Open House Prep: How to Make Your Home Stand Out

Posted by David Kanne on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at 2:15pm.

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An open house is an opportunity for buyers to tour your home without the formality of scheduling a showing. Perhaps you think this couldn’t possibly lead to a sale, but real estate agent Shelly Berry of RE/MAX Fine Properties disagrees. “Even though most people see a home on the internet, they still want to see in person. They want to touch, smell, and taste what is most people's largest investment in their life,” Berry said, adding, “Many potential buyers will often go out on their own without their realtor to view a home.” If it piques their interest, then they schedule a showing with their realtor. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to make your home stand out.

 

Make a Lasting Impression

 

Just about all of us can remember a time when we didn’t succeed at making the best first impression. Maybe you fumbled over your words or couldn’t remember someone’s name, but unless you really made a mess of things, there were future opportunities to recover. With your home, you get one shot at making a first impression, otherwise buyers will move on to the next house. When a buyer pulls up, their eyes shouldn’t be drawn to the unkempt yard or the tattered shutters, so take the time to spruce up the exterior. During the spring and summer, clean the windows to remove all traces of pollen, add flower bulbs and fresh mulch for color, and mow high so that the green grass overshadows those dull, brown spots that can be a nuisance when the temperatures are blistering hot. Fall and winter can make things look dull, but breathe new life into your home with colorful evergreens, a welcoming door wreath, and landscape lighting.

 

Clean From Top to Bottom

 

Just like you’d clean the house when expecting company, the same applies to your open house. However, this time you can’t count on stuffing everything into an off-limits room, because buyers will be looking everywhere. Cleaning your entire home until it is spotless is a lot of hard work, and to be honest, you might not have the time or energy to dedicate. For that initial deep clean, you might want to hire a professional. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price for a one-time interior house cleaning in Austin, TX, ranges from $117 – $214. After the professionals work their magic, there still might be a few days, or even weeks, before the open house, which is plenty of time for things to get messy again. The day of the open house, wipe down every visible surface, paying special attention to the kitchen and bathroom. Sweep up any crumbs, wipe down appliances, make the beds, empty the garbage, turn on the lights, and head out the door.

 

Make Small Improvements

 

As a seller, you are looking to get the best price possible for your home, and you’ve probably heard by now that home improvements can add resale value. Before you break out the sledgehammer and start demoing, talk with your realtor first to get an honest opinion. If the open house has already been advertised and is scheduled, now isn’t the time to make large changes such as building a deck or gutting the kitchen. However, there are minimal home improvements you can make to add a little value and impress buyers. In the kitchen, you can update hardware and add new light fixtures (and bulbs) to brighten up the room, while fresh grout in the tub and a new toilet seat can give your bathroom noticeable cleanliness. Even simple switch-outs such as new ceiling fan blades, doorknobs, and blinds/curtains make a world of difference.

 

As Berry points out, “Most consumers like to see firsthand what they’re buying,” and an open house is the perfect way to do that. Spend some time getting your house ready for the big day by making sure the exterior leaves a good impression, cleaning, and making small improvements to bring that “wow factor.” With a little hard work and the help of an awesome realtor, your open house will go off without a hitch.

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