Steven Sharpe: Helpful Tips For Open Houses

  • Wednesday, March 29, 2023
  • Steven Sharpe, president, Greater Chattanooga Realtors
It’s officially Spring, meaning the start of the homebuying season is underway. Although interest rates are higher than they’ve been in the past couple of years, an increase in housing inventory allows some folks to enter the market after watching from the sidelines. And if folks are looking to buy, it might be the right time to sell your house. One way of getting a jump on other properties is to hold an Open House.

Why hold an Open House? It’s a chance to throw open the doors and dazzle buyers.
Whether you’re looking to sell now or later in the year, these tips will help make your Open House a hit and help sell your home much quicker. 

Let Your Realtor® Take the Lead. Your job is to make your house look like a million bucks. The job of a Realtor, an expert on your local real estate market and what makes buyers tick, is to take care of the rest. The Realtor® will take the lead on hosting the Open House, communicating with potential buyers and their agents, and communicating any feedback to you following the Open House.

Try Some Simple Staging. You want your home to look its best on the market, especially during the Open House. Many Realtors say the best way to primp your home for its big day is to stage it.

Depending on what your Realtor recommends, staging may involve renting new furniture or decor for specific rooms in your home. Consider displaying a bouquet of fresh flowers in the entryway, setting your dining room table to make it look inviting, or turning on your outdoor sprinklers shortly before visitors arrive to make your lawn sparkle.

Clean Like Crazy. When your home is on the market, you need to keep it in showing shape — not only for the Open House but also for any scheduled showings with buyers. Unfortunately, even though you’ve already cleaned and organized your home for listing photos, there’s a good chance you’ve let clutter or dust pile up again, especially if you have children or pets.

Make sure appliances, windows, and mirrors are fingerprint-free. Clean and organize your closets, cabinets, and under the sinks (during the Open House, buyers are allowed to be nosy). Clear every bit of clutter and get rid of it or put it in storage.

Don’t have the bandwidth to do a deep clean? Hire a house cleaning service to do the work for you. If you’re unsure which service to hire, ask your realtor to recommend cleaners.

Do a Smell Check. If buyers get a whiff of something funky, they will run — not walk — out of your Open House. Before the Open House, ask your Realtor or a neighbor to do an honest, no-holds-barred smell check. If your house has the aroma of your beloved pet, deep clean the carpets, relocate the litter box, and take steps to eliminate traces of pet activity. If the basement is dank and musty, buy a dehumidifier to remove air moisture and run a fan to circulate the air. If the kitchen drain stinks, drop in a cup of baking soda, then two cups of white vinegar. Enjoy the bubbling, then let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Finally, run hot water for 15 to 30 seconds to flush the odor.

Put Your Pictures and Valuables Away. Personal belongings such as family photos, awards, and religious art can distract home buyers and make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in your home. You don’t have to go overboard — the idea isn’t to eliminate every trace of yourself — but consider temporarily hiding some pictures and personal effects out of sight during the Open House. Also, there’s a safety element to stowing your personal belongings. It’s important to remember that you’re inviting strangers into your home. Consider securely storing personal items (checkbooks, jewelry, prescription medications, etc.). Also, be sure to lock windows and doors afterward.

Let the Light In. Light doesn’t only brighten up your space. It also makes rooms look and feel larger. On Open House day, open all curtains and blinds to let natural light in. Replace every burnt-out light bulb in and outside the home — buyers should see a working light every time they flip a switch.

Draw Attention to Your Home’s Best Features. Even though you won’t be there, you can still draw visitors’ attention to features in your home that you’d like to highlight. Before the Open House, post (friendly, aesthetically pleasing) signs around the house with calls to action such as, “look down, new hardwood floors,” or “gas fireplace, push this button.” Buyers will likely appreciate the help and that they’re working with a conscientious seller.

After the Open House ends, your Realtor will share with you what questions buyers asked and any comments they overheard from visitors. The important thing is to stay open to buyers’ feedback and to follow your Realtor’s advice about how to respond. For example, based on buyers’ reactions, your Realtor may recommend that you make certain repairs, do some painting, or invest in additional staging before your next Open House. Whatever they advise, it’s not personal — it’s just the business of selling your home.

As a reminder to the public and to other realtors, listings agents can register open houses in Flexmls, which populate to the public at This is a helpful way for homebuyers to plan out their day when home shopping.

Selling your house can be stressful but utilizing the expertise of a realtor can help make the entire process more seamless. A realtor will work with you to make sure that you get the most out of your most valued investment. That’s Who We R.
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