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7 steps to prepare for an open house inspection

Profile photo of Johanna Seton
Written by

Johanna is one of the co-CEOs of OpenAgent. She has over 8 years of experience in the real estate industry through her work at OpenAgent and holds a class 2 real estate license in NSW. Previously, Johanna worked at hipages.com.au, Australia's largest trade marketplace, where she built her experience understanding renovations and home improvements for 7+ years.

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The way we live our lives is very personal and unique to us, and that includes how we live in our homes. What may seem completely normal and natural to you may seem out of the ordinary – or even strange – to someone else. So, if you’re about to market your home for sale, it is important to get it ready for viewings.

It is quite widely recognised that staging can add significant value to your final sale price. There are even some specialist firms who will take care of this on your behalf.

A simple consultation can cost as little as $200, and a full staging service can set you back between $1,500 and $6,000 – depending on the size of your home and the service you select.  While this may sound like an unnecessary expense, it's not altogether fanciful that this outlay might just pay dividends come sale time.

Clear the clutter

Buyers can be fickle creatures, and even some superficial clutter or mess can taint their view of your property. Remove anything that's not required for daily living, and store it in an appropriate place.

Old magazines, books, bags, mail and anything that interferes with the look of your home should be stored out of view so that your buyers are free to visualise their own belongings in the property.

Make sure first impressions count

First impressions are vital when opening up your home for viewings. What buyers see from the moment they first set eyes on your property will have an impact on their overall impression, so it's vital to make first impressions count from the moment they enter the street.

Tidying up the garden and attending to any external repairs are essential tasks; for the best results don’t be afraid of investing in some flowers, shrubbery and landscaping to really capture the imagination of visitors.

Walk through your property

It's always a good idea to walk through your property for an inspection from the point of view of buyers. Your estate agent should work with you to ensure your property is clean, uncluttered and inviting.

Remove any items that make rooms appear smaller, but take care not to make your home look empty. Will your buyers be impressed by what they see? It's important to be objective when conducting a walk-round. Remember, you are trying to appeal to the broadest range of tastes – not just your own.

Keep your home versatile

If you have any particularly distinctive, niche items of furniture, it may be a good idea to replace them with something a little more neutral. Where you have very vivid, bright wall-coverings, consider something that will blend into the background.

Utilise space effectively

Dark tones can actually make rooms appear smaller, so a quick lick of paint could pay dividends. Try to avoid the temptation of pushing furniture outwards and against walls. ‘Floating’ furniture centrally can actually make a room appear more spacious.

It's also a good idea to ensure that large items of furniture are not blocking sight lines, and that floor rugs aren’t too big. If your rooms are particularly small, consider storing some of your furniture away until your property sells.

Make the best use of light

A dark home can be extremely off-putting to people who are viewing your property for the first time. Harnessing natural light wherever possible will make your rooms feel more spacious and alive, so remove unnecessary blinds, drapes and curtains where possible and replace dark window dressings with lighter versions to allow light to flow freely into the home.

The careful and considered use of floor and spot lamps can make rooms look bigger and fresher, but be careful to choose lights of at least 100 watts, as dim lighting can have the opposite effect.

Enlist expert guidance

While a staging expert could be a valuable investment, the first person you need to find is a great real estate agent with detailed, local knowledge. You will likely have a choice of hundreds in your area, but choosing the best one is far more complicated than simply choosing the cheapest.