Once your property appears in the Northeast Florida listings it’s time to prepare for the all-important initial open house. Whether it’s really “all-important” (or just very important) is a matter for debate—you can’t really pin down exactly how important the initial open house is because some of its effect isn’t immediately measurable. Word-of-mouth takes time to spread—and sometimes prospective buyers take weeks or months of comparison shopping before they return to a property that made a lasting impression.
Less subject to speculation is that a Northeast Florida open house will expose your home to an array of interested consumers. The impression it makes will produce an impact that’s literally multiples of what any single showing can accomplish. More bang for the same amount of work.
In addition to the scouring and neatening (and, of course, de-cluttering) that are always prescribed, here are some preparation details less frequently cited:
- Sightlines. Walk through the house following a route likely to be chosen by your prospects. Starting at the front entryway and at every threshold, stop and take a look around. Are pieces of furniture or other articles preventing an otherwise clear view into adjoining areas? Can they be moved (or removed entirely) to open the sightlines? If they can, you’ll see how much larger, open, and inviting the interior spaces become.
- Flooring. It may seem as if what’s underfoot isn’t all that important, but that can be deceptive. Homeowners get used to their house, and floors are easy to overlook. To first time open house visitors, the floors often have a much greater subliminal impact on how new or refreshed the property seems. The solution is straightforward: give wood floors a fresh wax; clean tiles until they shine; and where carpets show furniture-foot divots, place an ice cube in the indentation—after it melts, use a stiff brush to gently scrub the pile back into place.
- Closets. You can’t totally empty out the closets, of course, but you can remove to storage everything that’s out of season. Serious buyers have an uncanny knack of finding and opening the closets that are most overstuffed (and the ‘shriek’ part of peek-and-shriek is worth avoiding).
- Dampness. If some areas like the laundry or basement are moister than you’d like, an inexpensive plug-in dehumidifier can usually solve the problem.
- Aromas. The old stand-by is still true: baking a batch of cookies right before the doors open creates an inviting aromatic (as well as a well-appreciated giveaway for the kitchen table). Air fresheners or candles in other parts of the house can also work—as long as they aren’t too obtrusive. Overdoing with strong perfumy scents can turn be a red flag that makes visitors wonder what’s being covered up.
- Then… Once everything is ready to go, do another unhurried walk-through. With fresh eyes you’ll see a few last items to clear away, some curtains to be opened a bit wider to add light, another lamp to be turned on. The extra walk-through is what your open house visitors will soon experience. Why not take the first tour yourself!
Fall weather makes it a wonderful season for a Northeast Florida open house. If you’re on the cusp about listing now or in the spring, do consider taking advantage of the season. And once you’ve decided, call me to get going!