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8 Tips for Holding a Successful Open House

February 22 2011

houseWith spring just around the corner, the season for open houses will soon be upon us. As we at know, open houses give sellers an opportunity showcase their home in a casual way to serious home buyers and generate interest in their property.  

A successful open house, however, requires a bit more than just being sure that the home is clean. The ultimate objective is for potential buyers to be comfortable in the space, with a sense of being able to envision themselves living there.  We have compiled a list of some simple adjustments you can make in preparation for your open house to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.


    1. Remove photographs and other personal items. You want potential buyers to feel like this could be their home and not somebody else’s. While artwork and some photographs are okay, do not overwhelm buyers with your personal memorabilia. This means taking the wedding photographs off the mantel, the children’s artwork of off the refrigerator and your collectable spoons off of the wall.  Instead, focus on artwork that is simple and matches the homes décor.
    2. Make sure the home is at a comfortable temperature. It seems obvious, but you don’t want buyers shivering from the cold or perspiring from heat.  This will only drive them out too quickly and have a negative response to their surroundings. Having the thermostat set for around 70 degrees in the winter months, and 72 in the warmer months is generally a good rule of thumb.
    3. Open all blinds and window coverings. Natural light gives the feeling of openness and cheerfulness. You want to be sure to communicate that to your buyers. In rooms that do not receive as much light, be sure to have lamps and fixtures with high-watt bulbs.
    4. Do not use synthetic scents or air fresheners. Many people are allergic or find these overwhelming.  Instead, make sure the house smells clean and aired out.  If this means opening a few windows, then do so. Also, if you want the house to smell of baked cookies, then make sure to offer some to visitors!  There is nothing worse than smelling cookies and not getting any.

  1. Have a bulletin board of pictures showcasing the house in different seasons. You will want to highlight the home’s lawn, landscaping or outdoor entertaining space, as they are often a big deciding factor for home buyers.
  2. Be sure to supply all relevant materials to visitors. Make it easy for buyers to have information they can take with them. Be sure to print and distribute:  Inspection reports, recent appraisals or comparable homes, major repairs & warranties, and blueprints for additions or future possible improvements.  Your Realtor can be and should be a valuable resource for this.
  3. Remove items not included in the sale. If you plan on taking it with you, do not leave it in plain sight. While furniture is allowed to stay, move any appliances or home accessories you do not intend to sell. If buyers are not aware it exists, they cannot try to have it included in an offer.
  4. Ask for feedback. Allow buyers the ability to comment and share both their likes and dislikes   through a feedback card. Also, watch and listen for verbal and physical clues concerning buyers’ interests and if possible, tweak accordingly.

Good luck and happy selling!

If you would like to read more articles about open houses, please click here.