Ditch the knick-knacks and boot the pets outside. This is how to prepare your place for an open home, writes Your Home & Garden deputy editor Christine McBride
When home buyers are looking at a property, they want to be able to imagine it as their own. This means that before you open the door to your first open home, you need to make sure the interior is uncluttered and welcoming.
The very first step is the simplest cleaning. A house must be absolutely spotless when you put it on the market. People can look past electric-blue carpet and acid-green walls, but some buyers won't look past dirt.
It's a good idea to rope in family or friends for a morning (paying them handsomely with a big lunch when the work is done) and scrub the house from top to bottom. Don't forget little things such as cleaning out kitchen extractors, wiping down cabinetry, cleaning the windows and mopping floors. If you simply don't have time, pay a cleaner to do one gigantic clean, which you can then maintain from week to week.
Streamline your home
Clutter makes even a spectacular house look smaller and fussy, so walk through each room, noting down everything that's unnecessary for daily life. If you have shelves of knick-knacks, lots of kitchenware on the bench, beauty products littered all over the bathroom and books in piles everywhere, it's best to box them up and store them. Likewise, get rid of any unnecessary furniture by storing it or giving it to charity.
Don't forget that people will open cupboards too, so tidy the linen cupboard and clear out the pantry, kitchen cupboards and laundry and bathroom areas.
Next, think about the art on your walls. Everyone has different tastes and while you might love concert posters and intense surrealist paintings, your potential buyer might not. Take down any really confrontational art, even if it means leaving a blank wall.
Make sure each bedroom has clean linen on the day of the open home, with a plain duvet cover or quilt and matching pillowcases. You could even store these during the week, then slip them over the duvet and pillows before the open home.
It's not just the appearance of your home you need to consider, it's also the smell. Odour is one of the biggest turn-offs for any buyer. If you're a smoker, have pets or even like cooking spicy food, there are likely to be odours in the house you are not even aware of. It's a good idea to banish pets (and certainly open bowls of pet food) from the house, never smoke inside and sacrifice the spice for a few days before each open home.
If the house is damp, the musty odour will give it away everything should be as clean and fresh-smelling as possible. The moment you get up on the day of an open home, open all your doors and windows to air the house. Don't use fragranced air fresheners it looks like you're trying to hide something.
Article provided by Your Home & Garden magazine.