The sale of your home hinges, in part, on your open house. You want to do everything possible to ensure a successful showing. Listing your property can be stressful, and you want to garner offers that match or exceed your expectations. Here are a few steps to create a lucrative and stress-free open house.

The Right Agent

Hiring the right realtor for the sale of your home is an important first step. Your real estate agent should have experience in the types of property and the neighborhood in which you’re selling. When interviewing agents, avoid hiring friends and family. Ask the agent about the listing price vs. selling price of the last three homes he or she has sold. This knowledge will help you gauge how close you may get to your asking price. Discuss with your agent how you’ll communicate throughout the process of the sale of your home, and what happens if your professional relationship doesn’t work.

Read your real estate agent’s contract carefully, and negotiate any terms with which you’re uncomfortable. Ask your agent about his or her marketing plan for your home. Your realtor should have a marketing plan that encompasses the use of the internet and modern conveniences like smartphone apps as well as traditional methods of advertising. Beware of agents promising the highest price or charging the lowest commission, and avoid part-time agents who aren’t dedicated to their craft.

The Right Price

Your agent will help you determine the most reasonable asking price for your property. To do this, your realtor will examine recently sold houses in your area that are similar in comparison to your home. Market trends change, so don’t expect to garner the same price on your house that you paid, although upgrades to the property can significantly raise the value.

Stage Your Property

Staging your property involves preparing the outside and inside of your house to make everything as orderly and attractive as possible. Repair or replace anything that’s broken or in disarray, including flooring, walls, fixtures, and appliances. Declutter by removing any objects not currently in use. Neatly arrange and organize each room of the home, including cabinets, cupboards, pantries, closets, and drawers. Remove any personal items such as photos, collectibles, political paraphernalia, and other items that may make guests feel like they’re in your space rather than envisioning themselves living in the house.

Clean everything. Cleanliness sells. Remove garbage, spoiled foods, or anything that may add unpleasant odors throughout the house. Keep window dressings open to allow in natural light and maximize views from each room. Add pops of color, especially to the kitchen, with lively decor such as fruit, flowers, or plants. Don’t neglect under the sinks. These areas should be dry, free of mold or dirt, and tidy. Pay particular attention to the kitchen as this is often considered the most important room in the house. Bake or buy cookies. Baked goods create an inviting aroma and welcoming appeal to any home.

Be Security Conscious

During an open house, people will be opening doors, drawers, closets, and even looking under the bed. Remove any jewelry, weapons, or valuables that may pose security risks to you or your guests.

Invite the neighbors. Neighbors are likely to recommend your property to family, friends, or loved ones that they want to be near, and can help “sell” the neighborhood.

When possible, remove pets. Not everybody is pet-friendly, and some buyers may have allergens activated by the presence of your furry companions.

Be absent. It can be stressful to watch people comb through your house with a discerning eye. Trust your real estate agent to do his or her job, and enjoy a day out during your open house.

The sale of your home doesn’t have to be stressful. When you plan and adequately prepare, your property will attract ample potential buyers. Hire the right agent. Price your house aggressively. Stage the property inside and out. Remove security risks. Invite the neighbors. Remove pets. Then, enjoy a day out, possibly pampering yourself as a reward for your hard work. Then, patiently wait as offers are made.

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