Put Your Best Foot Forward
An open house is an opportunity to formally present your home to buyers. With so many digital tools available to help sell your home, some may question the value of open houses. But they’re still common in most areas, and odds are that if you’re planning on selling, an open house is probably in your future. First, however, you’ll need to take a critical look at your home, address any issues that could negatively affect its marketability, and accept the fact that there are many problems home staging can’t hide. Even after your house is finally ready for its close-up, attention to detail and a few little touches can make all the difference. That’s why you should have these 10 items on hand to get your home ready for an open house.
“Clean houses signify that buyers are starting fresh when moving into a hygienic, well-maintained property,” says Yorgos Tsibiridis, a broker at Compass in East Hampton, New York. He notes that clean houses also fetch higher prices, so you’ll definitely want to subject yours to a thorough cleaning before an open house. But what if you don’t have the time to do it?
No worries! With the yeedi K650 Robot Vacuum, you can schedule a cleaning time (say, an hour before the open house) from your smartphone and even use Alexa voice control. The robot has three adjustable suction levels to effectively vacuum your carpets and sweep your hard floors. Smart sensors prevent the vacuum from falling down stairs, and the tangle-free brush makes it easy to eliminate trapped hair, which means that this is one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair. If you have a large home, the XXL dustbin and the 130-minute runtime—combined with automatic charging—ensure that the robot won’t stop in the middle of a job. Available on Amazon .
Robot Vacuum With Mopping Feature
If you’re willing to spend a bit more on a robot vacuum, you can get one with extra features that will make prepping your home for an open house even easier. “A good vacuum will last you a lifetime, so don’t spare pennies, because if you buy a cheap vacuum, it will probably break,” warns Abe Navas, the general manager of Emily's Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. “You don’t have to get a professional-grade machine, but a nice one will be your life companion for cleaning,” he says.
The Kyvol Cybovac S31 Robot Vacuum and Mop will vacuum your carpets as well as vacuum and mop your hard floors. It runs for over 240 minutes, and when the battery is low, it will return to the base to recharge. Also, the robot automatically empties the dustbin into the dirt disposal bag, which can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris and dirt before the orange light flashes to let you know it’s time to empty the bag. You can program “no-go” areas for the robot to avoid, and set a schedule for cleaning zones via your smartphone, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The robot also has sensors to avoid bumping into obstacles or falling off edges. Available on Amazon .
Cordless Stick Vacuum With Attachments
Although a robot vac does a great job of cleaning your floors before an open house, sometimes you need quick and targeted cleaning of areas other than the floor. “Some people leave the hard-to-reach places uncleaned simply because they don’t have the tools to clean them,” Navas says. “You need tools that can reach anywhere, including tight and awkward spaces that are hard to get into.”
Enter the Shark Wandvac System Ultra-Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum, an ultra-slim vac that converts to a handheld and includes both a duster crevice tool and a pet multi-tool for those hard-to-reach areas. It features PowerFins technology to capture dirt deep in your carpet, and self-cleaning brush rolls so you don’t have to spend your precious time pulling hair out of them. This is also one of the best lightweight vacuums, and it’s so easy to maneuver. You can use it to clean in between sofa cushions and on top of counters and cabinets, and it’s also great for vacuuming curtains and blinds, vents and ceiling fans, and plenty of other often-neglected spots in your home. In addition, a one-touch hygienic dust cup release mechanism lets you keep your hands clean. When not in use, the vacuum and attachments can be stored on the charging station. Available on Amazon .
Air Purifier for Small Rooms
“Odor issues are more important than a lot of people realize,” says Bill Golden, real estate agent/associate broker at RE/MAX Around Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. And often, he says, the culprits are pet odors that the homeowners don’t notice because they’re accustomed to them. According to Golden, cigarette odors are another common offender. “When I go into a home with buyers and there is an unpleasant odor, they will not want to spend any time in the home.” In fact, his clients are likely to end the tour of a home before it even gets started if they notice bad smells.
An air purifier is an effective way to combat unpleasant odors. In a small space (around 200 square feet) the Bulex HEPA Air Purifier can remove 99.97 percent of airborne particles, including odors, smoke, pet dander, and pollen. The air cleaner uses a 4-stage HEPA filtration system, which includes a pre-filter, HEPA filter, activated carbon filter, and net filter. Its LED touch screen has a handy filter replacement reminder that comes on after approximately 2,000 hours of use. It offers four fan speeds and three timer settings so you can control when it turns off. At just 5.57 pounds and less than 14 inches tall, the compact device takes up little space and is easy to move from room to room. Available on Amazon .
Air Purifier for Large Rooms
“You may have invested in the best and most appropriate staging, but it won't overcome what your nose tells you,” Golden says. “Years ago, a Realtor told me, ‘If I can smell it, I can't sell it,’ and we laughed about the phrase, but letting odors ruin the sale of your home is no laughing matter.”
