How to Prepare for an Open House

Open front door of upscale modern home, welcomes new homeowners and guests. Door is made of wood and glass.

You’re ready to buy a new home, but that may also mean it’s time to sell your current home. Whether you list your home with a real estate agent or you’re selling it yourself, you’ll likely be hosting an open house. Either way, you’ll have some work to do to get it ready. With these tips, you can get your home ready for an open house, make a good impression and hopefully attract an offer quickly.

Take Care of Minor Repairs

A little fixing up can go a long way. Repair small things like cracked tiles, leaky faucets or creaky floorboards. Patch holes and cracks in walls and ceilings, and paint over any scuffed walls. You may even want to completely repaint some walls (always opt for a neutral color). Fix any broken appliances or built-in systems like HVAC. Any repairs you do proactively will reduce costs for the buyer, which comes out as a plus for your home. A serious buyer would probably ask you to do it later anyway.

Make it Shine

While it may seem obvious, cleaning is too important not to mention. Scour your home from top to bottom, and pay attention to detail. Thoroughly clean your home, from fan blades to baseboards, and everything in between. Polish metal fixtures and scrub the bathroom and kitchen until they sparkle. If you have carpets, floor-to-ceiling windows or a particularly large home, it might be worth it to hire professional cleaners.

Enhance your Curb Appeal

Remember, the outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. Make it look inviting and well cared for. Clean your outside windows and screens as well as rain gutters. Mow the lawn and sweep the sidewalk and driveway. Consider planting a flowerbed or adding some potted shrubs or flowers. Make the front door inviting by giving it a fresh coat of paint, a wreath and a new welcome mat. Replace old patio lighting fixtures, too.

Pack Up Early

Too much clutter can cost you a sale. Box up approximately half of the items in your home and move them to your new home or a storage locker. Real Estate Analyst Julie Gurner of likes to call this the “early move method.” Gurner recommends removing a few pieces of furniture and all personal items, plus anything that creates clutter, such as anything stuffed into a closet or hanging out on the floor. Think of it as early preparation for your move and one less thing you’ll have to pack later on.


Remove personal items like framed diplomas, kids’ artwork, and family photos. Replace distinctive art pieces with a tasteful and simple mirror. While you may love your personal style, it could be off-putting to others. A mirror, on the other hand, is neutral and will make the room look bigger.

Remove/Hide Your Valuables

Klaus Gonche, a Realtor with My Homes Team in South Florida, reminds you to remove all valuables before showing your home. All jewelry, important documents, cash, and medications should be out of sight and off the premises. There’s no reason to take any chances when inviting hordes of strangers into your home.

Don’t Forget the Details

During an open house, you can expect guests to open everything from cabinets to drawers to closets. Turn coffee mug handles all the same direction to make your cabinets look neat and organized. Close all toilet seats. Put a vase of fresh flowers in your entryway. Finally, set the dining room table so viewers can imagine entertaining in this beautiful home. These small details can make a huge difference in how potential buyers view your home.

Remove all Evidence of Pets

Not everyone’s a pet lover. Be sure to thoroughly disinfect your home to remove any trace of pet odors. Remove all pet hair from blankets, bedspreads and furniture. Also remove feeding bowls, blankets, dog beds and litter boxes. Pets are often seen as a liability, and any trace of them will just get your buyer thinking about all the potential places your pet pooped, puked, or scratched.


You don’t need to be present during open house hours. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your real estate agent is trained to handle all the questions buyers may have, and you may still be more attached to your home than you realize. Leave the premises to avoid any awkward situations. Take your pets with you, while you’re at it!

Spread the Word

An open house with low or no turnout is the last thing you want. Make sure your real estate agent is helping you market the event. Put signs in your yard and on neighboring streets. Post it on your own social media to let friends know. Tell your doctor, your hairdresser, and your kid’s teacher. Tell everyone you can think of. You never know who’s in the market for a home or who knows someone that is. Spread the word to ensure all your hard work pays off.
Rebecca Rosenberg is an international digital media consultant and freelance writer.

Related Articles

Sign up for the Home of the Week

New Home 101
New eBook Available

Expert Advice on Buying & Building a New Home

The eBook will be delivered to your inbox. We will not share your email address.