An Open House is an important part of the home selling process. An open house will draw potential buyers, neighbours, real estate sales representatives and others who are just there to browse your property. If successful, your open house can turn browsers into buyers and help increase the overall demand for your home. Your sales representative will be sure to accommodate your schedule and give you lots of advance notice when showing your home to ensure that any renovations, repairs or touch-ups are not performed last-minute.
Once certain renovations and repairs are completed on your home (as per the advice of your RE/MAX Community Sales Associates) for the purposes of making your home appear more attractive and reliable to potential home-buyers, there are a number of small things that can be done in order prepare your home for the viewing public.
Here are some staging tips you can follow to prepare for an Open House:
- Start Cleaning - Be sure to clean the entire house, including all floors, walls, ceilings, windows, appliances, drapes. Be sure to steam-clean rugs, wax floors, etc.
- Dispose and De-Clutter - Open homes should have some open spaces, thus, it would be prudent to get rid of anything you no longer use by having a yard sale, while throwing away anything that has no resale value. Consider pulling up old carpets or removing area rugs if they're covering hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are a big selling point for buyers. Don't forget to organize the basement and attic, and clear kitchen and bathroom counter-tops.
- Reorganize - Tidy up cabinets, and neatly store toys, books and knick-knacks to maximize space. Reorganize the closets and pack away some of your belongings. Storage room is a priority for buyers, and a full closet does a poor job of showcasing the amount of storage room available
- De-Personalize and Detach Emotionally - The goal of any Open House to create a space that others can easily envision as their own. You can improve the chances of this happening by moving certain personal items from view, such as photographs, family portraits, personal items, medication, etc.
- Furnish Empty Houses and Rooms - While some open space in your home is good, too much can also be detrimental. The goal is to create a balance between open and furnished space so that potential buyers can view your home from a variety of perspectives. Avoid having big empty rooms, small crammed rooms, or any sort of unusual furniture arrangement that can make the room appear oddly shaped.
- Curb Appeal - A whole host of minor renovations can be done to give your home a more appealing exterior. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the doors, shutters and sidings, make the front lawn is trimmed, and plant fresh flowers.
A Few Things to Remember for Game-day
The following is a list of small things you might want to consider doing just prior to the Open House beginning:
- Light-filled rooms are always appealing. Open drapes and blinds. Turn on all the lights, even during the daytime, including outside entrance, closet, basement and attic lights.
- Make sure windows and mirrors are sparkling clean. If there are no windows in the room, make sure the lighting is adequate.
- Set the dinner table for a formal dinner. Creating the proper atmosphere helps buyers envision themselves living in your home.
- On cold days, light a fire. If not in season, make sure the fireplace is clean.
- Set out fresh flowers, and hang decorative hand towels in the bathroom.
- Put pets in a fenced yard. Better still, ask friends to look after them. Some people may be allergic, and others may be afraid of animals.
- If possible, consider not being present during the Open House. Some buyers are uncomfortable when the owner is in the house.
- Display lightly scented candles to produce a pleasant aroma for potential buyers.
- Put out a few refreshments to keep people at your open house a little longer.
- Odours such as pet and cigarette smells can have a stronger impact on buyers than any positive feature of your home. You might not notice the smell if you're living with it, so get a second opinion before showing the home.
- Turn off the television, stereo and radio (easy-listening music is acceptable).
- Always remember to ask for feedback from your real-estate agent as to how the Open House went from their perspective. They may be able to point out areas of weakness that can be corrected for future viewings, thus improving your chances of selling your home for the best possible price.
Ways to Make Your House Green
Making some minor improvements to your home in order to reduce your family's carbon footprint and become more Eco-friendly is actually a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller. Not only can you save money by reducing your monthly utilities bills, but it can also add value to your home that can help significantly increase the sale price.
If you are considering any kind of home improvement, here are some simple green tips for a more energy-efficient home:
- Heat loss from windows and doors - Prevent heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer by using double- or triple-glazed glass panes, and by purchasing windows with a 'low-e' coating or inert gas fills. Steel and fibreglass doors have cores of foam insulation that give them better energy efficiency than wood.
- Seal - Caulk, seal and weather-strip around windows and door-frames, baseboards, ducting and electrical outlets. Install a door sweep to resist against under-the-door drafts. If you live in an older home with a stone fireplace, check for drafts where the stone or brick meets the wall.
- Air flow - Install fans in your home. They pull unwanted heat and humidity from kitchens and bathrooms, cool the air in summer, and push heat down from the ceiling in winter.
- Maximize natural light - Installing windows or doors with glass panels on the south side of your house. This will allow sunlight to enter your home in the winter, as well as prevent direct sunlight in the summer, so you can limit the unnecessary heating and cooling of your home. Replace all standard light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent ones. These energy-smart bulbs use 70-75% less energy and last up to ten times longer. Outdoor lighting wastes energy when left on all night. For energy efficiency and security, install a light fixture activated by motion sensors.
- Low-Flow Plumbing - Install low-flow shower-heads, faucets and toilets to reduce water consumption by up to 50%. Repair leaky faucets as quickly as possible.
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