Avoid common faux pas during an open house

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February 15, 2012

An open house is a chance for homeowners to show off their home and boost bids from potential buyers. Real estate agents can help owners avoid common mistakes which can hurt their chances of selling their home. Preparation is the key to selling a home and most real estate agents agree that first impressions can make or break a sale.

"You have a very little amount of time for the buyers to love your home," Patty Da Silva, who owns a Florida real estate company, told Bankrate.com. "If your house doesn't look good at get-go, they turn around and leave."

Make sure the home is spotless

Cleanliness and space are the first two characteristics potential buyers notice, so it's crucial to make sure the home is clean from top to bottom. In addition, make sure floors, counters and walls are scrubbed and clean, furniture should be orderly, beds should be made and no clutter, dirty laundry or paperwork should be out in the open. When home buyers see a dirty and cluttered house, this may be the only image they are left with when they leave, according to Bankrate.com.

In addition, homeowners with pets should make sure no lingering smells permeate through the home. For example, cat litter boxes can add an unpleasant smell to a room and make it less appealing to potential buyers.

Leave the home during the open house

Homeowners may be tempted to stay for the open house and explain the 
characteristics of the house that they love or show buyers around, but this creates unnecessary pressure on visitors. Real estate agents may be more experienced to answer buyer questions and potential buyers are likely to be more open and provide more feedback about the home if dealing with a professional, rather than a homeowner. For this reason, sellers should always make themselves scarce during the showing of their home. The same is true for children and animals, which may also pose a distraction to visitors, the website reports.

Store all personal details

Homeowners may adore political photography or religious objects in their home, but the goal of an open house is to attract buyers, so it's most effective to keep home decor as neutral as possible. This includes all types of sentimentality, including family photos and objects as well.