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8 Open House Mistakes to Avoid

I’ve been touring a few open houses on the weekends lately. It’s been an enlightening experience because the city where I currently live is a lot different from Atlanta, where I paid off my $86,000 mortgage in two years. It’s more expensive where I live now.

Having bought (and sold) two properties, I’ve grown to understand how the real estate market works. I strategically listed my condo in Atlanta in order to get a contract quickly. It sold in three days.

RELATED: Tour My Mortgage-Free Home

Going to these open houses has taught me a lot about why some properties sit on the market forever. It’s not because the homes are bad. It’s because they don’t show well. In some cases, they’re overpriced too.

Here are 8 open house mistakes you want to avoid:


Make sure the outside of your home is in good shape. You don’t want potential buyers to be turned off before they step foot inside. Once they get inside, give some attention to your foyer. Perhaps leave a vase of fresh flowers on a table.


If you’re selling your home, you need to find something to do during the open house. While you’re at it, take your pets too. It can be hard for a buyer to picture themselves in your home if you are still in it.


Believe it or not, the real estate agent didn’t even show up to one open house I went to last week. Instead, he assigned an intern to the job. The poor guy didn’t know much about the property, so he wasn’t able to answer my questions.


When people are touring your home, you want them to be able to imagine themselves living there. If all they see is trash, dust and dirty laundry– it’s going to make selling your place more difficult. I think it’s up to the seller’s agent to let their client know that the property is not clean enough to show. If you won’t clean it, hire someone.


You don’t want people to leave your home only remembering the bright orange bedroom or the neon basement, do you? Sure, it’s just paint. But if it’s so distracting, the buyer won’t see everything else your home has to offer.

Here are three neutral paint colors my real estate agent recommends. They are all from Sherwin Williams:

  • SW 7036 Accessible Beige
  • SW 6141 Softer Tan
  • SW 6106 Kilim Beige

RELATED: Sold! Timeline of My 3-Day Home Sale


Trash, smoke and pets are three of the smells you want to avoid. A good cleaning before the open house will probably take care of the issue. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also a good idea to remove your pets from the home for the open house.


Store away as many family photos as you can. Same goes for your rock or doll collection. You want the space to look inviting to as many people as possible.


At one open house, the real estate agent barely acknowledged me. I didn’t hear a word from her once she found out I already had an agent. If you’re going to hold an open house, your agent needs to have the personality to sell your space. That includes being knowledgeable about the property and the community surrounding it.


My other posts about real estate:

I also wrote this article for money expert Clark Howard: 9 Things to Ask Before Selling Your Home


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