Maybe it's all the shows on HGTV that make people think that every open house will lead to at least one offer (but probably a dozen and at least half of those are all cash and over asking price). It's a common misconception. Just because your agent advertises the open house, the house is sparkling clean and you take the kids out for an afternoon at the park, your agent isn't a magician and you might not receive an offer immediately. But the real estate market in Reno is hot. Demand is up and supply is down so chances are good that an open house or two and showings will lead to an offer if the home is well maintained and well-priced. But there are definitely things that you can do as the homeowner to make sure your home shows well. 

1. Leave. Really. You might want to hang out and chat up your agent. Or maybe you want to sing the praises of the neighborhood and schools or the really great improvements you've made to the property to potential buyers. Don't. Buyers are uncomfortable around the homeowners and typically don't spend as much time looking around. That does not give a good impression. You want people to imagine themselves there, not hurrying to leave. 

2. Take the Pets. It can be inconvenient to take Fido and Fluffy when you have an open house but this is an Open House requirement. Not only do you not want people concerned about accidentally letting your pet out, but many people are allergic to pets or just don't like pets. Ultimately, pets can be a distraction. You do not want potential home buyers distracted by anything when they're looking at your home. 

3. Focus on the Kitchen (and every room). Some homeowners figure that the kitchen is the most lived in room and open house visitors will forgive the dirty dishes in the sink. This isn't the best impression you want to give, so make sure everything is clean. This goes for closets, the laundry room, kids' play room and garage. Just because you use it regularly, doesn't mean you should leave it cluttered for an open house. 

4. Hiring a Pro. Unless you're a very, very good house cleaner, consider hiring a professional. Not only will they clean all the nooks and crannies that a general clean up is bound to miss, but they are likely a much faster cleaner than you are. Use the time you would have spent cleaning to de-clutter or take on minor house projects you wouldn't have had time for. 

5. Perfecting the Yard. Often, mowing your yard just isn't enough. Make sure the lawn is edged, leaves are blown and everything is weed-free. Trees or shrubs may need to be trimmed and seasonal flowers should be planted. Your front porch should be welcoming with a wreath, potted plants or some understated seasonal decor. 

6. De-Personalizing. This covers a lot. Make sure that your medications are removed from the medicine cabinet and there aren't any personal or financial documents out in the office or study. Limit family pictures or overly personalized decor. Your goal is for potential home buyers to see themselves living in your home. Some people find that difficult with every wall covered in family photos and someone else's surname scrawled across the living room wall. 

Posted by Jeff Sallan on
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