When selling your house "by owner" you don't have the advantage of a real estate agent with tons of clients so you need to draw people to your house and one way is to have an open house. This will require some prep work and a bit of your time but can reel in potential buyers and get the word out about your home. The best day for an open house is Sunday. This is the day most people spend with their families and are out and about running errands so zipping over to an open house is a nice break. It's best to hold it during the day so people can see the house in daylight. Plan to have the open house for several hours - like noon to 4.
Put an ad in the real estate section of the paper a week ahead of time and let it run all week. Your ad should list the time for the open house, the address, some special amenities of the home like how many bedrooms or if it has a nice view, the asking price and a phone number where they can reach you. Now you are ready to do some of the prep work to make your house irresistible to buyers.
You should already have fixed up any broken or half finished projects around the house. Are there places where the paint is dingy? Then repaint. What about that half done molding in the dining room that has been like that so long that you are blind to it? Finish it, your buyers will notice anything and everything so you need to look at your house with a critical eye and remove anything that might be an obstacle to someone purchasing your home. Go outside and look at your house from the street. Does it have curb appeal? This is the first impression your potential buyer will get so it pays to spruce up the outside.
Make sure your landscaping is crisp and colorful and walkways and lighting work properly. On the morning of the open house, you must make sure your house is spotless. Put away the dishes, make the beds, vacuum the rugs, clean the bathrooms and maybe even add some flowers and put on the coffee. Take notice of how your house smells - you want a nice aroma or fresh smell to hit buyers when they come into your home. Why not bake some cookies? It will make the house smell great and you'll have some yummy treats to offer your guests. For an open house, a clean home is a necessity.
Although it is a good idea to stage your house or set up each room to fit its best potential, you will score more points with a spotless home. No one wants to buy a house that looks like it hasn't been cared for. Make sure each room has the appropriate lighting and if the showing is in the evening, turn on accents lights for ambiance. Enhane the look of each room and avoid having your guests fumble for the light switch by using table lamps. This will make your rooms look warmer than a glaring overhead light.
If you want to make your rooms look brighter and larger, try adding some mirrors. People want their homes to be bright and a mirror can reflect the light from a window or door. Make sure you pick up all the clutter around the house. Outside, you need to store all childrens toys and bikes neatly in the garage or shed. Inside, pick up all toys and put away in cupboards remove all magnets and notes from the fridge and make sure there is no clutter around the tables or on the floors. It's a good idea to send the kids and pets away during the showing.
You don't want anything to distract your potential buyers from the beauty of your home.
Lee Dobbins writes for Moving and More where you can learn more about selling your house.