Home Staging Prepare Your House For Sale

Open House Ideas

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s curtain time. If the buyer is with a realtor, you do not need to be around. Buyers like to look into every nook and cranny of your house and would prefer that you’re not home.

When selling your house ‘by owner’, however, you need to show them in. Be a friendly host. Smile, hand over a feature sheet, and let them know you’re available to answer any questions, but don’t follow them around.

Whether you stick around for the showing or not, make sure your house is ready. The checklist seems long but you should be able to ready your house in less than ten minutes with practice.

Pick up any last minute clutter inside and outside of your house. Use the clutter bins you’ve set aside for this purpose.
Maintain a pleasant indoor temperature (21C or 70F).
Declutter the kitchen counter. Put away kitchen gadgets and small appliances.
Clear the dish drainer. Tuck dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Your sink should be empty.
Put away personal valuables. Turn off your computer.
Straighten chairs and tables.
Open windows, weather permitting, to fill your house with fresh air.
Make sure no drawers are left ajar.
Open all interior doors except those of closets and pantry.
Pull open the blinds and curtains to brighten your space.
Wipe your shower and tub area dry if necessary.
Draw the shower curtain back so buyers don’t have to peek.
Ensure all toilet lids are down.
Close the garage door.
Turn on all lights, including those in your closets, basement and garage. Don’t forget your exterior lights when the showing is in the evening. It may surprise you that buyers shop for houses at night too.
Turn off the TV. Turn on soft music at low volume.
Take out the garbage. No stinky odors in this house!
Straighten the entrance rug. You’re sending a subliminal message that they’ve entered a clean house and that they need to take off their shoes.
Have the feature sheet ready when selling ‘by owner’. Buyers sometimes ask about amenities and features of the neighborhood. Anticipate their questions and answer them.
Park your vehicles somewhere else. Your driveway and garage must not be occupied during a showing.

More tips from 'Prepare Your House For Sale'

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After you've packed, try to store them offsite. But when this isn't possible, choose a corner in the basement or crawlspace and stack packed items away neatly. Do not use the garage or the spare bedroom as a storage area. They provide more value when you exhibit them as living space.
Buyers love upgraded bathrooms and kitchens, but you need to be realistic about it. It’s high risk to spend thousands of dollars renovating these areas expecting a high return on investment. Our Revitalizing section will show you how to spruce up your kitchen and bathrooms on a dime.
Some buyers get turned off by the slightest whiff of tobacco smoke. The smell is caused by the leftover resins and tars. Over time they condense into yellow ‘goo’ deposits. To get rid of the smell you have to get rid of the deposits.
Basement: open the windows when practical to air out dampness and musty odour.
Mistake #1: Comparing your house with other sold houses and assuming that yours is worth just as much. This is dangerous because it will reinforce the belief that you don’t have to do much in preparation. If you relax, you lose!
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