HEADER_Front door with wreathsAn open house, when you think about it, is a lot like a first date. It’s your chance to make a killer first impression on potential buyers – get them thinking about what it would be like to make breakfast in your kitchen, have friends over for game nights in the living room, and relax in the backyard. First impressions are key when it comes to selling a home. Buyers will be sizing up everything from kitchen appliances to wall color and window treatments, so you want to be ready!

We know few people’s houses are in tip-top shape, so Redfin and The Maids came together to bring you these cleaning tips and easy, low-budget upgrades to get it there.

1. Clean and Organize

The kitchen and bathroom are two areas of your home that should be spotless for your open house. Make sure countertops are wiped down, as well as appliances. Clean grout between tiles and polish all the fixtures. If necessary, do a little re-caulking. Make sure there is absolutely no mold anywhere.

Anything that’s making the home feel cluttered should be stored for the open house. You want the space to feel organized and clean. Organizing makes the house feel bigger and also makes your life easier when it comes time to move out.

2. Focus on the Floors

Make sure all the carpets are steam cleaned, tile is mopped, and hardwood floors are polished. The floors, walls, and ceilings are usually where buyers look first.

3. Lighten It Up

Wash the windows and clean all the curtains and blinds. You’ll want to let some nice, natural light in on the day of your showing. Replace light bulbs and dust light fixtures, too.

4. Make Sure the House Smells Great

Clean out your refrigerator and take out your trash the night before your open house. You want it to have a fresh, clean smell when guests walk in. Try some lightly scented candles, but nothing too overwhelming.

5. Apply Fresh Coats of Exterior and Interior Paint

A slick new coat of exterior paint can dramatically improve the look of your home. Take a look at what your neighbors are doing, and try to choose a color that compliments the homes around you. Neutrals are always a safe bet.

For the interior paint, make sure to choose colors that will appeal to a wide audience of people and easily match a variety of furniture.

6. Give Your Entrance a Polished Update

The entrance to your home should be welcoming and beautiful. One of the easiest things you can do is paint your front door. Opt for an eye-grabbing color like red, or keep it simple with a sleek neutral. If you have shutters, choose a matching or complimentary color.

Clean and polish your door knob and fixtures, or consider buying some new hardware.

Wreaths and new house numbers are a great way to add some flair to your entrance. Make your own or purchase some new ones from your local home store.

7. Tidy up Your Yard

Landscaping is another huge factor in curb appeal. Make sure your lawn is nicely mowed, bushes are trimmed, and weeds are pulled. Add some flowerbeds for little eye-catching pops of color.

8. Splurge for a New Mailbox

It will cost you a little money, but your mailbox is often the first thing people see when they pull up to your house. If yours is worn, or needs a modern makeover, check out your local hardware store to see what they have.

9. Stage the Backyard

The backyard is where entertaining usually happens, so you want the space to feel welcoming. Add some seating areas, and make sure the deck or porch is hosed down. Outdoor lanterns and string lights add ambiance. If you have extra in your budget to play with, consider adding a fire pit, BBQ, or fish pond. The backyard is usually the last stop on an open house tour, so you want their final memory to be a good one.

Once the outside of your home is looking its finest, you can move to the interior to make some additional upgrades.

10. Say Goodbye to Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are so 30 years ago. Who wants a ceiling that resembles cottage cheese, anyway? If you’re selling an older home with a popcorn ceiling, you should seriously consider an upgrade. But you’ll want to be careful. Early popcorn ceilings (pre-1978) contained asbestos and can be dangerous if disturbed. It’s best to call a licensed professional who can test a sample before making any renovations yourself.

11. Add Colorful Décor and Art

There are so many ways to brighten your home with pops of color. Pillows, vases, rugs, and wall art can all add personality to an otherwise bland space. Get creative!

About Mia Simon
Mia is a Bay Area native who graduated with a bachelor’s degree and juris doctor degree from University of California-Berkeley. She began her career as an associate with a large international law firm. After practicing law for a few years, she made the leap to real estate broker. Mia is currently an area manager with Redfin, helping her teams and clients navigate the fierce real estate market in Silicon Valley. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with Ruby, her English bulldog, making green smoothies, and drinking Philz coffee.

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