Selling your home quickly and for the best possible price isn’t easy – regardless of how well the UK property market is performing at present. To give your home a distinctive edge over the competition, it might be a good idea to organise an open house event.
This idea of allowing prospective buyers to wander around your home may be relatively new on this side of the pond, but it has been part and parcel of house selling in America for decades. Open houses give people the chance to ‘drop in’ during a specified period of time throughout the day. They also allow potential buyers to take their time whilst viewing a property – without the intrusive supervision of an estate agent or homeowner.
Staging an open house event is a great way to kick-start the house selling process – but it requires organisation and planning. Follow these 10 steps to ensure that your house is spick and span when your prospective buyers arrive at your event.
1. ELIMINATE CLUTTER
You will need to give prospective buyers the chance to imagine themselves living in your home, which means you must remove clutter in order to create a blank canvass. It’s also a good idea to remove any personal artefacts such as photos and certificates. If you don’t have space, renting temporary storage or making use of a friend’s garage will help.
2. ENSURE YOUR HOME HAS ‘KERB APPEAL’
From the moment your prospective buyers arrive outside, you need to create a positive and lasting impression. Step outside, and take a look at your home from the street – this is the first thing buyers will see. Is there litter lying around? Are the fascias in good order? And is your garden tidy and attractive?
3. GET THE PRESSURE WASHER OUT
Once you’ve picked up any litter, tidied up your gardens and outdoor areas and made the exterior of your home presentable, it’s time for some cleaning. Use a pressure washer to jetwash pathways, fascias, window frames and anything that is dirty and spoiling the overall look of your home.
4. CLEAN THE GUTTERS AND WINDOWS
Once you’ve finished with the pressure washer, switch your attention to the windows and gutters. Ensure that all of your guttering is free from moss and dirt – the last thing you want is water running down the side of your home during your open house. You should then wash all of your windows thoroughly, before polishing them dry with a microfibre cloth.
5. GIVE THINGS A FRESH LICK OF PAINT
Your fences, out-buildings and exterior doors will play a big part in creating a positive first impression amongst prospective buyers. It is therefore important to ensure they are presentable and clean. Inspect anything that is painted, and give things a fresh coat where necessary.
6. BUY A ‘WELCOME’ MAT
This is pretty self-explanatory. You may not be at your front door to welcome all of your guests in, so let a clean ‘welcome mat’ to do the job for you.
7. ATTEND TO NIGGLING REPAIRS
Your prospective buyers won’t expect perfection in your home, but they will expect to see relatively minor repairs attended to. So compile a list of sticking doors, broken handles, leaking taps etc., and make sure they’re all attended to before your event begins.
8. MAKE EVERYTHING SHINE
This is where the really hard work begins. Prospective buyers will forgive certain issues, but a lack of cleanliness isn’t one of them. Working from the top of your home down, polish and clean everything thoroughly. This isn’t a time for half-measures, so clear each room of furniture before you clean. Your last job in each space should be the floors. Having your Shark vacuum cleaner and steam cleaner on hand will speed the process along and ensure your floors are as clean as they can be.
Pay special attention to your kitchen and bathroom. These rooms are particularly important when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene, and they will undoubtedly be crucial to how prospective buyers feel about your home.
The key to a successful open house event is to give potential buyers the chance to imagine themselves living in your property. You might like your feature walls, vivid colour schemes and your antique furniture, but your buyers may not share your enthusiasm. Keep colours and design features as neutral as possible, and exchange any niche items of furniture with more mainstream alternatives.
10. CREATE GREAT AROMAS
Cooking, lighting scented candles and using upholstery sprays are great ways to create wonderful aromas in your home. Scientific research has shown that pleasant smells trigger happy memories and evoke emotions – so make use of them wherever possible.
Above all, your home needs to feel like a warm, comforting and happy place to be. Don’t be afraid to live your life as normal during the event, as this will showcase your home’s possibilities. With some careful planning and the right action plan for your target buyer, there’s no reason why your open house event can’t be a total success.