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The Complete and Only Open House Checklist You'll Ever Need

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The Complete and Only Open House Checklist You'll Ever Need

Open houses are an effective tactic to help boost interest in available properties. Studies show that hosting an open house can decrease the time a home sits on the market. It can even result in a higher selling price of $9,046 on average.  

When done right, an open house is helpful for buyers, sellers, and agents. It draws a greater amount of traffic and creates more leads for realtors. 

So, how do you make the most of your open house event? Read on for all the key tips from our comprehensive open house checklist. 

Cut out Clutter and Do a Deep Cleaning 

When preparing for an open house, a deep cleaning is an essential step. Buyers want to see a spotless and clutter-free environment.

Doing this creates a more open and inviting atmosphere. It also helps potential buyers envision themselves living in a home.   

Start by deep cleaning the entire home, including the walls, windows, and flooring. All traces of dust, dirt, and dander should be gone. 

Steam carpets and sweep and mop hard floor surfaces. Vacuum curtains, furniture, and upholstery. 

Ensure that all surfaces are sparkling clean and free from clutter. This includes desks, dressers, bookshelves, and fireplace mantels. The bathroom and kitchen counters should be as empty as possible as well. 

Clean inside cabinets, closets, appliances, and pantries. Be sure to remove any dishes from the kitchen sink, drainer, and dishwasher.  You also want to empty all trashcans and recyclables. 

Showers, toilets, and sinks should be sparkling clean. Their surfaces should be free from mildew and soap residue. Put away any personal hygiene products as well. 

Another tip is to organize children's rooms and nurseries. Use woven baskets or bins to store toys, books, and games.  

Water any houseplants so they look lively. Remove any dead or dying plants from the home.  

Some sellers may want to consider renting a storage unit while their home is on the market. A unit offers the perfect place to keep extra furniture, boxes, and unneeded items.  

Stage the Home to Impress Potential Buyers

Staging often falls on an open house checklist for realtors. This technique is often used to sell a home fast as it can shorten the time spent on the market. 

Many realtors find that staging a home can increase its asking price by 5 to 15%. It's a great way to make the best impression on potential buyers.  

Yet, professional staging can become expensive for a homeowner or realtor. It often involves renting new furniture, artwork, and decor.   

There are a few simpler and less costly ways an agent can stage for an open house. Display a few fresh and colorful floral arrangements around the home. Offer fresh baked cookies as a treat and to create a nice scent in the kitchen. 

Freshen up living spaces and make sure all beds are made and well-styled. Fluff and style pillows and throw blankets on beds and couches. Another tip is to set the dining table with place settings, china, and a centerpiece. 

Use a small tray to control clutter on a coffee table, ottoman, or bathroom vanity. Supply fresh soap, toilet paper, tissues, and towels in all bathrooms. Consider replacing an old shower curtain or liner if it has mildew on it. 

You can stage exterior living spaces as well. Do this by adding a plant or welcome mat to the front stoop or entryway. 

Small seasonal touches over the holidays are helpful as well. You could display a festive plant or decorated tree. Lighting the fireplace during the winter is also a nice touch. 

When hosting an open house, it helps to remove personal items. This includes fridge artwork, mail, and important paperwork.

It's smart to remove any artwork or decor that may offend a potential buyer. Keep spaces neutral so they appeal to all genders, races, and political backgrounds.  

Let the Light in

Controlling the ambiance is another tip for how to prepare for an open house. Brighter spaces will make the home appear larger and more welcoming. 

Be sure to open all shades, blinds, and curtains to let in natural lighting. Keep all the shades open at the same height. This creates a uniform look from both inside and at street view. 

Clean all glass on windows and doors to remove dirt, fingerprints, and watermarks. Spotless mirrors will also help to reflect more light into the home. 

If the weather allows, open up the windows to let fresh air circulate through the home. Be sure there are not any objects or furniture pieces blocking a window. 

Open all doors and turn on all the lights during the open house. Don't forget lights in smaller rooms like closets and powder rooms. 

Ensure all lighting fixtures and bulbs are working. Consider using brighter and more efficient bulbs to lighten up darker rooms. You also want to dust all light fixtures and ceiling fans. 

Ensure a Safe and Comfortable Environment

It's important to protect the seller's home as well as the safety of the open house guests. Do this by removing any tripping hazards, like rugs or electrical cords. Check to ensure there are not any unstable stair railings or icy steps.  

34% of the buying market is made up of millennials. So, it's important to appeal to this age-bracket by creating a family-friendly environment. 

Children often accompany their parents to open houses. Be sure that any pool gates are kept closed. No sharp or dangerous objects or tools should be left out either. 

It's always smart to keep valuable belongings out of sight to protect the seller from theft. Don't let the homeowner leave jewelry, laptops, or cash laying around. Put away any controlled substances, like prescriptions.  

Make a Plan for the Pets

Despite pets being a part of the family, they leave behind a lot of dander and hair. This can trigger allergies for potential buyers. Pets may also make open house guests distracted or uncomfortable.  

Dogs can become anxious or excited with so many people visiting the home. Whimpering or barking dogs can create an unpleasant environment for guests as well.

Any open house checklist for sellers should include a plan for their pets. It's best for pets to not be present during the open house. See if the homeowner's friend or family member can pet sit during the event. 

Having dogs and cats off property will also ensure the safety of the pets. This way they are not accidentally let out of the home with so much traffic coming in and out. 

Another tip is to remove traces of the pet from the home. Litter boxes, dog crates, and dog beds can all be put away. These items cause odors and can be unsightly for potential buyers. 

An air purifier can help remove pet odors from the home. Purifiers are also ideal for ridding the home of cooking smells, smoke, and musty odors.  

You want to avoid using heavily scented candles or diffusers. These can cause irritation for open house guests. 

Schedule a Day out for the Sellers

It's always best to not have the sellers present during an open house. Buyers want to be able to ask the realtor questions and receive honest feedback. They may feel less comfortable looking through the home when sellers are present as well.  

As a realtor, you can politely ask the sellers to plan an outing during the open house. Most open houses only go for a few hours so the sellers should be able to stay busy during this time.  

Promote the Event

Promoting an open house increases awareness and sparks interest in the local community. This ensures you will get more foot traffic and the possibility of multiple offers.  

Start with displaying signage around the neighborhood. You can also put an ad in the newspaper. Be sure to include all important details as well as quality photos of the home if permitted.  

Digital marketing techniques are important to help get the word out. 44% of home buyers begin their search online.

Post your open house details on realtor websites and social media channels. Being present on these digital outlets is a key way to appeal to millennial buyers

Be sure to have an open house sign up sheet at the event. Use this to capture new leads and keep track of your event success. Have property information handouts and plenty of business cards available as well. 

You also want to bring any important paperwork regarding the property. This includes blueprints, surveys, and inspection reports that buyers may want to see.    

The Only Open House Checklist You'll Ever Need

An open house is a key technique for creating traffic and capturing new leads. This open house checklist offers the best tips to plan and execute the perfect event. Buyers will be impressed by a clean, comfortable, staged, and well-promoted open house. 

Are you looking for more ways to increase awareness for an available property? Check out these creative and effective real estate promotion ideas