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18 Point Open House Preparation Checklist
First impressions count. Not just on a blind date. But also when you are trying to get a prospective renter or buyer to fork out good money to buy your property.
No amount of promises to fix a flaw observed during an open house will totally erase any negative thoughts a prospect has on a property.
Prevention is better than cure. And it is always best to anticipate objections and rectify them beforehand.
You might feel that it is a chore to do these stuff. But keeping in mind that you are trying to get top dollar for the house, it can really pay off if you just hire people to fix things and clean up the place.
The affordable costs of getting help via carpenters and cleaning services can be negligible when you end up signing up a tenant or selling to a buyer close to the outrageous price you wanted.
Whether you are conducting a private or public open house, or even one that is by appointment only, here is a checklist of 25 points to prepare and stage your open house.
1) Sweep outside the house
Don’t make the mistake that the first point of visual contact a visitor has is the front door.
It’s more like the sidewalk, front yard, front porch, driveway, decks, etc. It is every fixture you have fixed up outside the house.
As these things obviously the exterior of a house, people don’t expect things found in these areas to sparkle with the beauty usually observed in picture books.
But you should sweep these areas and clear them of debris.
2) Basic gardening
Some people love gardens. Others hate them. Most don’t mind having them… as long as they don’t add on to their burden.
If you have one, remember to mow the lawn, prune the overgrown shrubs, and remove observable weeds.
The last thing you want is for a prospect to already start thinking about the afternoons he has to sweat out just to fix the mess that is the garden.
3) Clean and wipe windows
Because glass windows are transparent, it is very easy to spot defects and dirt by just paying a little extra attention to them.
It is very easy to wipe them down. Don’t be lazy.
4) Check doorbell
Surely you don’t want a visitor to press the doorbell and find that it’s not working. That’s a very bad start to begin with.
5) Enough lighting
Dim houses and rooms give people the creeps. Sometimes the idea of replacing dim lights to brighter ones escape the minds of first time tenants or buyers. And they imagine that it is what they have to live with in the long term.
This can be a critical point if you conduct open houses into the night.
And if it is a single-family house, make sure there are lights outside as well. This is not just for visual effect, but for practical purposes as well.
You don’t want visitors to drive right by without realizing that they have passed the place they are visiting.
6) Welcome mat
The weird thing with welcome mats is that they appear stupid, yet they are effective.
I don’t know why it works in creating positive feelings. But they do.
So just leave one at the front door to greet your visitors courteously.
7) Exterior paint
If it is within your control, and the exterior is going off-color, consider giving it a new facelift with a paint job.
A simple job like this can make the difference between a per-historic house and a modern one.
8) Clean all rooms
It goes without saying that all rooms should be clean. This includes bathrooms, kitchens, and store rooms.
The only places where it’s acceptable to not be spick and span are the garage, attic, and basement. However, you will only score more points if you clean up these places as well.
Spray this sparingly in all rooms. Especially the living room and bathrooms. Odors can be a real turn-off.
There’s a reason why vacuum cleaners were invested even though broom sticks have been around for centuries.
There’s a lot of bad stuff that conventional brooms cannot pick up. And this is left for the vacuum cleaner to show it’s prowess.
Don’t forget to vacuum the carpets, curtains, cushion sofas, etc.
12) Ensure fixtures and electronics work
Don’t play the game of wishing and hoping that a visitor will not turn on a particular tap that is damaged.
You should fix these things before even advertising your open house.
Leaving things like a faulty air-conditioner or faulty ceiling fan unattended is just leaving ammunition for tenants and buyers to use when it comes time for negotiation.
13) Allow natural light
If circumstances permit, allow as much natural light into the house as possible.
Pull the curtains aside, roll up the blinds, leave the doors open, etc.
14) Paint the rooms
The most dramatic effect that can make an apartment unrecognizable is by re-painting all rooms. This is especially when you are layering bright colors over dark colors. And vice-versa.
But if you are trying to sell and market the place, the bright colors of hope and innocence are always better than the darkness of Mordor.
If the house is already painted with bright earthly or pastel tones, consider giving it a touch-up if the paint job has been more than 2 years old.
It can still have a big effect on the interior aesthetics of the house.
15) Get rid of pest!
Critters and other pests can trigger intense fear in people. It’s just the way it is.
Some men might not be able to make sense out of this. But it sure makes total sense for a lot of women.
Pest are gross and many would not want to have anything to do with a house as soon as they see one. There are many other listings to view in the classifieds anyway.
Don’t sabotage yourself by leaving known pest infestations unattended.
16) Wire management
There is just something about messy wires that puts the image of clutter in our minds.
Even if the whole living room is tidy, people can still get the impression that it’s a war-zone if there is an unsightly clutter of wiring hell at the TV console. This is the very reason why feature walls have become so popular in the last decade.
So do whatever you can to hide them. Or go to the hardware store to buy some systems and gadgets that fixes this specific problem.
17) Working smoke detectors
This is a factor that concerns safety. So don’t be surprised to find visitors making this a huge issue. The lives of their family and themselves are at stake here.
Make sure your smoke detector is working. You can also score brownie points if you have fire extinguishers in place too.
18) Make the sofa
Making the bed for visitors is exaggerating. But you can sure make the sofa as it will be the place they will inevitably sit on when you guys take a seat for a friendly chat.
Remember to have a coffee table… with flowers or some sort of decorative items on top.
Sometimes this conversation happens at the dining table. In this case, make sure that there are enough chairs for everyone.
When there are stuff that are not in a satisfactory condition, don’t be tempted into leaving things as they are due to laziness. It’s a mistake even experienced landlords can make. And they wonder later how they didn’t manage to convince a prospect to pay top dollar for the property.