How to prepare for open homes

How to prepare for open homes
By Scott Bentley

How to prepare for open homes

When marketing your property, you want to attract as many buyers as you can and ensure they’re leaving the inspection with your place front of mind for all the right reasons.
When marketing your property, you want to attract as many buyers as you can and ensure they’re leaving the inspection with your place front of mind for all the right reasons.

The last thing we want is for a buyer to walk in and immediately be put off by the interiors of the home, how it has been styled or its cleanliness. Not only will that buyer want to get out of there quick-smart, but they’re also likely to tell others about “that house we just saw.” 

Clean up:

Before the open home, make sure your house or apartment is clean inside and out. Wash any dirty dishes and put them away. Make sure dirty laundry is out of sight and clean laundry has been put neatly in its place - some buyers may head straight to the bedroom to check out the built-in wardrobe space.

“Keep in mind that buyers will open cupboards, wardrobes and drawers to check storage capacity. Resist the temptation to shove all the ‘stuff’ into the nearest storage space,” Salesperson Michelle Madsen says.   

“Do that big clearout before your house goes on the market, and store other things elsewhere - with other family or even hire a container, remembering that the garage will also be on show.” 

Clean off any stains or marks on walls, carpets or tiles and have everything sparkling clean.

Fix anything that’s broken:

Imagine if buyers open kitchen cupboards that fall off their hinges, or try to close bedroom doors that no longer fit in the door frame. Not a good look! Fix anything a buyer might come across on inspection day; you don’t want them thinking they’ll need to do a whole lot of work before they move in (unless the home is an obvious fixer-upper). That will clearly affect what they might offer if they get that far.

Consider getting in a home stager:

Staging your home is extremely important. 

“The idea is to let the buyer imagine themselves living in the house; what it would be like to prepare a meal in the kitchen - how workable it is; relax in the lounge and sleep in the bedroom,” Micelle says.

Old, damaged furniture, family photos and nostalgic items will take away from that experience. A home staging expert can help you hire furniture to style your home, hide your personal effects and advise on how best to present your house for sale. 

Let some light in:

One thing that’s particularly important in sunny Marlborough is natural light - a dim or dark home isn’t appealing to buyers. 

“Let plenty of light in with open blinds and doors. If you have a shady section without a lot of natural light, then make sure all your ceiling lights are working.” 

Choose bright bulbs that will give off the illusion of natural light, making sure they’re the same colour (use warm, rather than cool white, to add warmth to the atmosphere). Add a few lamps and make sure they’re all turned on during the open home.

Air it out:

Just as with dark spaces, musty rooms that smell funny will put buyers off. Open all the windows to let in fresh air. It’s best to air the house out in the days and hours leading up to the inspection. Try lighting some nice smelling candles or incense prior to and during the inspection. Just make sure to choose subtle fragrances that aren’t overpowering.

The outside matters too: 

Of course you can style up the inside of a home all you like but that first impression will come from the outside. Take a good look from the street or top of your driveway, putting yourself in a stranger’s shoes - what will they see? The often quoted ‘curb appeal’ is important. If you’re looking at overgrown berms, straggly lawns or weedy gardens, it’s time to mow, weed and prune where needed, front and back. Clear out from behind the garage or garden shed if these have been convenient places to stash unwanted ‘stuff’ out of sight. 

This is a great way to attract young families looking for safe spaces for children to play and encourage prospective owners to see your place as easy to live in.