BUYING & SELLING | A FIVE-PART SERIES PRESENTED by MG Residential’s Resident Blogger | Katie Shea Britton


There is no general consensus in the real estate community on the role of an open house in the ultimate sale of a property. With so much information at the fingertips of homebuyers via real estate apps and social media, open houses are not the primary marketing tool for new listings anymore. Without fail, though, an open house is still seen as an official launch on the weekend that a property hits the market. So what can you, as a seller, do to maximize your open house and get you to that closing table faster?

Recreate the walk-up experience with fresh eyes
Start at your curb and work your way into the home. What’s the initial impression before you even cross the threshold? Do you need some help with your curb appeal? Start there. Weed and mow, at a minimum. Add a few fresh plants and/or make any repairs to take it a step further. Finally, add a new “Welcome” mat at the front door. It looks nice and, on a practical level, helps keep outside dirt from being tracked indoors by your open house guests.

Sniff test
Corned beef and cabbage? Liver and onions? No.
Wet dog? Dirty hockey gear? No.

You’ve taken the time to declutter and deep clean your home, but life continues to happen inside those four walls. The heavy-lifting is done, now the easiest thing to do in advance of an open house is to freshen up the air inside your home. Open your windows, vacuum and dust, but don’t try to mask unpleasant smells with anything too strong. A few strategically placed jars of baking soda a few days in advance of the open house can do the trick. Add just a few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil to the baking soda for a subtle air-freshening effect. And clean sheets and fresh hand towels go a long way in presenting your home in its best possible light.

Remove yourselves
Both literally and figuratively. Not only will a wet dog smell turn off potential buyers, but the family pet should also be off-site for the open house. As should you! Do not linger; let your agent work. Before you leave in advance of your open house, remove your personal items and touches. Never leave valuables or sentimental items in a house that will be open to the public. Tuck away family photos and any personal collections – let your guests envision themselves in this space!

Be adaptable
Things will happen that you simply will not anticipate. Did your Amazon Prime delivery land on the morning of the open house? Throw those boxes in your car. Dirty pile of towels from the pool yesterday? Dump them in your washer or dryer, even if you can’t cycle them through at the moment. Whatever your challenge, chances are that your agent has experienced something similar and can help you troubleshoot. Let them help. Your agent is your property manager during the open house and will make it shine.

Hosting an open house is a big deal, but it certainly does not have to be stressful with the right approach. Your agent may suggest a “Broker’s Open” around the same time you list; this is a sneak-peek for other agents a few days before the general open house and can get your property front-of-mind for active buyers whose agents attend.

Finally, despite the reasons you have for selling your home, there are things about it you’ve come to love. Share those things with your agent so they can translate them into selling points. Have you had ideas about a few do-it-yourself projects to spruce up the property? Maybe you never got to them, but share those with your agent too. They can help potential buyers share your vision or even expand on it. Every open house attracts neighbors, friends, strangers, and others into your home; with the right planning and marketing, this will mean a quick and successful sale for you.