Today’s Southern Maryland housing market is competitive, and when it’s time to sell your house, you need to make sure it is in the best possible shape. An open house is a great way to showcase the best features of your home and allow potential buyers to get a feel for the place.
But making a Southern Maryland open house work isn’t the work of wizardry and magic by your agent. Even though you won’t be present — and the seller should never be present for an open house — you bear some responsibility for making the event a success. Here are eight things that could negatively impact your open house and potentially drive away buyers.
Leaving your pets at home
We all love our pets, but they can be a real problem when you’re showing your Southern Maryland house. Logistically, your pet needs to be kept separate from anyone viewing the house. Potential buyers may not like pets, and they may not like the idea of living in a house that was once inhabited by cats or dogs. Blocking off areas of your house during an open house is serious no-no.
Pets can also behave in unpredictable ways, especially around unfamiliar people. The last thing you need is your pet having accident in front of visitors or scaring potential buyers.
The best thing you can do is take your pets with you when you leave. Take them to a friend’s for the day, and go through the house to remove signs that pets live there. This includes toys, water and food bowls, beds, litter boxes, smells, and stains.
Ignoring your kitchen needs
Don’t ignore your kitchen when you’re planning an open house! You’d be surprised how many owners leave dirty dishes in the sink. The rest of your house may be staged perfectly, but a messy kitchen will turn off potential buyers. They’re going to want to open appliances like the fridge, oven, and dishwasher. Clean and store dishes before the open house, and remove smelly foods from the fridge. If you’re storing small appliances on the counter, store them so the kitchen doesn’t look cluttered. Wipe appliances left out – like coffee makers and toasters – so that they are clean.
Take the extra time to check out and clean the other rooms in your home, too – even those you think potential buyers might not look at like closets, the garage, and the laundry room. They’re going to open every door and cupboard. Make sure it’s tidy.
Not hiding dirty bath towels
Tuck away bath towels that you have used – and intend to use again before washing them. This has a couple of benefits. First, it makes your bathroom look well-staged. Second, it keeps them free of germs and dirt from the people who will be parading through your house during the open house. It’s better to swap in a clean set of decorative hand towels and bath towels. You don’t want anyone wiping their hands on a towel that you will later use after the shower.
It costs a lot of money to buy a Southern Maryland house, so it’s no wonder that potential buyers expect the place to be spotless. Not everyone meets the mark. Don’t be afraid to hire a cleaning service if you need help getting the job done. Professional cleaners will remember to scrub all the out of the way spots you may miss, like switch plates and baseboards. They can also help you get rid of old stains and odors.
Not getting a second opinion
Your house clean and staged – now what? Find a friend or neighbor who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth. You get used to odors and smells in your home over time. Find someone who will tell you if they smell something funny or see a spot that isn’t clean. Don’t be offended if you don’t like their assessment. You’re not in the position to be all ego; you’re trying to sell your home.
Not maintaining the yard
Open house guests will see your front yard first. It should be spotless so that they focus on the curb appeal of your Southern Maryland home, not your yard tools, kids’ toys, or trash can. Trim the grass, and make sure flowers and bushes look good. Keep trash out of sight unless it is trash day.
As the seasons change in Southern Maryland, the outside of your home will gather a lot of grime. It happens gradually, so you may not have noticed it, but your open house guests will spot it right away. Like a home’s interior, its exterior should be fresh and clean to impress potential buyers.
Photos, religious art, drugs, and politics need to go
During an open house, buyers should be able to picture themselves living in your home. They don’t want to see your family’s photos or be able to discern your religious and political views as they walk through your house.
Stagers depersonalize your house for a reason. First, they want potential buyers to picture themselves living there. Second, they also want to remove any ammunition that can be used against you during the negotiating process.
One of the most important places to depersonalize is your medicine cabinet. Empty it before the open house starts. When you’re collecting family photos, be sure to also look for items like canes and walkers. If buyers think the seller is elderly, they may try to underbid you, assuming that you can no longer take care of your house.
Keeping potential buyers from learning your personal details isn’t just good staging – it’s a good selling move, too!
Waldorf MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309
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