How to Prep for an Open House

While your agent may be hosting your open house, it falls to you to make sure it looks the best it can. There are many things that can be overlooked, especially if you’re feeling rushed. You are more likely to sell with an open house, so it’s important to make the most of the event.

Have an Empty Canvas

You don’t want a potential buyer to go around the open house seeing your home. You want them to picture the house as their home. That means you want it as neutral as is possible. Eliminate personal effects, keep the color scheme simple and classic, and make sure your home not only smells good, but is clean. Most homeowners in State College, PA spend $95 - $165 to have their home professionally cleaned. A professional cleaning service will not only save you time, but they will have better equipment so make sure your house positively shines. Have some soft, relaxing music playing in the background to further encourage a soothing atmosphere.


Once you have cleaned and decluttered your home, you want it to look elegant. One of the ways to best stage your home is to make sure your accoutrements are new, clean, and look nice. Display new towels in the bathrooms, folded neatly or tied with a cord. Put a new table cloth on your dining room table, and set it with a full seating of your finest plates, cutlery, and glasses. If you leave out a set of kitchen utensils, make sure they look unused. Put fresh flowers in vases, or new silk ones from your local craft store. The beds should be made with fresh sheets and consider getting your duvet a new cover to make it appear as nice and clean as possible. Remember, keep your color scheme neutral.

Take Care of Your Garden

The first thing people will see at your open house is the outside. If you have a garden, make sure it is well manicured, the plants look healthy and trimmed, and that your walkway is clean and clear of obstructions. Invest in some new lawn furniture, and if you have a backyard, make sure that you've groomed that as well. If you don't have a lawn or a garden out front, make sure your sidewalk or walkway is scrubbed and looks nice, and consider adding a potted flower or two to give it color and life. Again, this is the first thing potential buyers will see, and you want it to look welcoming and pleasant.

Be Mindful of the Time

If you’re holding an open house on a Tuesday, mid-afternoon, you may discover that very few people turn up. Try to hold your open home when people won’t be working. Weekends are fantastic for this, but they are also competitive. When discussing what day you will hold the open house with your agent, keep in mind what your neighbors are up to. If they will be holding an open house soon, try to coordinate dates with them, as you may be able to double your traffic. When most people view an open house, they plan to go to more than one in a day.

Be Cautious

The scary part of holding an open house is letting strangers into your home, often unsupervised. If your agent isn’t asking for ID at the door, then take what precautions you can before the showing to make sure your things stay safe. Ask your agent to not allow guests to use the restroom, and make sure all your valuables are locked up and secured, including jewelry, medicine, electronic gadgets, or any sort of trinket precious to you.

If you plan well, you may dramatically increase the likelihood of selling your home. Open houses are important, but it’s easy to blend in with others. By making your home look as appealing and neutral as possible, you may stand out and leave an excellent impression upon a potential buyer.


Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.