3 Things you absolutely must do before the open house

Chad Banken
Chad Banken
Published on November 16, 2023

Yes, there aren’t enough homes for sale for all of the buyers who are dreaming of buying one. The good news for homebuyers is that the inventory of available homes has increased, month over month, since April of this year (realtor.com).

Let’s hope that trend continues, for buyers’ sake.

As for home sellers? If you are putting your home on the market soon, pat yourself on the back. The inventory will, someday soon, get back to normal. When it does, there will be plenty of competition among home sellers and prices typically drop in these situations.

You will get more for the house right now than in a buyers’ market. Especially if you ready the home for the spotlight.

1. Clean anything that’s gross

Potential homebuyers look at just about everything in your home. They open drawers to see how roomy they are, they open closets for the same reason.

They open kitchen appliances if they’re included in the sale.

Many homeowners learn to live with the gunk that accumulates inside appliances, such as the oven, refrigerator and dishwasher,  without performing routine cleaning. Open house attendees will consider it disgusting.

Ensure that any appliances that will be included in the sale are impeccably clean, inside and out.

Clean the toilet until it sparkles, get rid of soap scum in the bathtub and hang up fresh towels.

2.Don’t ignore your curb appeal (or lack thereof)

We like to ask our listing clients to go outside and stand at the curb in front of the house. Ask a friend or neighbor to accompany you.

Take notes of what you see and ask your companion to do the same. Since this spot, at the curb, is most likely where potential buyers will get their first in-person glimpse of the home, look at it with a critical eye.

Are there any turnoffs? These can be anything from chipped or peeling paint on the fascia to dead plants and torn window screens.

Transform that area of the home into a magnet that draws people out of their cars and into the home.

3.Don’t leave home without them

Common home-selling practices include the fact that the homeowner should not be home during the open house. Your real estate agent will act as your representative to all that attend.

Your real estate agent, on the other hand, isn’t responsible for ensuring that the home is clean, that the landscaping is in top shape and that your pets aren’t present.

Yes, it’s a terrible inconvenience to have to find a place for your pets for several hours. But it is critical. Here’s why:

  • Many people are allergic to dogs and/or cats. Just looking at them may psychologically trigger their allergies.
  • An intense fear of dogs. Nobody knows how many people suffer from this phobia but the experts at the Cleveland Clinic claim that “… fear of animals is one of the most common types of specific phobias.”

They also say that “… about 1 in every 3 people with a phobia of animals has an overwhelming fear of dogs.”

  • With all of the people coming in and going out of the house, your pets may get out.

Many homeowners think that they can get around these issues by crating the animals and keeping them in a closed-off-to-open-house attendees room.

It’s something most listing agents discourage. Potential buyers will wonder why it isn’t available to view. Think of it this way:

Would you buy a car from a seller who refuses to allow you to look in the trunk?

There are many ways to deal with the pet conundrum:

  • Schedule their grooming for open house day
  • Ask a friend or family member to watch them
  • Take them to a pet daycare center
  • Hire a dog walker for a few hours
  • Take the dog to the park
  • Negotiate with a boarding facility for an hourly rate


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