10th Mar 2015
What an exciting time! You’ve decided to put your house on the market. One of the fastest ways to encourage a sale is to open up the place to potential buyers – after all, they want to get a feel for the place before making an offer! Give yourself every chance to increase those offers by making your property look above and beyond enticing during your open home.
- Deep clean. It will take a bit of effort the first time, but maintaining it should be a breeze. Scrub the walls, sweep under the furniture, wash the windows and wipe the dust of the indoor plants. This includes the skirting boards in your kitchen and inside your cupboards and drawers, too. Potential buyers often have no qualms about having a poke inside storage spaces so take some time to go to the extra detail.
- Clear the entrance. Remove the shoe racks and replace the welcome mat if it’s looking worn. You’re aiming to reduce trip hazards and anything that makes the entry way look dated. Clean down the front door and grime around the door bell or knocker.
- Easy identification. Make sure the house number is very clearly visible from the road. If you’re unsure, do a drive by and pretend you don’t know where you’re looking for. Is the number easy to see or is it hidden or faded?
- First impressions count. Make sure it’s not hard rubbish collection week when you want to open up your home. Put the bins away somewhere where the smell won’t be the first thing potential buyers notice (especially important in summer!).
- Declutter. Stow your paperwork and other assorted bits and bobs away and out of sight. There’s nothing wrong with finding a large tub with a lid and doing a quick whizz around before the house opens. Just don’t forget to put that tub in a cupboard! Clear surfaces allow potential buyers to imagine their own bits and bobs sitting there instead.
- Air it out. The morning of the home open, get the doors and windows open to freshen the air inside. This includes stuffy spaces like laundries and bathrooms. If possible, leave a couple of windows cracked during the inspection to create airflow.
- Decorate with scent. Don’t go overboard with heavy incense or perfume, but feel free to make good use of a room deodoriser or a natural scent like brewed coffee. Fresh flowers could add a gentle scent. This will also help with the next point:
- Eliminate bad odours. If you keep pets, non-pet owners will know immediately unless you mask the smell. Take animal bedding outside and remove litter trays etc. The same suggestion applies for baby and child related smells – empty the nappy bucket and inside bins!
- Secure your valuables. Even with the most watchful eyes, things can unfortunately go astray. Make sure any precious items are securely locked away, hidden or taken with you.
- Make yourself scarce. It can be disconcerting to watch strangers walk through your space, and it can make potential buyers uncomfortable to know that you’re watching them do it. Leave your place in the hands of your agent and go grab a coffee with a friend.
- Pay attention to the bathroom. Give the mirrors and glass a streak-free wipe and empty the bin. Put the toilet seat down! A lot of people make use of the bathroom during an open home, so leave a pump soap and a fresh hand towel in the bathroom for them. (Also make sure there is enough toilet paper!).
- Spend some time outside. If you have a garden, make sure it’s looking at it’s best. Mow the lawn, remove any clippings, rake leaves and weed the garden beds. Sweep any paved areas and remove cobwebs from under awnings or verandahs. Also be sure to wipe down any outdoor settings you have. Even topping up the birdbath will encourage a delightful visitor of a different sort!
- Prepare any relevant paperwork. You want to remove as many barriers to sale as possible. Make sure your agent has everything organised to accept spontaneous on-the-spot offers on the day.
- Choose neutral accessories. In particular, a bed spread can be the largest single item in a bedroom. Choose neutral, crisp spreads instead of anything too personal or distracting. Stow washing baskets out of sight, too.
- Relax! You’ve worked really hard to get your house to this point. Once the hardest work is done, those few details can be refreshed before each home open. Your agent will explain everything that will happen next.