To clean the air in a larger space (approximately 300 square feet), consider the Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier for Large Rooms. Its 3-stage filtration process includes a pre-filter made of fabric, an activated carbon filter, and a HEPA filter. Because the filters are in the front and any excess cord in the back can be stored in the machine, the air purifier can be placed flush against the wall. The CirQulate System provides air quality display indicators (good, moderate, poor) and is designed to automatically increase fan speed as air quality decreases. This air purifier can capture odors, smoke, VOCs, dust, pollen, and dander. In fact, it’s one of the best air purifiers for pet owners. A single touch-point powers it on and off, controls the fan speed, and resets the filter. The stylish device weighs 19.2 pounds and is 24 inches high and 14.5 inches wide. Available on Amazon .
“Your home needs to make a great first impression, and that is all about curb appeal,” explains Kevin Sneddon, founder of The Private Client Team at Compass in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. You want potential buyers to visually connect with your home and be drawn to it because they consider it to be idyllic. “If people don’t like the exterior appearance of a home, they won’t be interested in what’s inside. When it comes to curb appeal, people do judge a book by its cover.”
That’s why you need to keep your yard and walkways free of leaves and other debris when your house is on the market. And during the winter, you need a clear path through the snow so buyers can safely reach your home. The SnapFresh Cordless Leaf Blower has got you covered on both counts: The battery-powered tool has a copper motor and two speeds, 60 mph and 130 mph. Its ultra-light body (2.7 pounds) makes it easy to use, and a flexible rubber grip prevents your hand from slipping. A two-section blowing tube adjusts for various functions (blowing leaves, grass, debris, snow, and so on) and accommodates users of all heights. The 20-volt battery lasts anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes, depending on which speed you use, and it recharges in an hour. Available on Amazon .
A Well-Made Bed
“Bedrooms don't have major appliances and cabinetry and fixtures, but their ethereal nature can appeal to that side of a buyer's personality—which is the part that allows them—or drives them—to pay more,” says Lindsay Barton Barrett, a broker at Douglas Elliman in Brooklyn, New York. “So, if you can tug at heartstrings, make people feel peaceful, that may be one of the most primal ways they fall in love with the property.”
Help potential buyers feel the love by enticing them with a well-made bed. For the best sheets for a cozy bed that won’t break the bank, consider a set of Mellanni Brushed Microfiber 1800 Sheets. The four-piece set resists wrinkles, fading, and stains, and even comes in deep-pocket sizes. There are dozens of colors, including white, coral, baby blue, and gold, and also patterns including Polka Dot Navy, Chevron Gray, Pinstripe Gray, and Quatrefoil Black. If you’re holding an open house during the winter, a Mellanni Faux Fur Sherpa Duvet Cover/Shams Set will make your bedroom look even cozier. Available on Amazon .
Portable Speaker to Play Soft Music
Music at an open house can be soothing, but according to Vickey Barron, a broker at Compass in New York City, it’s important to remember your target audience. “For example, if you have a historical home, you may want to play classical music, like Mozart,” she says. “However, you may have a different selection of music if you are in a cool walk-up artsy loft.”
Whatever genre you choose, the music will sound great coming out of the Beats Pill+ Portable Wireless Stereo Speaker, which has a 12-hour battery life. It’s compatible with iOS and Android as well as Siri and other voice assistants, and it can also be connected to a non-Bluetooth device using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. Although the speaker delivers dynamic sound, it is small and unobtrusive at 12.4 by 22 by 8.2 inches and weighs in at a mere 1.28 pounds. Available in black, red, or white, this is one classy speaker that will look good in any room. Available on Amazon .
Auto iQ Coffee Maker
To set a welcoming mood for your open house, consider leaving a pot of hot coffee for potential buyers. The Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System Auto-IQ Tea and Coffee Maker allows you to brew five coffee variations: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, or specialty. You can also brew the same five tea styles. The 50-ounce, 10-cup coffee maker includes a fold-away hot and cold milk frother for matcha tea lattes, cappuccinos, and other special coffee and tea drinks.
A programmable delay brew means that even though you’re not at home, you can set the machine to start brewing moments before potential buyers arrive. And if they’re running behind schedule, the thermal carafe will keep the coffee hot. Available on Amazon .
Keyless Entry Door Lock
Realtors are accustomed to using lockboxes, but you may feel more comfortable with the Securam Touch Smart Lock Deadbolt Keyless Entry Door Lock, which features four modes of entry. For an open house, the most desirable options would probably be touchpad codes (up to 30) or remote control via the Securam app. You and your family, however, might prefer one-touch access using fingerprint recognition or physical keys. While the door lock is advanced, it can be installed in just a few minutes, using a screwdriver to replace your deadbolt. It uses two batteries, with a projected battery life of 12 months, and has a low-battery warning light. Available on Amazon .
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