How do I set up an open home?

Wednesday 11 Mar 2020

I am often asked how I should prepare my home for the open house. How far should I go. To me there are some simple rules and one overriding philosophy.

We all know the importance of a good first impression and that you only get one chance to create one. The first rule of setting up an open home is always to keep that in the back of your mind . These simple rules will help you, but we have assumed you have the home already in good repair and that paint work is in good condition.

Clean the home

This means front to back top to bottom inside and out. It also means the shed and the garage. I know how obvious this sounds but over my career you would not believe how many times this advice has been ignored. All surfaces should be clean and that includes windows and any glass pool fencing. Make sure all appliances are clean, remember your buyer is buying them as well and will inspect them. Make sure everything is put away an old saying “everything should have its place, and everything should be in its place”. It’s a great rule for open homes. No shoes around entrances, no dishes draining on the sink.

Create an internal environment

If you are selling in the hot season, make sure the air-conditioning has been running and ceiling fans are on. Obviously, the reverse if it is cold. Ask you agent if they bring some background music or if they would like you to run the stereo. This should make any visitors at least comfortable and they will take time to look at your homes features.

What about pets

This can be a difficult subject. Pet smells and hair put many buyers off and many pet owners cannot smell the odour their pet leaves in the home. This is a time when you must ask your agent if there is an odour. This must be dealt with and is not always inside it can often be on the veranda or where your family pet sleeps. Most of us love our pets but many do not want them inside.

Give your home a vibe

Now this is the fun part. Declutter, decorate, flowers and welcoming aromas. All of these help form a good impression. Talk to your agent or hire a professional but address the issue. Check to see if you have too much furniture, to many nick knacks. Use throws to liven up furniture, do you have any artwork on the walls and definitely put out flowers. I have had owners brew coffee and even cook bread to create that homely feel in the home.

Brighten the home

We have already talked about the importance of having clean windows but pull the curtains back and in the bathrooms turn on the lights. A bright sunny home is a happy feel and one that will appeal.


I have been asked by many owners about security. I have never had anything stolen from an open home and I have never heard of any of my team having something stolen. My advice is if you have anything small that is valuable or precious put it away. It is also a good idea to make sure your home is safe. Make sure there are no wet areas that a buyer will slip on while visiting or there are low hanging branches over walkways.

The garden

Yes, this is important. If your property has a garden then make sure it is tidy, healthy and lawns are cut. Make sure hoses are put away and pay special attention to the front, this is part of the first impression. If you are selling a unit and the complex is not presented well contact your body corporate and advise them of the issue needing attention.

We call it saleability

All of what I have mentioned helps to create a good environment in the home and add to its saleability. I have been selling property for many years and there is one word I love to hear from buyers walking through a home- “feel”. Buyers can find their physical needs, like number of bedrooms, in most of the homes they inspect but when the say “this feels good” I know we will go to the next phase of negotiation.


This is sometimes hard for owners, but it is an essential part of the marketing. You need to hear feedback from buyers from your agent. This means your agent must have open and frank conversations with the buyers in the open home. This will not happen if the buyer feels that the owner is in the home. Most buyers will not mention negatives if they feel it will offend. This means that your agent can never hear the truth and can not deal with the issue. Best to go for a walk while the open is being done.

David Forrest - Managing Director