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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

5 Cleanliness Tips for Open Houses

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:54

A Photoshopped sign over a blurry fake background reads "Open House"

If you've ever hosted an open house or been to one, you know you need a clutter-free, nice-smelling, clean home. Whether your realtor is helping you throw a backyard BBQ-style or wine-and-cheese open house, you want things to look just as great to the stragglers and late-comers as it did for the early-birds. Here are some quick tricks to keep in mind.

Talking Trash

Your trash cans should be empty, and neatly relined. Be sure to have a trash receptacle in every room, in larger rooms you may want to add an extra trash can. This gives people the chance to throw things out for themselves, and if you need to pick-up after someone, you won't be seen carrying trash around the house.

Out of the Closet

Take the weather into account, and move all your coats and boots out of the entry closet. People feel more comfortable in rainy or snowy weather if you offer them the ability to hang up their coats. It will also show off a feature of the house. If you don't have an entry closet, be sure the hall-tree or coat rack is emptied of your gear and leave only one umbrella in the umbrella stand (to show its use). You create a first impression of spaciousness as well as hospitality by leaving plenty of room for visitors to hang their coats.

Down and Dirty

This is the main issues when trying to keep your home clean during an open house—all those feet. While you want a lot of feet coming through, dirty shoes bring dust and mud and yuck into the house along with every potential buyers. You can't ask everyone to take off their shoes at the door, so what can you do?

  • Begin outside. Make sure that the walkway leading to the front door is clean and free of muck. Don't just sweep, hose it, or even pressure wash it to get that sidewalk clean.
  • Bring on the bristles. A large bristle-style doormat placed at the beginning of your walkway, paired with a second mat in front of the door, subconsciously cues people to wipe their feet on at least one of those doormats. Plus, bristles have some cleaning effect when just walking over them.
  • Roll out the red carpet. The red is optional, but the idea here is to look for a couple cheap runner style rugs that you can place over-top of your floors. Runners will absorb the wet from snow or rain, keep dirt under control, and also provide directional hint (“go this way”) to help direct flow.
  • Make it work. As a last resort, or for those of you with white carpeting, consider using a contractor-type carpet film. Used in remodeling projects, a self-adhesive carpet-protection film can be applied over carpets and hardwood floors temporarily, and removed after the open house. It works to keep floors clean, and the covering signals buyers that you take good care of the house.

Potential buyers are rational people too. You don't want late arrivals to your open house thinking they stumbled on the aftermath of a frat party, but evidence of previous visitors doesn't always ruin the mood either. If you’re concerned, contact a realtor at a business like Cudd Realty for more suggestions. Put your best foot forward, be prepared, and then relax. Your good attitude will help create a friendly mood—and that helps sell your house too.

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