turn it on for the time of your Open House. That will do a couple of things: show the shoppers that it works. Yay! As well as, show off a great entertainment option.
If you haven’t rented the storage unit that we mentioned earlier, most shoppers will have no problem overlooking a packed garage. Have your realtor share that it’s your staging area for packing. An empty garage is not a top priority for an Open House.
10. Hire a housekeeper.
Now, if you’ve knocked out all of the items on this list you might be kind of exhausted. Hire a housekeeper to get it 100% show ready.
You will give have peace of mind to know that the tubs and sinks are clean, floors are vacuumed, and any potential dusty spot is cleared away.
Now you’re golden!
I hope you found this helpful and that you’ll get lots of offers! Again, if you want to just print the worksheet and hand a copy to everyone in your house, [eafl id=”1709″ name=”Open House Checklist” text=”click this link”]!
Until next week,
Weekly Welcome Mat with Angel Przybylski
Bakersfield Homes and Lifestyle