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Steps to Preparing for an Open House


1. Hire a cleaning service. A spotlessly clean home is essential; dirt will turn off a prospect faster than anything.

2. Pay attention to the outdoors. Mow your lawn, and be sure toys and yard equipment are put away.

3. Serve cookies, coffee, and soft drinks. It creates a welcoming touch. But be sure the kitchen has been cleaned up; use disposable cups so the sink doesn’t fill up.

4. Lock up your valuables, jewelry, and money. Although we will be on site during the open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

5. Turn on all the lights. Even in the daytime, incandescent lights add sparkle.

6. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (a basement or bath), and let us know where to find them.

7. Add a touch of color. Use fresh or silk flowers to breathe life and color into the main rooms. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room.

8. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and fancy guest soaps.

9. Does it smell good? Set out potpourri or fresh baked goods for a homey smell. Make sure that there are no lingering scents from cigarettes or pets.

10. Help them envision living there. Set the table with pretty dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture themselves there. For example, in the basement, lay out a chess game.

11. Beautify the entrance. Buy a fresh doormat with a pretty pattern or a clever saying.

12. Make the rooms feel bigger. Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.

13. Accentuate counter space. Put away kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.

14. Lay logs in the fireplace. Or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Depersonalize the rooms. Put away family photos, mementos, and distinctive artwork.

16. The lawn should sparkle. Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes to make the lawn sparkle.

17. Leave. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

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