Open House Guide For Sellers (Part Two)
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Tip #3-Out of the house! You, your dog and your dust bunnies!
Clean and Declutter your space and stay away during showings!
Leading up to your first open house we hope that you have started taking steps to clean, declutter and stage your apartment. Do not wait until the last minute to do a deep clean, purge or hide your personal things. So you should be focusing on your routine maintenance and making sure you place looks the photos on the internet!
Your place needs to be thoroughly cleaned before each open house; don’t forget the inside of the refrigerator and deep scrub the bathroom. Change the cat’s litter box and check for burned out light bulbs and schmutz on the windows.
You should also temporarily stash any personal effects that survived the staging purge. For each owner we work with, we recommend they have a few boxes to store their stuff. One for toiletries, one for magazines, etc. so you have a place to stash. Before each showing we ask they box everything up and put the boxes in the closet, under the bed or anywhere that the items can be out of sight. It’s a pain to do, but the best ‘shows’ are when the apartment literally looks like nobody lives there so that potential buyers can project their own lives onto the space. The goal is for your place to look like an open canvas, ready for the buyer’s stamp.
Remove rugs and bathmats with curled-up edges, a visitor could trip, fall and possibly blame you.
Tactical ambiance : Beyond basic cleanliness, your apartment should appeal to both the senses and imagination:
- Check for strong unpleasant odors and address them–but don’t over correct. Lighting scented candles or burning incense immediately raises a red flag to a buyer. Baking cookies or even warming cinnamon sticks in the oven is a better way to handle this.
- Blast the a/c in the summer and have bottles of ice cold water on hand for visitors. In the winter, make sure the heat is turned up high.
- Make sure any background music is playing softly and has multi-generational appeal. He also suggests setting an inviting dinner table so that visitors can imagine themselves dining there.
- Turn on all the lights and open the window coverings, unless you face a brick wall.
Go away, and take the gerbils, dogs and dust bunnies with you!
If there was a universal lament among brokers, it was about uninvited guests: You, and your pets.
Nor should you stake out the lobby and stalk buyers on their way out
The biggest mistake sellers make is loitering in the lobby and trying to chat up people who visited the apartment. Buyers go to an open house to have a hassle-free experience, and getting accosted in the lobby by a gregarious (read: nosey) seller does not bode well.
We say your pets—all of them, except possibly fish—must go too. Your beloved animal companion does not want you to sell their home, doesn’t care about your real estate goals and may even make a point of their displeasure and lack of decorum by peeing on a buyer’s leg.
No one wants to buy where birds fly and lizards slither. Moreover, a large snake is literally the kiss of death. No one wants to think about how and what they eat and people can’t shake the creepy feeling that it’s offspring or relatives are hiding somewhere in the apartment.
Hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs? Your kids think they’re so cute. Your buyers think rodents. If you can’t find a temporary foster home, at least make sure the cages don’t smell.