Opening your home to strangers may feel, well, strange. People will be poking around your sanctuary, looking in your cabinets and checking out your closets. And they’ll be judging the place you’ve called home.
Of course, you want as many interested and qualified buyers as possible to visit, so an open house is ideal. Open houses let shoppers see your home, while getting a feel for the neighborhood and market. It’s your chance to make a good impression in a short time. Serious buyers usually follow up with a private showing or two with just their agent.
In some markets, listing agents use lockboxes so the home can be accessed just about any time. The agent places a digital lockbox on the front door for agents to access with their buyer clients.
If you’re serious about selling, you should be ready to show your place at a moment’s notice. So keeping your home picked up, clean and “show ready” are crucial. To help prepare yourself and your home, here are a few tips:
Feel your way
Selling your home is an emotional process, and opening your personal space to scrutiny can be difficult. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to prepare so you don’t feel rushed or pushed, especially if you’ve been in your home for a long time.
To begin seeing your home as a financial asset, start by de-personalizing your rooms. Buyers want to experience the space, not your latest trip to Disneyland, so stow away snapshots and souvenirs. Putting your personal things away should help you feel less like your space is being invaded.
Stages of staging
If it’s financially and logistically possible, move out of your home and stage it for maximum impact. It helps you begin the separation you’ll need when you actually sell. And having a more neutral space will appeal more to buyers.
Short of that, do some heavy-duty staging while living in your home. Staging your home is crucial in preparing for your open house. If you don’t hire a professional home stager, we have tips to make your home look spacious and inviting.
Safe and secure
If you stay in your home during the selling process, make sure you secure your valuables and personal papers. An agent will be present during open houses and showings, but they can’t keep an eye on everyone every minute.
Make sure any expensive items like jewelry are secured, ideally in a safe, or rent a safety deposit box while you’re selling this home and moving to your next one. Also turn off your computers and securely store any paperwork that might have personal information such as your Social Security number.
Go for clean and pet-free
To prepare for your show times, clean like you’ve never cleaned before: windows, appliances, baseboards and crown molding, carpets, tile and hardwood floors. Organize drawers and closets to make them look spacious. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning crew.
If your household includes pets, do an extra deep clean. Ask family or friends if they can house your critter family while you’re selling, or at least during open houses.
Leave it to your agent
As much as you may be tempted to hang around, steer clear of your home during the open house. If buyers know that the owner is present, they might feel a little awkward exploring or asking tough questions. The agent hosting the open house is there to answer any questions shoppers have about the home or the neighborhood. Trust that your home is in good hands.
Article originally published on zillow.com