The decision to sell your house is an important one, and typically follows a great deal of thought and research. Whether you are selling to upsize, downsize, move to a new city or area, there are some important things to keep in mind before listing your house. 

Assuming you will kick off your listing with an open house, your home should be ready to show well before it hits the market. Having property photos taken with your house in pristine condition, will help it shine and, hopefully, bring more people to your open house.


  1. Remove personal items from your home (or tuck them away in a drawer). The more the potential buyers can envision themselves living in the house, the better chance you have of selling it. 

  2. CLEAN! This might seem obvious, but you want your house to (literally!) sparkle on the day of your open house. If there is no dust or grime to detract from the beautiful features of your house, potential buyers can focus on the positives.

  3. Spruce up your landscaping. We aren't suggesting you hire a landscaper and spend thousands of dollars to get your home ready for the open house, but curb appeal is extremely important. Mow the lawn, pull any weeds, maybe plant a few flowers out front to give it a fresh look. This will provide the first impression of the home and will allow potential buyers to enter the house with a positive experience of the exterior. Hopefully that translates to the interior, even if one or two items need to be updated.

  4. Organize! Remember to organize spaces that are not used frequently, as potential buyers will notice. Spaces like the garage, laundry room and closets should all be neat and tidy if possible. Take special care not to overfill these spaces, however, as buyers may think that storage space is lacking in the property as a result.

  5. Finish any obvious minor repairs. If your sink leaks or you have a loose board on the back steps, make sure you fix these little details before the open house. While these are small fixes, they may be enough to put off buyers about how well the home has been cared for. These are easy ways to keep the focus on the positive elements of the house.

  6. Stage the house. The most important part of staging is to remove unnecessary clutter and help buyers envision what each space could be used for. A well-staged place should enhance the space, not take away from it, so try to keep things neutral and sized appropriately for the space. BONUS: Consider setting the dining room table with nice dishes and adding a fresh bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece. This will go far with the buyers who love to entertain.

  7. Remove all signs of pets. While we may love our furry friends, potential buyers may not. Make sure there are no odors or signs of your pets during your open house. This will eliminate another potential obstacle that may put off buyers. You want them to leave with a positive response to the house, not a negative one.

  8. Create a neutral palette. If you have any wild, bright, or dark paint colors on the walls, consider painting a neutral gray or linen color before the open house. Again, this will help buyers envision their furniture and belongings in the space. While paint is an easy fix ,some buyers don't have that vision with those sorts of distractions going on in the space.

  9. Fresh flowers. Consider adding bouquets of flowers to the bedrooms and living spaces, or even a fresh wreath to the front door. These small touches can have a positive impact on potential buyers as they walk through your home.

  10. Refreshments. This is a tip that agents often disagree on, but it certainly can't hurt to offer some tasty treats to potential buyers. If nothing else it will make them remember you (and hopefully your house!) at the end of a busy day looking at houses. BONUS: If your budget allows, try inviting a food truck (or ice cream truck on a hot day!) to your open house. If that isn't a showstopper, I don't know what is!

How did you prepare for your open house? Share with us in the comments below!