Insider Secrets for Open House Prep
You’ve heard the same old tips for getting your place ready for an open house a million times: repair, spruce, stage, clean, deodorize. (And with good reason, because they work!) But beyond these bare minimum absolute musts, here are some less obvious things you should consider doing if you are aiming to pull off an Open House that showcases your home at its absolute best.
1. Visit other open houses in your neighborhood, city and/or price range. Get a feel for how the competition is putting its best foot forward to prospective buyers – or not, as the case may be. This exercise of seeing how clean and pristine, well-decorated and neutralized (in odor and decor) some listings are, and seeing how basically clean, but well-lived in properties, appear to be down at the heels by comparison, will help you see your own place through new eyes: the eyes of prospective buyers who will be making those same comparisons with your house.
2. Move. Okay, you don’t have to move all the way out, but you should do a pre-move packing session. Literally, pretend you’re moving (if things go well, you will be) and pack up almost everything you like or need to use on a daily basis. Toiletries, pictures of your dear old granny and her kitties, your Tron posters — none of this stuff should be visible to Open House hunters. And remember – they open closets, drawers, cupboards and garages. Consider renting a storage space if you need to.
3. Invite the neighbors. Yes, your neighbors are probably looky loos, just salivating to get a glimpse into how you live. But there’s a good chance they are also (a) aware of other people who want to live in their neighborhood, and (b) vested in your getting good neighbors. So, invite them – stranger things have happened than a neighbor attending an open house, then letting a house hunting friend know that they must go take a look.
4. Enlist the neighbors. Even if your neighbors don’t personally know someone who is in the market for a place in your neck of the woods, they want your home to sell at top dollar – remember, your home’s sale will form the basis for their home’s value! So, while you’re inviting the neighbors to attend, be aware of whether there’s anything they can do to make your Open House run smoothly – and ask! Things like moving their cars to free up street parking for attendees and not having their kid practice his trombone in the backyard during that particular 3 hours Sunday afternoon are favors almost any good neighbor will be happy to do.
5. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. This one’s not for everyone, and you’ll have to exercise good judgment to decide how far to go with it, but if you happen to live next door to the blighted house on the block – the one with waist high grass and cars parked on it – it might make sense to reach out and offer some help to your struggling neighbor. (Even if your home is amazing, some buyers will just not live next to a place like that.) Now – some residents of these types of places can be, shall we say, sensitive to the idea that you might be insulting the way they live. But other times, they are just elderly, down-on-their-luck, ill, or otherwise overwhelmed people who would welcome some help. If you have reason to think that your neighbors fall into this last group, take some cookies or their newspaper over and see if you can help them – and help yourself in the process.
6. Get over yourself. You know how you like to brag that your taste, your personal style, is eclectic? That you’re a trendsetter? The flip side of that is that you might have a bunch of stuff – like the sequined, tasseled, feathered, sculpted, man-sized butterfly wall hanging I once saw at an open house – that no one else would like. The goal in preparing your home for an Open House is to neutralize the decor, so that the broadest possible number of people will crave to live there. So, instead of insisting on using this moment in time to express your, mmm, unique design leanings, let your agent (or a pro stager) help you decide what should stay and what should go.
Agents: what other insider secrets for Open House prep do you share with your sellers?
Buyers: what do you wish sellers of the Open Houses you’ve visited lately would have done? How could they have made a bigger positive impact on your impressions of the home?
Posted by http://www.trulia.com/