How to Host the Perfect Open House

Your open house is the best way to put lots of potential buyers in one place and drive competition for your property. But if executed poorly, it can be a liability instead of the asset it was meant to be. With a few quick preparations, you can ensure your open house is a success and make your property the talk of the town in all the ways that matter.


Here are four easy ways to prepare for an open house.

  1. Clean everything. Your home may be clean, but it needs to be cleaner. You’ve likely already swept, mopped, and cleared the dining room table, but don’t neglect the areas of your home that you don’t frequent because your buyers will. Areas you may not have even considered, such as the attic, closets, and garage, are important selling points, and buyers will be quick to inspect these valuable storage spaces. Sweep behind doors, give the oven a thorough cleaning, and while you’re there, clean behind the stove. If you have pets, it’s exponentially important to eliminate odors and hair from the carpet and furniture. If you’re running low on time and the weather is nice, consider opening a window an hour before the open house.
  2. Offer refreshments. A few light refreshments, including bottled water, coffee, and cookies, will make your house feel like home to potential buyers. The National Association of Realtors adds that you can sweeten the pot by leaving miniature wrapped candies, fresh fruit, and single-serving chips and sodas.
  3. Don’t stick around. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a seller is staying close to home during your open house. While you may feel obligated to answer questions about your neighborhood and property, buyers will be uncomfortable by your presence. Likewise, your dog—and his stuff—should be nowhere in sight. Since you already know the date of your open house, plan ahead and connect with a local dog boarder who can keep your pup the night before and until after the event has passed. If you’re not comfortable leaving your dog in the care of strangers, can help you connect with highly rated pet sitters.
  4. Fix all the little things. Like the dust bunnies under the bed, there are plenty of small home repairs you’ve neglected. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a two-bedroom cottage or a five-bedroom family home, take the time to fix the little things, and your property will be much more appealing. Peeling paint, wobbly closet doors, mildewed caulk in the bathtub, and loose tiles on the kitchen floor are all huge red flags to buyers that the property has not been well maintained. Don’t stop inside, either, your home’s exterior is just as important as its interior. Check your front porch, mailbox, deck, and any other highly visible areas for damage and make sure these issues are rectified before your open house. Even if you’re not handy, many simple home repairs can be completed without calling in a professional. The Home Depot offers information on how to fix rotted wood on the deck, which is one of the more intimidating projects for homeowners.

It doesn’t cost a lot to have a huge impact during your open house. Make sure everything is in “mother-in-law” clean condition, encourage your guests to stick around by tempting their taste buds (but don’t stick around yourself), and fix all of those nagging little to-do tasks that no one ever does. A small investment of your time will help you get the most out of your home, and by having these little things taken care of, you’ll be that much closer to selling your home.

Open House Signal

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Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.