Top 5 Tips for a Successful Open House

When a realtor phoned me to see if we were interested in selling our town home, I had no idea what was in store. It's taken me two months to realize just how much goes into selling a home. One huge lesson I learned? The ins and outs of a successful open house.

I'm a fan of alliteration. It's the english nerd in me. So here are my 5 Ls to preparing for and carrying out an open house.

Lather Carpet

Take a good long look at your carpet. YOU might know where each of those stains came from, but a prospective buyer doesn't. They're looking for a place to kick their shoes off and get comfy. The idea of traipsing around your dirty carpet in bare feet is a huge turnoff. Spring for a good, professional carpet cleaning.

The picture on the left is from our actual online listing. I'm so embarrassed that stain is on display, but I made sure that it along with it's cohorts throughout my home were eradicated. If you're in Utah, I wholeheartedly recommend EcoCarpet Cleaning Service. They were kind enough to come out of their typical service area to save my stain-plagued living room carpet.

When we've cleaned our carpet in the past, our stains have never truly left. The residue left from the cleaner would attract dirt right back to the area. With EcoCarpet, that wasn't a problem. The cleaning solutions they use are natural, with no harsh chemicals and NO RESIDUE. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Lingering Scent

Prior to our open house, I asked my new-home-owner friends what scents attracted them in home showings. The answers were all the same: Clean. So I threw out the idea of baking chocolate chip cookies and focused on simple ways to make my home smell fresh without making it feel stark and sanitary. Clorox Wipes to the rescue!

To infuse your home with a clean scent, run a Clorox wipe over every surface you can think of. Countertops, bookshelves, dressers, even the walls. Do this in every room and prospective buyers will NOT notice a smell, which is exactly what you want them to notice.

Less Personal

The person walking through your house is looking for their home, not yours. What does that mean? Well, as much as you love your children, they don't come with the house. So put away their crayon drawings, store your husband's prized baseball trophy, and depersonalize.

This is about as personal as you should get. This image of Idaho sits atop my dresser while Washington sits on my husband's. No names. No family photos. Buyers want to picture themselves moving right in. In order to create a hotel-like atmosphere that is both beautiful and welcoming, your going to have to remove some of yourself from the equation.


Buyers love light, bright homes. So day or night, turn the lights on in every room. If you have blinds, open the slats halfway. Dim rooms are depressing and give the impression you're hiding something. Keep things bright and airy to make people feel at ease.

Last, but not least…


My goodness, it's strange to be home when people come to walk through. To avoid any awkward run-ins, leave 15-20 minutes before the open house. If you're not using a realtor, think about asking a friend to stay and answer prospective buyers' questions. They're not as sentimental and attached, so it feels more professional.

There you have it! The 5 Ls of a successful open house. Lather carpet, lingering scent, less personal, light, and leave. Simple steps to turn your house in to someone else's home.

Have you held an open house before? What made your's successful?