9 Things Sellers Should Never Leave out at an Open House

Your house is clean, staged and ready to host the open house (or showing). You’ve hidden all the cash and valuables, of course, but is there anything more you can do to protect yourself while potential buyers parade through your home? The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says yes and offers these tips on the nine items you will want to secure, hide or remove prior to the open house.

  1. Mail, private documents and passwords

That list of passwords taped next to the computer? Take it down. Secure your mail, bank statements and all sensitive paperwork in a place no one can root through or take a photo of while visiting.

  1. Ashtrays

The article says even the suggestion people light up in the home may be enough to make them move on to the next property. Smoking homes are traditionally more difficult to sell.

  1. Plug-in air fresheners

Avoid air fresheners all together. The smell is often overwhelming and people can be very sensitive to smell. The same goes for cleaning with smelly cleaners before the open house. Going for a natural, feel-good smell will help set the mood for your potential buyers. My personal favorite hack? Pop a tray of chocolate chip cookies in the oven 10 minutes before the doors open. Nothing says “home” like freshly baking cookies, yum!

  1. Fans or space heaters

Not only do these items take up space but they can also make the buyer wonder if the heating system or insulation is adequate. And fans may give the impression the house gets too hot.

  1. Pets and their stuff

Fido and Mittens will have to be removed from the house for the open house and you’ll want to remove all evidence of your furry friend. Give the place a thorough dust and vacuum beforehand as well to make sure your visitors don’t leave with furry feet.

  1. Prescription drugs

This is an important one as the article points out that “thieves are more likely to steal valuable medication than wander off with a piece of jewelry, so don’t make it easy for them to find any. That means clearing out the medicine cabinet, your night table drawer and your kitchen cupboard, if you usually store meds there.”

  1. Fridge magnets and family photos

Removing personal items helps the buyer envision themselves in the space. CREA also suggests removing items that might make clients uncomfortable such as toothbrushes, shower sponges, hygiene items and dirty laundry.

  1. Valuable paintings, sculptures or heirlooms

Keep all expensive items, big and small, hidden and properly secured for the open house. A thief may not take a larger item during their visit but may come back for an easy score.

  1. Your keys and remotes

Closed tied to the above, extra keys and garage door openers out and about are an invitation to come back for the car. Take them with you or keep them locked up to be safe.

Along with bringing my infamous chocolate chip cookies, I’ll take a walk around the house and secure anything I think might draw unwanted attention…then its cookies in the oven so we can get ready to bake up a sale. Visit me on Facebook and Google!