Selling a house is completely stressful from the get-go… dealing with the bank, realtors, agents, movers, family and more… but nothing compares to the day of your OPEN HOUSE. Believe me, this will be the longest day of your life. You may opt to just not attend; solid move. But if you’re hosting, prepare yourself for a day of smiling and nodding, awkwardly watching strangers poke through the home you’ve had stripped down and staged like a Barbie Dream House. While you stress-eat the cookies you’ve laid out, you’ll become bogged down with creeping doubts over the unfinished basement you never got to, the roof repairs you put off, and you’ll start to wonder if anyone will actually put an offer in anywhere near your asking price.
The purpose of an open house is to allow potential home buyers the chance to see themselves living there. Anyone with common sense knows they can easily paint the living room a different color, or change the curtains and furniture arrangement… but the REAL red flags are things like rusty, moldy, dirty and cracked siding, decks and driveways… dirty or inefficient windows… gutters hanging off the side of the house with mosquitoes breeding in them… you know, the stuff you have to PAY to fix. With dollar signs clouding their vision, this turns off potential homebuyers like nothing else. They want to envision themselves having their morning coffee, playing with their kids or enjoying a dinner party at the new home… they do NOT want to envision themselves moving in and inheriting a mess of expensive fix-ups.
Long gone are the days of de-cluttering your counter space, planting some new flowers and painting all the walls with a neutral eggshell… it’s just not enough anymore! For a complete and impressive home staging, one that really wows potential homebuyers, you need to take a step back and seriously think about what can be done quickly, cheaply and easily to give that house a chance. Curb appeal is EVERYTHING. Here we go:
1. CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS
Windows are the eyes to your home’s soul… I think that’s how the saying goes. An open house is meant to make a great impression on potential home buyers; they can’t enjoy your home’s view through a window covered in bird poop. While clean windows LOOK good, it’s also important to consider the long-term effects proper window maintenance can have on your home’s value. Regular cleanings are important because glass is a porous surface that when penetrated by dirt, sap and dust, can develop cracks and irreversible stains or clouding. Dirty, damaged windows are a major red flag to your open house guests and they’re immediately blinded by the threat of having to replace windows, which if you didn’t know, isn’t cheap. You might be thinking, “I don’t do windows.” Ok, so hire someone! Cleaning your own windows is an incredibly time consuming, difficult and dangerous chore. Climbing up and down a ladder all day with bulky equipment just to yield a so-so streaky result will make you want to scream into a pillow. Hiring a local team of trained, insured professionals will free up time to focus on the rest of your curb appeal to-do list. They’re in and out in a few hours, and it’s more affordable than you think.
2. PRESSURE WASH YOUR SIDING, PATIO, DECK AND/OR DRIVEWAY
The condition of your home’s siding, deck, patio and driveway are all under a microscope during an open house. A dingy, dirty, cracked, moldy home does NOT sell. As with window cleaning, regular pressure washing keeps your home’s vinyl, wood, concrete and brick surfaces not only looking good, but in great working condition. Allowing years of dirt, grease and grime to cake onto and penetrate these surfaces will surely lead to irreversible damage that prospective home buyers WILL notice. You may be thinking of renting a pressure washer to handle it yourself. “Why hire a professional?” you might ask. Many DIY enthusiasts will strip and dent their homes and decks this year with rental equipment in an attempt to go it alone and save money. Stick to what you know, and leave this type of work to professionals. Professional pressure washers are fully trained and equipped with the appropriate machines required for every job and every stain. Too much pressure or the wrong tools can cause damage, and too little pressure just makes everything wet, doing little to remove stains and dirt. Hiring a professional for your pressure washing service ensures a safe, thorough clean every time.
3. CLEAN THOSE GUTTERS
Too many homeowners ignore their gutters until there is a problem. They say that if you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated; similarly, by the time you notice that your gutters need to be cleaned, the damage has already begun to set in. If your home’s to-do list was a family, then gutter cleaning is the middle child. Often neglected, this “out of sight, out of mind” chore WILL rebel against you for ignoring it. When gutters are clogged, water finds the path of least resistance, which many times leads to irreversible damage when it seeps into the fascia board or foundation. A top concern of potential home buyers is water damage. A rotten, moldy, cracked house is EXPENSIVE to fix, and IMPOSSIBLE to sell. Stagnant water is also an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects, including wood-eating bugs! ALSO – gutters that resent your neglect will begin to distance themselves, literally! Gutter nails that expand and contract with the weather will end up pulling your gutters away from the home and can fall off bringing down siding, shingles and landscaping with it. A simple gutter re-securing service tacked onto a professional gutter clean-out is a cheap and easy way to avoid an insane amount of costly repairs that NO potential buyer wants to inherit.
So there you have it; three simple professional services that will do wonders to spruce up your home in preparation for an open house. Own a home, they said. It’ll be great, they said. Spare yourself the time and aggravation that comes along with manual DIY labor: do your research and hire a reputable and insured service provider and get that home sold! Have fun at the open house; don’t forget to smile and save some cookies for the guests.