Home Seller Resources

How to Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Hosting an open house is a great way to attract DC-area buyers to your home. But in order for your home to sell quickly and for top dollar, it needs to look its best.

You can turn your house into a model home with a combination of home staging, curb appeal, and attention-to-detail, showcasing your home's best features and every square inch of space. The best part is, you don't need to spend a lot of money to prepare your home for an open house. We wanted to share a few of our best tips that you can do yourself.

luxury kitchen in a staged homeStage Your Home Like a Professional

As you may have heard in the past, staged homes often sell for more money and quicker than those homes that aren’t staged. But working with a home stager can get expensive fast. Here are some easy steps that you can take to make your home look like it was professionally staged.

First, Declutter Your Home

When people think of home staging, they often think of adding various items to the home. But actually, the best stagers know how to do more with less.

Make your home feel more spacious by removing oversized furniture (perhaps consider putting them in storage) and cleaning out closets and drawers. This honestly has a two-fold benefit because decluttering now will make your move down the road less complicated.

As a general rule, if you haven’t used it in over a year, it’s time to throw it out.

Help Buyers Feel at Home Right Away

Although technically the home buyer is a guest in your home during an open house, you really want to help them envision living there. Thus, you don’t want to make them feel like an intruder by asking them to remove their shoes or such.

You also don’t want to linger at your home during the open house; that, too, will drive home the idea that they’re merely guests in your home, not the future owners of it. 

Set the Right Temperature

You don’t want it to be too cold that buyers feel like they have to wear a sweater to stay warm, but you also don’t want it to be so warm that they’re sweating. Instead, try to find a happy medium temperature (usually around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) so that the buyers will feel comfortable and will want to linger in your home.

Create the Right Mood

For instance, you might consider lighting a fire in the fireplace or playing soft music throughout the home. You could also turn on any water fountains you have, which are especially helpful in drowning out traffic noise.

But don't overdo it on the scents. Many people are allergic to various scents and deodorizers, so you might want to avoid using them. You might also want to avoid lighting any candles for the same reason. Instead, you might consider opening the windows to let in fresh air or baking cookies. Those are almost universally loved scents, so they will help set the right mood.

Let the Light In

You will hear it over and over again: More light helps homes feel more inviting, cleaner, and spacious. So open the curtains, turn on all the lights in your house and remove anything in front of windows that might be blocking the nature light. It makes a world of difference during an open house.

Appeal to Buyers' Sense of Aesthetics

You’ve already done this a little bit with the romantic vignettes and the extra natural light. But you might also try doing so with more tactile approaches as well. This might include draping soft fabrics like velvet or silk over chair arms. It will help make your house feel more like a home.

a plate of cookiesMake Your Open House Fun for Buyers

After you've staged your house like a model home, it's time to think about what happens the day of the open house. In all likelihood, the home buyers that will be stopping by your open house will also be visiting other open houses throughout the DC area. How do you make your home stand out? Make the open house an enjoyable experience. 

Here are some other helpful tips about creating an open house even that will make the best first impression.

Offer Snacks During the Open House

It might seem like a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that works! Buyers love munching on snacks while showing homes. And as an added benefit, it usually encourages them to hang out longer in your home. So set out some freshly baked cookies, soft drinks, candy, water, or anything else you think will be enticing for buyers.

Leave a Thoughtful "Thank You" Gift

Remember, other DC home sellers are also hosting open houses, and you may be competing for the same buyers. Make your open house (and your home) stand out by offering some "thank you" treats and a note to buyers who have stopped by. 

Encourage Feedback

This has less to do with the open house and more to do with getting helpful information from DC home buyers. After all, you’ll want to know what buyers are liking about your home and what they’re disliking. Ideally, at least some of the things they dislike can be something you can change, if there will need to be future showings. 

Selling Your DC-Area Home? Let Us Help!

We hope these staging and open house tips have helped you prepare for your upcoming open house! For more valuable tips on what you can do to get your home sold as soon as possible, just give us a call at 301-765-8302. We’d be happy to assist you at every stage of the home selling process.