How to Get Your Home Ready for an Open House on a Budget

Open House sign in front of house for sale

By Guest Blogger Jackie Waters

Having an open house when you’re selling your home is a tried and true way to spark interest in your property. It not only allows potential buyers to take a quick look, but it also gives you a chance to enjoy feedback from visitors, including buyers and real estate agents. Fortunately, staging your home on your own to appeal to the masses does not have to be expensive, and you can do it no matter how much clutter has accumulated.

Get to Know Your Clutter Personality

Preparing to move is your motivation but getting to know your clutter personality helps with your home’s organization, which will help you decide what’s important to take to your new home. You might believe that every little object will come in handy someday or have grand plans to organize — just maybe not right now. Once you know why you keep things, it will be that much easier to let go.

Get Rid of One Thing Every Day

Aesop said it best: Slow and steady always wins. If you’re not on a short deadline to sell your current home, you don’t need try to tackle your clutter in a single day. Instead, find one thing you don’t need and say sayonara before the clock strikes midnight. Perhaps you have a cabinet or drawer that you seldom touch. If you haven’t needed something in there for over a year, you probably won’t miss it. Get a box or bag for items that can be donated and when it gets full, take it to a donation drop-off.

If it’s a sentimental item that no one else in the world will want, throw it away. If you want to have a visual reminder that doesn’t take up physical space, take a digital picture of it and then throw it away.

Pick a Category

Especially when you must declutter more quickly for an open house, taking one category of items at a time can help you get done faster. If you have kids, something you may have too many of is books. Books are treasures and a perfect category to pass along for others to enjoy. Kids Need to Read is a great place to donate books. Good Will or other thrift shops take books, and helps another young family build their own home library. You can also contact your local library or school system.

Get Good at Hiding Things

You can’t get rid of everything — that means that you will need to hide the belongings you wish to keep. Consider investing in an affordable, cute toy box for the kids’ rooms and under-bed storage for everywhere else. These new storage ideas will also help keep your new home more orderly.

Pay close attention to the kitchen, since that is one room your buyers won’t ignore. Buyers will look in the cabinets, drawers, and closets. Check expiration dates and throw out expired canned goods, etc. Giveaway good items that you have too many of or never use. For what remains, tidy up so the cabinets and drawers don’t look cluttered. Masterbrand Cabinets offers advice on how to install a Lazy Susan, which is an inexpensive and functional addition to even a small cabinet space.

Look at Other Listings

All is fair in love, war, and the real estate market. Nothing is stopping you from doing your own research by reviewing local home prices and visiting open houses in the area. Search for similar listings to see what homes are in your general price range and which have open houses in the weeks and months before yours goes live. Visit three or four properties to see how different sellers depersonalize and declutter their homes.

These visits can be a great way to find design and staging inspiration during. Alternatively, you can work with a pro to make the best out of your space. A quick online search will help you find local freelancer interior designers’ portfolios, reviews, costs, etc. Consider looking at on online job boards for a freelance interior designer for a more cost-effective and flexible virtual option (search terms “interior designer home staging”).

Clean, Clean, Clean

Before your showing, doing a deep clean will leave your home smelling fresh and looking pristine. Purchase essential, inexpensive cleaning supplies and clean everything from floor to ceiling — though you may want to splurge on a professional to scrub your carpet. Apply elbow grease as much as you’re able, going above and beyond day-to-day cleaning. The point is to eliminate offensive odors from pets or cigarettes. Make sure to keep your cabinetry’s exterior clean, as well — best foot forward and all that.

Make Your Home Someone Else’s

If you have lived in your home for any amount of time, it’s likely tailored specifically to you and your family. Everything from the furniture to the paint colors appeals to your lifestyle and personal tastes. But when you want to get the most money out of your investment, you have to look at it as an asset — a property you are making ready for another family. Consider removing family photos, trophies, and other personal touches before the open house.

You will also need to thin out the closet to showcase available storage space. The ultimate goal is to make the proverbial canvas clean and organized enough so buyers can imagine their belongings in the home.

Remember, a clean and organized home almost certainly means a broader pool of interested buyers followed by a faster closing. You don’t have to invest in a cleaning service or pay for storage fees, but you will need to downsize your lifestyle. If nothing else, consider this: Packing away personal items you plan to take with you declutters and saves you time later. Also, the more you give away, the less it will cost to move when the day comes.

Looking Forward

When looking for your next home, remember that location and size are the priorities. It doesn’t need to be perfect yet. That’s part of the enjoyment of a new house, you transform it into your home. If you want to change the paint colors, inside or outside, National Lumber and Babel’s have the Benjamin Moore paints and supplies you need. If you don’t like the kitchen, or need more built-in storage, the Kitchen Views design team is ready and willing to help you with renovations that will make this new house your perfect home.

Photos purchased from BIGSTOCK

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