Steps to a Flawless Open House

Hosting an open house is your opportunity to show off your home’s potential to the public and lock in that interested buyer. Rather than a traditional home showing, open houses provide you time and flexibility to transform your normally lived-in home into a welcoming, jaw-dropping oasis. Most buyers schedule multiple open houses in one day so they can compare and contrast homes. Here’s how to guarantee yours is successful and unforgettable:


1. Promote, Promote, Promote

The most important aspect of a successful open house is a successful marketing and promotional plan. Get the word out through social media advertisements, open house fliers and door hangers, newspaper ads, and word of mouth. Use all media available to reach the largest audience. Put up directional signs with balloons in the neighborhood and at the front of your home – if no one can find it, not even the most convincing advertisement will save your open house.

2. Tidy Up and Declutter

You only have one chance at a first impression, don’t let that first impression be of a dirty and cluttered home. Some homebuyers may be inclined to lower their offer based on untidy conditions. Furthermore, clutter creates the illusion of a smaller space. Going the extra mile to fluff a pillow will pay off big time in the end. Before the showing remember to:

  • Wipe walls
  • Wash windows and buff countertops, tables, and other surfaces
  • Thoroughly clean bathrooms
  • Clear surfaces and floors of toys, magazines, ornaments, etc.

3. Curb Appeal

This is the presentation of your home to the public. Mow the lawn, clear out weeds, and remove toys or other debris from your yard. Plant flowers in your garden and trim the shrubberies. Make the outside of your home reflect your hard work and staging in the inside.

4. Remove Pets

Dogs, cats, and other pets should be neither seen nor heard during an open house. Taking them to the park for the day or to a friend’s house will be well worth it. If removing a pet isn’t an option, do not let them roam freely. Try to move them to a confined, less trafficked space until the open house is over.

5. Odor

There is nothing worse than unidentified aromas in a home. No matter what the cause, it’s important to neutralize. Be mindful of factors that contribute to certain odors such as pets, old food in a refrigerator, certain foods cooked the night before, and smoking.  Though you may be used to the odor, it can be quite obvious to an outsider. A simple solution is to invite a friend or relative to do a “smell test” in areas of your home. Ask them to give honest feedback so you can identify and eliminate source. Temporarily changing your lifestyle, such as smoking outside or cooking less potent foods, and hiring a cleaning service is the best way to rid your home of odors before an open house.

6. Home Repairs

Have a drawer that doesn’t close correctly? Have cabinets that are missing handles? Do your walls need a paint touch up? Stains on your carpet? Leaky faucet? It’s time to stop procrastinating and finally tackle these home repairs. If you’ve been avoiding the hassle, chances are buyers want to avoid them too.

7. Family Pictures and Albums

Remove all pictures and albums of your family on the day of your open house. You do not want buyers imagining your family living at your home; you want them to envision their families living in their new home.

8. Remember Your Own Security and Privacy

Don’t let the excitement of a busy open house distract you from your own safety. Lock up small, personal items such as jewelry and expensive electronic devices. Be mindful of bills you may have laying on the counter or personal checks with account numbers and credit card receipts. All spare keys and garage door openers should be out of sight and locked up. Be mindful of certain medications: do not leave them in bathroom medicine cabinets.

9. Stage Your Home

Doing small things such as setting your dining room table will go a long way. Try to make the environment look natural, like you’re having close friends over for Sunday brunch. Air out your home, turn on all lights, and open all of your curtains. Buyers love walking in to a bright and airy space. Add fresh flowers or fresh baked cookies as a finishing touch. provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore MetroFederal Hill,  Harbor EastPhoenix,Timonium, and Westminster. Pennsylvania real estate offices include Lancaster, EphrataElizabethtownMt JoyQuarryvilleCamp Hill,  CarlisleChambersburgHarrisburgHersheyLebanonSchuylkill HavenWyomissing, York, DallastownGettysburgHanover, and Shrewsbury.



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