Preparing for an open house can seem daunting if you don’t know where to begin, so we created an open house checklist to get you started. It’s normal to have a lot of questions when selling your home, but this checklist will help you to prepare for your open house.
Last-minute showings are not ideal, but with open houses, you usually have a decent amount of time to get your home in pristine condition so that it is ready to sell, and will win over as many buyers (and receive as many offers) as possible.
Use our downloadable open house checklist for home sellers. As you check off each to-do, you will begin to see your beautiful, ready-to-show house appear.
Download now or read below.
Go around, room by room to make sure everything is in its place, and that your kids didn’t leave out a pair of shoes or a pet didn’t knock something over.
Remove dirt and debris from your driveway, walkways, patios, etc. Check your landscaping to make sure no trash has blown into your yard, and remove unsightly leaves or branches.
If you have two or more cars, try to park them somewhere else during the open house. If you can’t, make sure they are in the garage so that they don’t diminish your home’s curb appeal.
Whether full or empty, your home will always look better with the garage doors closed. Give them a good scrub if dirt or dust is noticeable on them.
You love your pets, but not everyone is a dog or cat person. Potential buyers who have allergies or a fear of your pup will be uncomfortable when seeing your pets, especially if they are enthusiastic about meeting new friends.
If you have a safe, store anything of value that might be in plain sight or in the spaces potential buyers will look (and they’ll look everywhere). Otherwise, keep them with you when you vacate your home.
How will your agent access your home? Will they meet you at the house? Do they have a key? How will they let you know it’s OK to return home and at what time do they expect that to be? Get all the information before you leave because once you’re gone, you won’t want to distract your agent from selling your home.
Are your sprinklers on a timer? Turn them off so they don’t go off while your agent is showing the property.
If you have a landline phone, mute or turn down the ringer. If you have an answering machine, set it to silent.
More likely than not, the TVs in your home are leaving when you do. Turn them off so buyers are not distracted by them and pay attention to the rest of the room instead. If you have a home theater, put on a family-friendly movie and set it to mute or use an attractive screensaver.
Have quiet, easy-listening music playing throughout the home.
Automatic air fresheners work best, but anything you have will work. Although candles are nice, you don’t want to leave them burning when so many people will be walking in and out, as it could be a liability.
Make sure both interiors and exteriors are well-lighted. Even if it’s a bright, sunny day and your home received lots of natural light, clouds or unexpected rain can darken your home at any time, so it’s better to be prepared.
If it’s cold outside, nothing is more welcoming than a warm fireplace. Make sure you let your agent know you will be lighting it if you leave before they arrive.
If it’s exceptionally hot outside, it might be tempting to crank the air conditioning, but after attendees cool off, they might become too cold and leave quicker than they would have. Instead, set the thermostat to a comfortably cool temperature and have cold, refreshing drinks available. Ask your agent to offer one to each guest upon arrival.
Not only will the aroma invite guests in, but you can also serve them to guests with their refreshing beverage. Avoid serving food or drinks that can be exceptionally messy. Stick to handheld foods like cookies and fruit, and light-colored liquids like water and lemonade.