How to Prepare Your Home for an Open House

| August 22, 2012

getting ready for an open house

A successful open house puts your home’s best foot forward, so it pays to prepare for the event seriously. Follow these steps to prepping your home so that your Realtor or real estate agent will show your house successfully.

Put out the welcome mat

Examine your front yard and entryway. Is the grass well-mowed? Are the flower beds weeded? If vegetation is sparse, buy two containers and plant them with seasonal flowers (you can also find them “premade” at a flower and garden store). Then use the plants to flank the front door. If your welcome mat is old, buy a new one. Also make sure that the exterior of the house is clean, including the front door. Wash the outside of your home with a hose or have it professionally cleaned to remove the dust, dirt and cobwebs. Do the same in the backyard. Hire a gardener to do the work.

Clear out the clutter

Stacks of old magazines and books and excess knickknacks can make your home appear smaller than it really is. Ensure that your house looks fresh and spacious by throwing away or stashing clutter. Even though they may be your prized possessions, put away items like your fairy figurine collection for the open house.


Your aim is to get visitors to picture themselves living in your house, and that’s hard to do when everywhere they turn, they see your family photos and mementos. Leave a few impersonal items out, but put your personal items away.

Make your interior sparkle

Give your home a good scrubbing. Clean the kitchen so that your appliances shine; make sure to vacuum, sweep and mop the floors. Dust even out-of-reach areas — you never know where someone will look. This includes inside microwaves, ovens and the refrigerator. Clean off marks and scuffs on the walls and scrub the bathroom, including the toilet bowl and shower walls. Wash the windows so that the light flows in and your guests can easily see outside. Make sure that your closets and drawers are orderly. You can hire a cleaning service to perform all these tasks and if you will need to do so on a regular basis, perhaps work out a “frequent-user” rate with them.

Spruce things up

Consider buying new throw pillows for the sofa and getting some fresh flowers for the dining room table. Launder your bedspreads and duvets and dry-clean your window treatments if they need it. Shampooing the carpets is also advisable because it makes them look and smell fresh.

Complete small repairs

They may seem insignificant, but items like dripping faucets and squeaky doors leave a bad impression that suggests neglect. Such minor repairs are also something a new owner isn’t likely to want to take on.

Consider aroma

The sense of smell greatly affects mood and impressions. If your home has a fresh, clean scent, visitors will feel comfortable and imagine themselves living there. If you use scented candles or air-freshening systems, don’t overdo it because strong scents suggest that you’re trying to hide odors. Baked cookies leave a pleasing aroma. The real estate agent can sweeten the deal and offer them to potential buyers.

Preparing for an open house is a great deal of work, but the result being your real estate agent selling your home is well worth the effort.

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Category: Real Estate

About the Author ()

Julie Bawden-Davis is a Southern-California-based writer specializing in home and garden, real estate, small business and personal finance. Since 1985, her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Entrepreneur and The Los Angeles Times. Julie is a University of California Certified Master Gardener and has written five gardening books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening.