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Preparing An Open House

Purpose Of An Open House

An open house is a great way to get more people in your home at one time. It can capture Realtors with their clients, independent buyers, and often times curious neighbors along with people driving by.

To hold an open house, even with the help of your Realtor, takes effort and planning. Carefully preparing for an open house can give you an edge in a competitive market. Keep in mind that the impression people get, is the impression they will keep. It is much harder to get a potential buyer to see a house twice.

The following points will cover everything sellers need to ensure a successful open house

Preparing For An Open House


 The Landscaping Should Be Done Before The Open House

When preparing for an open house the yard should be mowed with no grass clippings, garden raked and cleaned up (fresh flowers are nice if they are in season),

Lawns can be especially important to some buyers. If you have bare spots you can throw down seed a couple weeks before home goes on market or first open house. Fill in holes where animals may have dug as well. Simple things can fix a problem before a buyer sees it.

Always Try To Fix Anything That Could Catch The Eye In A Negative Way

Fix any chipping paint, unclean gutters, remove excess items from yard, porch and driveways. 


The Inside Of The Home Should Be Extra Clean

If you can hire a professional cleaner that can come in the morning of or day before, this will help get you to showroom perfection. If you have pets, this is even more important when preparing an open house. People with pets tend not to smell them, the smell is likely there, no matter how clean you are. Cleaning should include the appliances, cupboards and the closets. People open everything when they are looking at a house.

Remove Excess Clutter

Clutter distracts from the home and the buyers tend to also get distracted. Counter tops, floors, tables, dressers and closets should be free of clutter.

In fact, you should try to reduce the amount of stuff in the closets to show how bog they are. A packed walk in closet can seem small if jammed with stuff.

Remove Personal Items

This includes photos on the wall. Family and kids pictures included and kids’ artwork on the walls and fridge. It may have been the best Mona Lisa macaroni craft, but it should be stored away for the open house.

Buyers want to see themselves in the home. By taking away the personalization you have, they can start to visualize their stuff in the home.


We all want to believe the best in people, but not all people, no matter what they seem like, are good people. People tend to get overly comfortable at open houses and open drawers and you do not want something of value to disappear.


We have discussed getting the home clean of the pet smell and hair, but pets should not be at an open house. It does not matter if it is the friendliest pet in the world, a pet can turn off some potential buyers.

You also do not want the chance of something happening, Potential buyers or  a Realtor while in the house getting bit or scratched will not do any favors. People enjoy lawsuits these days.

Pets in aquariums and cages that cannot be moved are fine. You may want to put a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign on them.

Promoting An Open House

Open House By Realtor

If you are using a Realtor, ask them how they are marketing the open house. The Realtor should be using the MLS to post open houses, which feeds to many thousands of sites. They also should be doing email blasts, social media posts and calling other brokers and Realtors. On the day of the open house, your Realtor should be putting directional signs from major roads to lead people to the open house.

Never be afraid to ask your Realtor how they are promoting. They do work for you, they are getting paid with your equity, so you should know. It will help you understand the process and reduce some of your stress.

Open House By Owner

As the homeowner, you should also use your social media, especially if you have a neighborhood or community page you are involved with. People in your neighborhood are great sources of buyers. They may know family or friends looking to move into the area.

The Day Of  An Open House

Open House Checklist:

Make It Lit

For the day of the open house, all windows in a home should have the blinds raised. The Realtor (or homeowner) should turn on all the lights in every room. The more light the better. 

Open Every Door

During the times people are in, this reduces the amount of touching in your home.


With the permission of the homeowner, the Realtor should have cookies and water. People like to snack! You can get two birds with one stone if the oven is used to make the cookies. Allowing the aroma to fill the house. If not, there is always candles or plug-ins to do the job.


Where Should The Owner Be?

The homeowner should not be at the open house if possible. Let the Realtor be there to help guide the potential buyers or other Realtors. They know how to interact with them.

After The Open House

Your Realtor should have had a sign in sheet at the open house. The Realtor will follow up with everyone who signed in to get feedback and see if there is any interest.

The seller should keep an open mind. The feedback is not personal, it is about the house and the needs of the potential buyers.

Listen to the feedback. If there are changes that can be made to improve the home for other showings and open houses, the feedback is where these suggestions will come from.

In the end, the goal of all open houses is to get the home sold. These are some basic steps to making sure your open house is effective. We wish you luck on getting to the closing table.

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