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Organizing an Open House Checklist

An easy-to-follow itinerary for preparing to show your house.

Click here to download the PDF file

2 Weeks Before

  • Reserve a trusted cleaning service for the day before your open house.
  • If you’ve never used one before, have a trial cleaning to make sure you get someone you really like; then request that same person to clean for your open house.
  • Fix chipped paint spots (outside and inside).
  • Plant flowers.
  • Repaint bold walls with neutral colors.
  • Unclutter closets and bookshelves.
  • Secure a storage facility with an open unit (or your parents’ basement).
  • Make plans for pets to be away starting 24 hours before open house.
  • Have rugs cleaned and floors polished.

1 Week Before 

  • Trim hedges.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Move excess furniture, appliances, books, clothes, and canned goods to the storage unit (basically, you want to make the house, closets, and cabinets look as spacious as possible).
  • Scrub the doors and deck.
  • Create handouts (or make sure your Realtor does) so visitors can take information about your house with them for reference.

2 Days Before 

  • Hide cords (even if it means unplugging electronics).
  • Hide traces of a pet or a smoker (air out your place as much as possible).
  • Lock up your valuables.
  • Verify cleaning service.

1 Day Before 

  • Check in on the cleaning service before they leave; make sure the house meets your standards.
  • Place handouts by the door.
  • Get a sign-in sheet ready so people can write down their names and contact info.


  • Open drapes and curtains to get maximum light.
  • Turn on lights in dark rooms.
  • Ensure temperature is comfortable throughout house.
  • Straighten up bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Create a nice scent by grinding coffee beans or by baking cinnamon rolls in the oven on low.
  • Turn on soothing music at a low volume.
  • Leave the house (if you have a Realtor).

>> Get more real estate tips from the experts

-- The Nest Editors

See More: Buying a Home , Real Estate , Real Estate Q&A