The 2 Things Home Stagers Say Sellers Always Forget to Hide During Open Houses

published Apr 13, 2020
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An open house is a major step in the home selling process. It’s when sellers have the opportunity to show their house in the best possible light, ideally enticing would-be buyers. Of course, making the right impression is key. 

Generally, sellers seem to know the rules of what you should and should not do in order to effectively prepare for an open house, such as keeping things tidy and removing personal photos from the mantle. But home stagers say there are two things people often forget to stash away before opening their doors.

Toiletries and other bathroom items

“We often notice that home sellers forget to put away the toilet cleaning brush,” says Justin Riordan, founder of Space and Archer Design Agency in Portland. “It’s such a nasty looking object, especially if it belongs to somebody else. Even worse when it’s covered in filth and body hair.”

Rhonda Conchola, founder and creative director of Home Staging for Houston, echoes that sentiment. “All personal items in the bathroom such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair brushes, and makeup really need to be hidden during an open house,” she says. “It is also imperative that all floor mats in the bathroom be removed during an open house.” 

She suggests putting all of those items in a basket that can easily be tucked away under the sink, or in a nearby linen closet. 

A good rule of thumb? Try not to allow potential buyers to see what your morning ritual looks like, so they can visualize their own routine in the space.

Pet toys

Even if you think your pet is the best living thing to grace this planet, some people just aren’t into pets. And people who might not be into pets could very well be interested in purchasing your home. 

“Before an open house, I notice that homeowners forget to put away pet food bowls, dog beds, and pet toys,” says Susan Evans of The Omaha Home Staging Co. “I tell them, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ for pets is best for showings and open houses.”

Even animal-loving buyers may begin to wonder about the impact that pets have had on your home. After all, you never know if a pet has soiled the carpets or not been cleaned up after properly. Evans suggests pet owners put all pet-related items in a separate place for the open house, and air out the rooms where Fido spends the most time.

3 other open house tips from home stagers

Removing personal and pet items will vastly improve the appearance of your home during an open house, but there are a few other small things that you can do to improve the overall sellability, too. 

According to Evans, little details go a long way. “Adding a table centerpiece—such as a vase of flowers or a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table—gives the buyer’s eye something to rest on besides just the furniture,” she says.

Home stagers focus on lighting when trying to maximize the attractive features of a home. Riordan suggests sellers allow as much light into their home as possible. “Take down your window coverings, including the hardware,” he says. “Light sells houses. Let it in!”

Conchola nods to abundant artificial light, too. “Change all light bulbs to soft white LED bulbs,” she says. “It will make a huge difference during photography and showings.”