Longboat Key, Florida | October 11th, 2018 – So you’ve found a real estate agent, and you’ve started looking in earnest for a new home and begun preparing to move. Now it’s time to stage your home for an open house, still a key part of marketing and selling your property. There’s a lot to do.
Your home’s exterior needs to jump out at passersby, the lawn has to be well-kept, and everything inside should be sparkling clean. These are some of the more obvious items to check off your to-do list, but there are other important tasks that often go overlooked.
Many homeowners, determined to make a strong impression, leave personal items and photos on display throughout the house, in the mistaken belief that they’ll help convey an appealing, homey atmosphere. Most real estate professionals strongly recommend that you depersonalize everything so that pictures of kids and pets and your bowling trophies don’t intrude on their ability to envision your space as theirs. It can be easy to overlook objects, especially if they’re part of your environment every day. Check to make sure the foyer table, mantelpiece and kitchen cabinets are free of religious objects, children’s artwork, and other distractions that are a little bit too “you.” If you find this difficult, or somehow misleading, try seeing your home as a possession you want to market rather than a living monument to your family. You can get back to putting your own stamp on everything once you’ve moved into your new home.
Wipe it down
You’ve cleaned everything until it shines, but you still need to pay attention to areas that get a lot of traffic. You and your family will unconsciously touch things or place objects on surfaces that potential buyers will give the white glove treatment. Bear in mind that visitors will touch banisters, countertops, and other objects as they walk through the house. If something’s dirty, smudged or sticky, it’ll make a terrible impression and undermine all that work you did polishing, dusting and vacuuming. A cheesecloth dipped in cleaner works particularly well on woodwork.
Remember, as homeowner, you’re the worst person to judge how your house smells. If there’s a distinctive odor lingering, such as the scent of dog, the lingering smell of cigarette smoke, or the haunting scent of Tuesday night’s tuna casserole, people will notice it the second they walk through the front door. Ask a friend or neighbor to give your home a “test sniff” before you allow interested buyers into your home. Open the doors and windows the day before your open house, light scented candles, or layout bowls of vinegar or coffee beans to mask an especially stubborn odor.
Flow and space are important to homebuyers these days, so take care not to overwhelm your home with too much furniture. Move any excess pieces to storage or have a friend or family member keep them while you’re showing your house. However, be careful not to overdo it – your home should look comfortable, natural and lived-in. You’ll also need to vacuum any pet hair that’s showing on furniture.
Pets are a red flag for many buyers, even those who have pets of their own. People love animals, but are reluctant to purchase a home that may show signs of wear and tear caused by the family pet. Keep your pooch or cat out of sight on open house day and remove any photos or visual giveaways.
As you prepare for moving day, remember that there are many benefits to hiring professional movers. They’re experts at loading and unloading your belongings safely, and they’re fully insured. It’s also an excellent way to relieve some of the stress that comes with such an important life event.