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Real Estate Series: The Art of the Open House

For sellers, knowing how to prepare for an open house is one of the biggest determining factors for success. SHTLR’s real estate expert Tara Rodgers gives a detailed account of what to do to get open house-ready, and provides tips and tricks from a recent open house in Los Angeles. “Your first open house is typically the time where your property is going to get the most exposure,” explains Rodgers. “We want to ensure everything is perfect.”

Review Carefully

“We always encourage clients to clear any items that can make a space look messy or unorganized,” adds Rodgers. “This includes reviewing your closet, floor space, and all countertops.”

A decluttered office helps buyers envision a space. Photo by Pierre Galant.

Edit the Space

“Don’t forget to remove key personal belongings and design elements that are very specific as you want the property to relate to a variety of buyers,” says Rodgers. “If a client needs an alternative storage and organizing solution, we will coordinate that for them. We always have more items in our house that we even realize so this process can be overwhelming.”

A fully-prepped open house with living room designed by Alexis Manfer in Los Angeles. Photo by Pierre Galant.

Make an Effort

“The last thing we want our clients to worry about is cleaning their property for their guests,” says Rodgers. “It’s imperative that the home is crisp and clean. A house that feels worn immediately translates to a lack of care for a property.” 

Clean Up

“We love our cleaning crew and always provide them with our cleaning ‘hit list’ to tackle when clients do not have their owner resources,” explains Rodgers. “Here are a few key items not to miss: interior and exterior windows should be professionally cleaned; All floors, counters, cabinet fronts; and make sure white walls and baseboards look crisp and free of dirt and fingerprints.”

Make sure the bathroom tile and countertops are neat and tidy. Photo by Pierre Galant.

Start at the Front Door

“Your front door should be inviting, and if that means adding a fresh coat of paint before your big debut, go for it,” adds Rodgers. “Remove or hide all cords that are hanging beside your bed, in the kitchen, and in your office. This small detail goes a long way.”

Consider a fresh coat of paint and make the entrance inviting. Photo by Pierre Galant.

Every Space Counts

“A buyer is analyzing the potential and feel of a home from the moment they pull up to the property,” says Rodgers. “Your front yard [and backyard] should be in tip-top shape and excite your buyers to see more. This means removing any dying plants, replanting new landscaping to add color and a fresh look, cleaning any planter walls, and creating interesting spaces to relax and dine. In Southern California, your outdoor living spaces are equally as important, as your interior spaces.”

According to Rodgers, outdoor space is just as integral as interior space. Photo by Pierre Galant.

Think Like a Pro

“Fresh flowers, candles, and sophisticated light bites are fantastic ways to create a welcoming environment,” adds Rodgers. “If your property is being staged, designers will bring in low-maintenance plants or faux arrangements. I would encourage your agent to plate and present any food or beverages in the same way you would host a personal event. Presentation matters.”

Photo courtesy of Alexis Manfer

Know the Backstory

“Your agent should be armed with all key information about your property,” says Rodgers. “This includes the year it was built, history, any remodel work completed [repairs and improvements], and background regarding the neighborhood that only a local might have insight on.”

A bedroom with artwork and accent pillows designed by Alexis Manfer. Photo Courtesy of Alexis Manfer.

Pay Attention to Surroundings

“We always ensure that we have studied our client’s neighborhood from every angle,” explains Rodgers. “That way, when a buyer walks through the door, we are prepared to answer important questions related to the property but even more importantly to the neighborhood and what it has to offer. In addition, your agent should be able to discuss all recent activity and how your property relates to those sales. If you can educate your consumers, they will feel much more comfortable with your agent and their value. This will help the sale of your home in the long run as the buyers who write an offer on the property will have more confidence in the process.”

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