Like many in our age group, my husband and I are now empty nesters. Our children have not only moved out, but they have both relocated to different…and yes, faraway parts of the country. Our son has lived in Ontario for many years now and that always seemed like a very long way from the Maritimes…that is until our daughter recently moved to the Northwest Territories. Now suddenly, Ontario feels relatively close.
We have reluctantly come to the realization that there is very little likelihood of them returning “home” to live.
We have considered this eventuality for a while now, whether we still need a traditional family home and its endless upkeep now that our kids have moved out.
Well, to make a long story short, we have decided to “list” our house. I say “list” because in our part of the country (Canada’s east coast) “list” is definitely not a guarantee of “sale”.
One of the first things our agent suggested after we listed our home for sale was having an “Open House”.
The following list covers some of the considerations we encountered while preparing our home for this grand event:
Before considering an “Open House” you will want to eliminate any bold or outdated decorating choices. (Those burgundy and forest green walls with the flowered border at chair rail height may have been all the rage twenty years ago…but it’s not now!)
Allow the full potential of your home shine through. Rooms with oversized furniture look smaller and crowded countertops make it seem there isn’t enough cabinet space to store items properly.
Buyers need to picture themselves living in your home, so personal items like an abundance of photos and children’s artwork covering bulletin boards and the fridge need to go. Get rid of all your knickknacks from your trip to the Bahamas and make sure every horizontal surface is clutter free. Minimalism is key.
No Pets Allowed –
As much as we all love them, there should be no trace of your family pets at your open house. This includes beds, toys, food/water dishes and litter boxes.
Consider hiring a company to stage your home or stage it yourself. Staging highlights the best features of every room in your home.
Clean, and then when you think your home is clean enough, clean again. This also applies to the outside of your home. Mow the lawn and weed and edge the gardens. Everything needs to be impeccable.
Use every form of technology available to get the word out that you have your home for sale. “If you tell them, they will come.” (I used a little artistic license with that quote, but you get the idea)
Usually, your agent takes care of this, but make sure there is signage at strategic points to direct potential buyers to your “Open House”.
Odd Hours –
Consider odd hours to make your listing stand out from the crowd. For example, if most open houses are held Sunday 2PM-4PM. Try holding yours on Sunday from 3PM-5PM.
Do Include Neighbours –
Look, we all struggle with not wanting everyone in the area traipsing through our house, just because they are curious. But your neighbours can be an excellent way to spread the word about your listing.
The Little Extras –
- Freshen up your home with a couple bouquets of fresh flowers. If you or your family or friends have a garden, cut them from there. When flowers aren’t in season I will head to our local grocery store and buy an arrangement from the marked down bin. Recut them, put them in fresh water and they will last a few more days and you aren’t out a ton of money.
- Leave out freshly baked (or bought) cookies or muffins on a pretty plate and don’t forget to include a few napkins.
Be Security Conscience –
Remove valuables from plain sight or from the house altogether. Remove any medications from medicine cabinets, night stands, etc.
And Finally… Be Absent –
You have hired a professional and done your best to enhance the appearance of your home. Now, let your agent do their job!
These tips apply not only to an open house but also every time you have a scheduled (by appointment) showing.
Wish us luck and best of luck with your open house too!