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Selling Your Home Yourself: Part 3 – Getting ready for an open home

2271 cleaninghouse
2271 cleaninghouse

When home buyers are looking at a property, they want to be able to imagine it as their own. This means that before you open the door at your first open home, you need to make sure it’s uncluttered and welcoming.

The very first step is the simplest – cleaning. A house must be absolutely spotless when you put it on the market. People can look past electric-blue carpet and acid-green walls, but some buyers won’t look past dirt. It’s a good idea to rope in some family or friends for a morning (paying them handsomely with a big lunch when the work is done) and scrub the house from top to bottom. Don’t forget little things such as cleaning out kitchen extractors, wiping down cabinetry, cleaning the windows and mopping floors. If you simply don’t have time, pay a cleaner to do one gigantic clean, which you can then maintain from week to week.

Streamline your home

Clutter makes even a spectacular house look smaller and fussy so walk through each room, noting down everything that’s unnecessary for daily life. If you have shelves of knick-knacks, lots of kitchenware on the bench, beauty products littered all over the bathroom and books in piles everywhere, it’s best to box them up and store them. Likewise, get rid of any unnecessary furniture by storing it or giving it to charity.

Don’t forget that people will open cupboards too, so tidy the linen cupboard and clear out the pantry, kitchen cupboards, and laundry and bathroom areas.

Next, think about your art. Everyone has different tastes and while you might love concert posters and intense surrealist paintings, your potential buyer might not. Take down any really confrontational art, even if it means leaving a blank wall.  

Make sure each bedroom has clean linen on the day of the open home, with a plain duvet cover or quilt and matching pillowcases. You could even store these during the week, and then slip them over the duvet and pillows before the open home.

It’s not just the appearance of your home you need to consider, it’s also the smell. Odour is one of the biggest turn-offs for any buyer. If you’re a smoker, have pets, or even like cooking spicy food, there are likely to be odours in the house you are not even aware of. It’s a good idea to banish pets (and certainly open bowls of pet food) from the house, never smoke inside, and sacrifice the spice for a few days before each open home.

If the house is damp, the musty odour will give it away – everything should be as clean and fresh-smelling as possible. The moment you get up on the day of an open home, open all your doors and windows to air the house. Don’t use fragranced air fresheners – it looks like you’re trying to hide something.