Preparing for an open home

Guide: Preparing For An Open Home

When preparing for an open home, it’s true what they say, first impressions really do count. That’s why it’s so important that your home make a positive first impression on every potential buyer that inspects your home.

Simple measures like small, cosmetic changes to the interior of your home, moderate landscaping, repairs and de-cluttering can all greatly improve your chances of receiving offers. Even if your home is in a sought-after location, if you want to attract higher offers, making small investments in the appearance of your home at an inspection is a must.

Jo Chivers, one of the observers on property watch website Property Observer, noted that before properly preparing her apartment in a popular suburb, her open home attracted little interest and only low offers, which were well below expectations for the property and the area.

After making very small updates to her home, like installing more modern light fittings, and hiring a home stylist to stage her home, the property received more than double the number of inspections and attracted much higher offers. You can take a look at the difference here.

So when it comes to preparing your house for an open home, what are the top tips for attracting more potential buyers and higher offers?

  1.   De-clutter: The first tip is the simplest. It’s obviously a must to clean and tidy your home before an inspection, but it’s crucial to also get rid of clutter that could stand in the way of a potential buyer picturing themselves within the home. That means getting rid of personal nick knacks and photographs, unnecessary furniture or furniture within a room not designed for that purpose, for example a bed within a space traditionally used as a living area. Even if it means putting belongings and furniture into storage until the property sells, the investment will be worth it.
  2.   Repair: Make any aesthetic repairs well before inspection. Things as small as a chip in paint in an interior wall could detract from the overall feel for the home, so get these things up-to-date before your open home. You could also invest in updating features like tired curtains, older fixtures and fittings, or laying new turf if you have a patchy lawn.
  3.   Style: Once clutter free, consider using a home stylist or home staging service, like Chivers did above. The results can be dramatic. Home stylists will take a look at your space, and then loan you the furniture which is the size and style best suited for your home, which will make a space look bigger, comfortable and liveable. Again, this will help potential buyers to see themselves living in the space.
  4.   Photograph: Before even getting to your first home inspection, consider using a professional photographer to take quality, well-lit pictures of your home. After going to the trouble of updating, de-cluttering and staging your property, the last thing you want to do is turn people away before they’ve even inspected your home. Professional photos are taken with professional equipment, they can make spaces look bigger, well-lit and showcase them in the best possible way. Plus you benefit from the experience of someone who knows exactly how to take a photo that appeals. This way, you attract buyers looking online, scanning through ads, and looking through the paper. It’s about piquing interest to attract buyers to inspect in the first place.

Your property may not need all of the above, so it’s really about taking a look at your home objectively from a potential buyer’s perspective and assessing what needs to be done. What would distract you if you were inspecting the property? What would you want to replace or update if you were thinking of making an offer? If you were to say to yourself “this place is great… but”, how would you finish that sentence?

Once you’ve made a list of the possible things your property needs, you can employ the top four tips above to make your home a stand-out to the sea of potential buyers out there.