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If you’re like many homeowners planning to sell, you’re likely wondering if there’s value in holding an open house when buyers spend more of their house hunting time online. Perhaps you’re worried an open house will attract only nosy neighbours or believe it’s simply a way for realtors to drum up more business.

Certainly, an open house may draw curious neighbours and realtors may indeed meet potential new clients. But an open house can be a great way to showcase your house to potential buyers.

Though some realtors choose not to hold open houses, many of us have track records that show open houses can – and often do – get the property sold.

Before listing your house for sale, you should have already identified your target market and prepped your house accordingly. That could mean giving interior walls a fresh coat of paint, replacing worn flooring and outdated light fixtures, repairing what’s broken, decluttering, de-personalizing and cleaning until your house sparkles.

So how do prepare your home for a successful open house? Here are some of my tried-and-true tips:


Front yard and entryway

Make sure your lawn is mowed and well-maintained.
• Plant some bright, colourful flowers or add a seasonal arrangement.
• Replace an old welcome mat with a clean, new one. The same goes for old, faded house numbers.
• Give the front door a fresh coat of paint if needed.
• Clean out rain gutters, clean the driveway, walkways and porch.

Living room

• Remove bulky furniture.
• Don’t push furniture all the way against the walls.


Remove magnets and photos from the refrigerator.
• Clear off countertops, except for essentials like a coffeemaker you use daily.
• Add stylish and themed accessories.


Transform your master bedroom into a retreat: no workspaces, exercise equipment or piles of clothes.
• Cover everyday bedding with luxurious bedding or attractive throw.
• If mattresses are sitting on the floor, buy or rent bed frames to lift them up.


Replace everyday towels with soft and neutral-coloured new ones. Add a new shower curtain and fresh soap.
• Hide toothbrushes and other toiletries in baskets or other storage containers.


Make sure the space is clean and not littered with toys or gardening equipment.
• Add furniture, such as a bistro table and chairs for a small area or a dining set for a larger area.


Your property should be in tip-top condition and ready for potential buyers on the day of your open house. Ensure a first impression that’s memorable for all the right reasons with these last-minute tips:

Set out fresh flowers and hang decorative hand towels in the bathroom.
• Turn on all lights except those that produce noise, such as exhaust fans without separate on/off switches. Open all curtains and blinds.
• Keep the home at a comfortable temperature – not too cold or too hot.
• Consider simmering spices on the stove or freshening the air with an essential oil in a diffuser.
• Put out a few refreshments, such as lemonade and fresh-baked cookies, to keep people at your open house a little longer.
• Play soft music to help set a relaxing ambience.
• Place valuables and prescription medications in a safe place.
• Remove vehicles from the driveway and in front of the house.
• Collect all pet items, such as food bowls and litter boxes, and put them out of sight.
• Take the pets and leave the house during the open house.


Ask your realtor for feedback from the people who came to the open house. Constructive feedback will allow you to make improvements that may help you to successfully sell your house.

As always, I’m happy to talk to you about your plans to sell your house, including any questions you may have about whether you could benefit from an open house or how to prepare for one.

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