How to Prepare Your House for an Open House

17 April 2019
Robert Greenberg Team

If you’re selling your Toronto home, you should expect your agent to hold at least one open house to allow potential buyers and their agents to take a look. This allows them to get a feel of the property in person and ask your agent any questions they might have.

Open houses often attract drop-ins, such as people who just like to go to open houses - and this is great. They might decide that your home is so much better than theirs that they suddenly want to move, or they might recommend your place to a friend who is actually looking to buy.

Either way, the more foot traffic you receive, the likelier you’ll get an offer, so it’s important that your home is tip-top. Here are some open house staging tips.

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everything, Everywhere

This likely goes without saying, but your home needs to be tidy and organized. This includes making beds, emptying garbage bins, cleaning all windows and mirrors, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping, and generally making sure every surface is sparkling clean. There should be no dishes, dirty or clean, in the sink, and definitely no clothing strewn around the bedrooms. Make sure all the closets are neatly organized (buyers will definitely open them), and declutter as much as you can.

Remove Funky Smells

There’s very little as off-putting as a bad stench. Homeowners are often too acclimatized to their home to notice any weird smells, but anyone walking in will immediately notice.

Be wary, however, of how you deal with the smell. Scented air fresheners and candles are a good idea in theory but they ultimately do more harm than good for a couple reasons.

  • Scented things don’t remove smells, only mask them, and sometimes the good smell will just mix in with the bad and make an even worse smell.
  • People might get suspicious if they spot too many attempts to make the place smell good. They’ll think you’re hiding something.
  • 1 in 3 people experience health issues from exposure to scented products, in the form of headaches and migraines, coughing and shortness of breath, and congestion and watery eyes.   

Instead of air fresheners and candles, open your windows to allow proper ventilation, and simmer a cup of white vinegar in a saucepan until the bad scent neutralizes, then give yourself an hour before the open house for the vinegar scent to disappear.

Depersonalize and Dress It Up

When people come to open houses, they want to be able to see themselves living there, and this is hard to do with if its decorated to your specific tastes and filled with personal items.

Try to make your home as neutral but welcoming as possible. Remove your personal items and photos, move at least one piece of furniture from every room into storage to create space, paint over vibrant coloured walls or old and dated cabinets, and spruce up the outside. Some little details can make a huge difference in creating a welcoming space; things such as flowers, tasteful throw cushions, and matching towel sets. Your home shouldn’t look lived in, but it should look like one could easily live in it.

Hide or Remove Valuables

We like to assume the best of people, but not all people are the best people. To protect your things, or at least ease your mind, remove jewelry, watches, prescription drugs, and other valuables from your home or hide them in a safe location.  

Find a Dogsitter for Skippy

Dogs and other pets, wonderful as they are, should not be seen or heard during an open house. Consider allergies, phobias, messes, and even the safety of your pet who could escape as the front door opens and closes all day. Not to mention that open houses should have a calmness; most pets wouldn’t be able to contribute to creating such an atmosphere.

Last Minute Touches

Before you let anyone into your open house, make sure that everything’s perfect. Open the blinds and, weather permitting, windows. Check that all the lightbulbs are working. Do some last minute dusting, pillow fluffing, and hedge-trimming. Play some calming music at low volume; jazz is safe choice.

Get out of There

People visiting open houses need to be able to speak their mind, ask questions, and voice any concerns about your property. They won’t feel comfortable doing that if you’re lingering.

Make some plans that will keep you busy for the length of the open house. Your agent will act as a host for your house and ensures everything runs smoothly.

Preparing for an open house is a lot of work, but that’s what your real estate agent is for - and you deserve the best. Get in touch with top selling Toronto real estate agent, Robert Greenberg!