Tips For Preparing For An Open House

Buyers generally  make their decision to buy a home within the first 5 seconds of entering the house. This is something few sellers realize. Yet, it this is the fact.

This should clearly point out how important that curb appeal, the front door and that first glimpse of the inside of the house is to prospective buyers. Everything is taken in within that first 5 seconds. From the colors, the atmosphere, the cleanliness, it’s “hominess” and with the five senses in play, emotions are ignited.

So what should you, as a seller pay attention to when you’re preparing your home for sale and an open house? Color and light are usually the first thing people notice when entering a room.  Since painting is an inexpensive update can make a dramatic impact on your home, if your walls haven’t been painted in the past 5 years, a new coat of paint will make a lot of difference. Colour and light are usually the first things people become aware of upon entering a room. Try to stick to light tones when choosing your paint colors. Painting with lighter tones make a room appear larger and brigher.  Select colors on the walls that highlight those in your furniture, rugs or accessories. Since you want people to mentally move their furniture in, and you have no way of knowing what their furniture taste is, sticking to white, taupes, vanilla, pale greys and blues is much wiser than painting a wall bright orange.  Yet, having said that, depending on which part of the country you are in, the bright dramatic colors might work better. It’s best that you think of how bright the sun is outdoors before you start painting bright vibrant colors indoors. What works in the hot Florida sunshine simply won’t pass in Northern Canada.

Add some flowers for an easy way to make a room seem more appealing. Investing $20 or $20 dollares in a few bouquets can add a cheery, well attended appeal to the prospective buyers. Even greens or a bouquet from your garden in a rustic container or even a jar with a bow around the top or pop cans inside a deep basket then covered with florist's moss work well.  We suggest a large bouquet in the dining room or living room with smaller, delicate bouquets in the bedrooms.

Be very objective when you’re looking at your furniture and decide if you have too much in any room. If you do, it will appear cluttered and smaller. If you have furniture you don’t plan on moving, now is a good time to get rid of it. That ratty chair that the dog sleeps on for instance might be best removed or at least covered so it doesn’t give the room uncared for appearance.  

Look at your walls, are they bare and blank or cluttered with family photos? Remember that photo’s of your family, leave the impression in a buyers mind that this is “your” home and they are intruders. It’s best to remove them and replace them with general pictures or even rent some artwork. If you have a large blank wall, a captivating painting can infuse the entire room with new energy. Call around to your local gallaries, they typically rent artwork for 4% of the retail value per month with a minimum two month rental. It doesn’t have to be a  $5,000 painting. In fact, if it should fit within the price range of your home. No one expects to see a Picasso original on a starter home bungalow.

It only takes a few small changes might not  turn your home into something you’d find in the celebrity pages, but they can make a huge impact on buyers.

Print out this tip sheet and mark off each item as it's done

1. Eliminate half of your belongings.  Clutter can cost a sale. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Another idea is to ask a friend if you can borrow some space in his or her garage.

2. Use "home wash" (hose attachment available at home improvement stores) to clean the outside of the house.

3. Clean rain gutters as well as outside windows and screens.

4. Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint the door if needed. Also, replace any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures.

5. Buy new house numbers if the old ones are dated or faded. Be sure buyers can see the new ones from the curb.

6. Buy a new welcome mat.

7. Organize all closets and drawers. Buyers might look there.

8. Make any necessary repairs so that buyers don't have to add that to their list of expenses.

9. Rearrange furniture to make rooms appear as large as possible

10. Make every surface shine, from ceiling fans to baseboards. Don't forget interior windows, mirrors and floors.

11. Scrub every inch of the kitchen and bathrooms.

12. Depersonalize each room, removing photo frames and posters or artwork.

13. Buy new linens and pillows if necessary. Be certain they are a neutral color.

14. Buy air neutralizer and spray it often.

15. Let go emotionally of your home, and get ready for an offer!

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