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9 effective tips for hosting an open house as a seller

Selling your home involves more than just updating your house's paint colours and sharing photos online. It also means opening up your space and inviting potential buyers inside. 

Why are open houses so important in the selling process? It allows buyers to imagine their future selves (and families) in the space, and if they can do that, it encourages them to make a (hopefully)  competitive offer on your home. 

Modern home buyers often begin critiquing your property as soon as they turn onto your street, so knowing how to prepare for an open house as a seller, inside and out, can help you wow them well before they walk through the door.

Many sellers overwhelm themselves with researching how to pull off the perfect open house to impress prospective buyers. Often, it’s a lot simpler than you think. Just make sure to take time to maximize your curb appeal and create a warm and welcoming interior. And, prepare to answer a lot of questions from buyers (helpfully and gracefully!).

To help sellers prepare to impress potential buyers, and win bids on their homes, here are 9 tips for hosting an open house.

1. Get the professionals!

Experienced real estate agents can show any home in its best light, regardless of the space’s age, size, or layout. Agents can guide you in preparing your home, point out areas to emphasize and pinpoint which rooms need upgrading and/or staging. If your home doesn't have many furnishings or decorative accents, your agent can help you find the resources to outfit your home to feed visitors' imaginations.

On the day of your open house, your real estate agent will take over as host. They’ll invite potential buyers personally, send invitations to everyone on their mailing list, or advertise the open house on their website or social media accounts. 

You can drastically increase your listing’s exposure, and relieve your selling stress by working with a Properly real estate agent, as they have an entire team behind them that can assist in showing your home at its best (including staging and marketing experts!).

2. Give yourself enough time to plan

Choose the date of your open house and stick to it. Count backward from that date, and note what projects you’ll need to tackle in advance of your open house. This can start as early as 1 month before your showings, and can last until a few hours before visitors arrive on your doorstep. 

What’s the best day of the week to host an open house?

Choose a Sunday for your open house, since that is a day that most people will likely not be working. If you want to increase your chances of attracting a bigger crowd of homebuyers, avoid holiday weekends like Labour Day or Thanksgiving. While these holidays occur on Mondays, people may still travel on the Sunday before.

3. Home staging

Home staging provides potential buyers with a neutral space to imagine as their own. It makes it easier for them to think of the home as a blank slate that they can customize with their own choices. To make this easier for them to do, remove bright colours or heavy patterns, and stick to a neutral palette on walls, furnishings, and other accents. 

Also think about moving furniture to create pathways that make it easier for guests to walk around. Or, you can certainly store extra furniture like ottomans, accent tables, and benches in a garage or storage unit until after the open house has ended. Not only does this make it easier for visitors to move, but it also gives your house the feeling of having more space.

With an experienced real estate agent from Properly, you can access professional home staging services. Our agents know how to prepare sellers for open houses, while also catering to various buyer expectations. With our expertise and your existing home furnishings, we can set up a warm, inviting space that can increase your chances (and number) of bids.

Related topic: Home Staging tips to make your home stand out

4. Open up your schedule for the day

While your real estate agent leads your open house, you can spend the day doing things you enjoy. Visit family or friends, schedule a spa day, or create a fun adventure for the family. Staying busy allows you to make more memories while stopping you from worrying about the day's events.

How long is an open house?

Most real estate agents set aside 2 to 4 hours for an open house. The timing really depends on a few factors, including the size of your home, how many features it offers, and the number of people who will be attending. 

Keep in mind that some open houses run late if visitors show up during the last hour.

5. Brighten the place up!

The best light for any room comes from nature. Raise blinds and shades, open the curtains, and clean your windows to let in the sun. For rooms without many windows, replace dim lights with new LED bulbs, or switch out dark lampshades for light ones.

Some rooms may also need a fresh coat of paint. If you have dark walls, consider repainting with a soft neutral colour that will give the appearance of more space. If you can't repaint, use upward-facing lamps and strategically-placed accent lights to add an extra level of brightness to the space.

6. Deep clean and declutter

You've worked hard and filled your house with everything that made it feel like a home, but this makes it difficult for buyers to truly see the space as theirs. An easy fix: set aside personal items like family photos or distracting decorations until your home showings are complete.

Follow your decluttering with a deep clean. Pay attention to areas like ceiling fans, the cracks between appliances, and cabinet tops. To keep cleaning from becoming an overwhelming task, schedule it into the timeline of tasks leading up to your open house date.

7. Show off your home's best features

Spruce up particular home features of your home that may attract more buyers. You can tidy up the front yard to boost curb appeal, polish antique wooden floors to make them shine, and add greenery to any alcoved windows and shelving you have. 

8. Put your valuables away

During your open house, guests have more freedom to roam than they would have during a private showing, which means sellers' valuable items are more at risk of theft. Unfortunately, jewelry, rare collectibles, and other valuables attract sticky fingers. 

Even if you’re confident this won’t happen, it’s best to secure your valuables, or take them with you, when an open house is underway. Not only will this prevent theft, but it will give you peace of mind.

9. Make sure the place smells fresh!

On the day of your open house, you want a buyer to have a positive experience using all of their senses, including smell! That’s why it’s a good idea to take out your trash, clean the litter box, and tackle any other potential odour sources. 

Airing out your home in the morning also helps lift lingering smells. As the open house nears, close your windows and introduce scents to your home with candles wax melts (but keep a watchful eye on them!), or consider earth-friendly air freshener sprays or essential oil diffusers.

What are the best scents to use for an open house?

You can spark the imagination of buyers by tailoring scents to particular areas in your home during open houses. For example, kitchens might smell like fresh herbs or citrus, while bedrooms may benefit from lavender. Meanwhile, vanilla provides a soft, delicious scent throughout your home without overpowering your guests.

Let the experts help you with selling your house!

Hosting an open house as a seller can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Giving yourself enough time and having a trusted real estate agent on your team can help make this a less stressful process.!

Are you a seller who’s wondering how to prepare for an open house? Our professional real estate agents at Properly provide multiple services to help you find the right buyer, accept the best offer, and show your home at its finest.

If you’re ready to start looking for a new home or are thinking about selling, we can help you find the right real estate agent to guide you through the process. All you have to do? Schedule a time to discuss anything and everything real estate with the Properly team.


*DISCLAIMER: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an exhaustive review of this topic. The content is not financial or investment advice. No professional relationship of any kind is formed between you and Properly Homes Inc. While we have obtained or compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. We recommend that you consult a trusted professional before taking any action related to this information. Properly is a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that is transforming the home buying and selling experience with AI-powered home valuations and a modern streamlined service. We recommend that you compare and contrast your options, read the fine print, and conduct detailed research into any real estate, loan, or investment provider before using their services.*

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