Buy ready-made cookie dough and disposable aluminum cookie sheets so you don’t have to take time for clean up after baking (you can recycle the pans after use). Nothing says “home” like the smell of freshly baked cookies.
Buy a bag of apples or lemons to display in a pretty bowl.
Let your real estate agent know if you’re running low on sales brochures explaining the features of your house.
Clean the windows to let in the most light possible.
Mow the lawn two days before the open house. Mowing the morning of the open house can peeve house hunters with allergies.
Day Before the Open House
Make sure your real estate agent puts up plenty of open-house signs pointing in the right direction and located where drivers will see them. If she can’t get to it on the Friday before a Sunday open house, offer to do it yourself.
Put away yard clutter like hoses, toys, or pet water bowls.
Lay fresh logs in the fireplace.
Day of the Open House
Put checkbooks, kids’ piggybanks, jewelry, prescription drugs, bank statements, and other valuables in the trunk of your car, at a neighbor’s house, or in your safe. It’s rare, but thefts do happen at open houses.
Set the dining room table for a special-occasion dinner. In the backyard, uncover the barbeque and set the patio table for a picnic to show buyers how elegantly and simply they can entertain once they move in.
Check any play equipment for spider webs or insect invasions. A kid screaming about spiders won’t endear buyers to your home.
Clean the fingerprints off the storm door. First impressions count.
Put up Post-It notes around the house to highlight great features like tilt-in windows or a recently updated appliance.
Remove shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other personal items from the bathtub, shower, and sinks in all the bathrooms. Store them in a shoebox under the sink. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living in your house.
Stow away all kitchen countertop appliances.
One Hour Before the Open House
Bake the ready-to-bake cookies you bought earlier this week. Put them on a nice platter for your open house guests to eat with a note that says: “Help yourself!”
Hang the new towels in the bathrooms.
Put your bowl of apples or lemons on the kitchen table or bar counter.
Pick up and put away any throw rugs, like the bath mats. They’re a trip hazard.
15 Minutes Before the Open House
Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights in the house. Buyers like bright homes.
Light fireplace logs (if it’s winter).
Didn’t get those cookies baked? Brew a pot of coffee to make the house smell inviting.
During the Open House
Get out of the house and let the REALTOR® sell it! Potential buyers will be uncomfortable discussing your home if you’re loitering during the open house. Take advantage of your child- and pet-free hours by treating yourself to something you enjoy — a few extra hours at the gym, a trip to the bookstore, or a manicure.