Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
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Subject: Preparing Your Home for a Successful Open House

Buyers are drawn to homes that appeal to their senses. This is important to remember when preparing your home for an Open House. Through sight, sound and smell, buyers should leave your home with a lasting impression. Here are some tips to showcase your home in the best-possible light.


Start outside by inspecting the front of your home from across the street. Does it have curb appeal? It should look inviting, with a trimmed lawn and flowerbed and a freshly painted front door. Polish door handles and knockers and replace worn items such as a rusty doorbell. Consider adding a new doormat and flowering plants at the entrance. Do the windows need cleaning? Be sure to remove oil stains from the driveway.

Next check the side and back yards. Add some flowering plants to the back as well. Rearrange the outdoor furniture to look inviting. Put away gardening tools. Tidy around the grill area.


Now focus on the inside of the home where cleanliness, space, smell and lighting are key. First, get your house in tip-top condition by cleaning and clearing away clutter. Steam clean and vacuum the carpet. Make sure your floors are waxed and shiny. Touch up nicks on walls and make sure the porcelain sinks and tubs and metallic fixtures shine. Your kitchen and bathrooms should pass the white glove test. Be conscious of any lingering odors such as smoke, pets or strong-smelling foods. You may need to air out your home prior to the Open House. Consider grinding fresh lemons in the garbage disposal or even baking chocolate chip cookies. And don't forget to empty all trashcans.

Next, set the mood. You want buyers to be able to picture your home as their own. Consider rearranging the furniture so that rooms look more spacious. Add accessories from rooms with too many furnishings to those that appear bare. Look at your countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms and the tops of your bureaus. Do they seem cluttered? Clear away and store as much as possible. The idea is to make your home appear spacious.

Lighting is also an important factor in creating an inviting atmosphere. Bright lights provide a cheerful environment and make a small space appear larger. Pull back all the drapes and open the blinds. Turn on all the lights. Make sure all the light sockets have working bulbs and install the maximum-wattage bulb that is safe for that fixture. For rooms that you want to have a warm, cozy feeling, use softer lights.

Don't forget little touches such as fresh flowers, lighted candles in the bathrooms, new logs in the fireplace, or a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter. You may even want to set your dining room table with color-coordinated table settings.

An Open House is a terrific way to show your property to many people in a short amount of time. However, keep in mind that buyers may see seven or eight homes in a single day. The most memorable home will be the one that seemed the brightest, the most spacious and the most cheerful. So, don't rely on buyers to use their imagination. Help them capture it. Work with your real estate professional to get more tips on creating an unforgettable home.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com

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