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The Front Porch Blog

Education on all things homeownership

How to Prepare for an Open House

August 17, 2018 Home Selling

Think of an open house as one of the most important interviews you’ll ever have. You need to apply the same level of polish and shine to present the best version of your home. Here are a few preparatory steps for a persuasive demonstration.


Take care of basic upkeep to avoid wasting time and ending a sale before it even started.

Tidy Up

  • Hire a cleaning service. A messy home is distracting and will turn off a prospect as soon as they walk in the door.
  • Shampoo rugs or replace them, especially in the foyer and bathroom where there is a lot of traffic.
  • Remove dead or wilting plants.
  • Fix every drip and squeak. Make sure all bulbs, door/appliance handles, and smoke/ carbon monoxide detectors are functional. Even the handiest DIYers won’t be won over by poor attention to detail.
  • Ward off odors by keeping your fans on, your garbage emptied, and any wet towels or clothes loaded in the washer (not the hamper).

Look Your Best

  • Turn on all the lights and open the curtains to make rooms sparkle.
  • Use a light air freshener or candle so you don’t overwhelm your guests’ nostrils (or upset any allergies).
  • Run a lint roller over your pet areas, and put away toys, litter boxes, and bowls. Not everyone’s a pet lover, and no one wants to see slime and hair when they’re thinking about making a huge purchase. Your pets should also be out of the house during the showing. Alert your real estate agent of the pet’s location if they’re crated onsite.

Know Your Audience

  • Lock up your valuables, prescriptions, jewelry, and money. Although your real estate agent will be present during the open house, it’s impossible to keep track of everyone that wanders in.
  • Clear away any personal touches such as photos, magnets, political or religious figures, etc. They’re off-putting to guests.

tips to increasing your home's value

Living Room

  • If you don’t hire a cleaning service, wipe down carpets, windows, and trim.
  • Refresh your walls by painting in neutral tones (they’re the most widely agreeable).
  • Rearrange or remove furniture that makes the room appear cramped. The living room is the primary conversational space, so the furniture should reflect that.


  • Make beds and cover them with freshly laundered sheets.
  • Stage nightstands with lamps and a small sculptural item so the space looks balanced and lived-in, but tidy.
  • Pack away any off-season clothing that you have hanging up. Closet doors should be closed during your open house, but when they’re inevitably opened, removing any unnecessary elements of your wardrobe will make your closets look bigger.


  • Fluff up new towels. Bright colors are memorable.
  • Set out fancy soaps and lotions to give your guests a high-end experience.
  • Ditch any half-full or empty shower items, like hair products or washes, that look forgotten and cluttered.


  • If you don’t hire a cleaning service, wipe down countertops, the inside of your microwave, and the oven.
  • Organize the pantry. An explosion of snacks is too personal and unappealing.
  • Hide any sponges or cleaning items that remind guests of dirt.
  • Load up any dishes. You should serve cookies, coffee, and soft drinks for a welcoming touch, but set out disposable cups and plates for guests so the sink doesn't fill up.

Dining Room

  • Place a stylish vase with flowers as your dining room’s centerpiece.
  • Set out finer dishes and attractive placemats to keep things looking invitational.
  • Push in dining chairs to make the space look bigger.


  • Weeding, planting, pruning, mowing, edging, fertilizing…a thoughtful exterior leaves a lasting first impression.
  • Sweep your garage and organize any toys and yard equipment. Storage areas a huge draw for potential buyers so don’t assume guests won’t poke around every nook and cranny.

Change of Address Checklist

The last bit of advice? Make sure you’re not around! It’s awkward for prospective buyers to express their honest opinions of your home or even feel free to investigate every area when you’re hovering over their shoulder. Any doubts they have may go unaddressed, and key features may go unnoticed. To improve your chances of selling, give open house visitors the freedom to explore without hindrance.  

If you have any questions about how to improve the market condition of your home

Speak to a Loan Officer today!