Tips on Preparing your Home for Open House


Every seller wants their home to sell quickly and bring top dollar. While there are some factors you can’t control, like neighborhood popularity and market fluctuations, you can help your house put on its best face for showings and open houses. If you want to sell your home, here are some tips that will help you prepare your house and turn it into an irresistible home.

Before any physical preparations, you first need to prepare yourself emotionally. Begin to disassociate yourself, and decide to let go of your attachments to the home. From now on, this is a house you really want to sell, not your own beloved home.

It’s important that potential buyers can imagine calling your house “home,” too. Make it easier for them by de-personalizing the space. Remove personal photos and family heirlooms. Buyers should be allowed to connect with the space, and to imagine displaying their own photos and artifacts. You want buyers to think, “I could see myself living here.”

It’s no surprise that you’ll want a tidy house for a showing, but what about those hidden areas of the home? Buyers need to look everywhere; they will open cupboards and peer into closets. So, make sure storage areas are organized, and that coats hang neatly in hall closets. Stack dishes and re-arrange kitchen drawers. Tidy other stored items, like books, games or CD’s. Bathrooms and kitchens should be especially clean, with counters clear of miscellaneous personal items and knick-knacks. Don’t forget the outside of the home. Give your house curb appeal by trimming the lawn, sweeping the front walk, and artfully arranging outdoor furniture.

Now is the time to take care of those bothersome little repairs you’ve been putting off for years. Buyers will notice the flaws that you’ve grown accustomed to. From replacing light bulbs, to cleaning scuff marks off walls, to replacing missing tiles in the bathroom, or fixing the broken screen door, take care to repair all the minor problems with the house before the open house.

While you may have long determined which aspects of your home you love, having a fresh set of eyes scrutinize its best features is a smart idea. If you want to sell your home, take the time to walk through it methodically with your agent. Together you can point out which features of the home should be accentuated…and which elements should be downplayed. Does your home have a wonderful view? Draw attention to it by sprucing up window treatments and arranging furniture to draw the eye toward the windows. Is the kitchen small and cramped? Make the most of it by lighting the space well, clearing counters of debris and displaying a vase of fresh flowers.

If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you when you sell your home, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer he can’t have an item, he will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

Finally, when it comes time for the open house, try to avoid being home. Not only does it make buyers uncomfortable, but it can interfere with your the sales process. Whether you head to the office or just out for a walk with the dog, you can rest assured that in your absence, your house will look enticing to its new owners!

For more information about preparing your home for sale or if you are looking to buy, contact Michele Muir White at 808.298.8448, email:

Maui August Real Estate Stats

There were 66 homes sold in the month of August at a median price of $461,500. This compares to 53 homes sold in August of 2009 at a median of $500,000. This represents almost a 25% increase in sales volume when comparing the last two months of August.

There were 81 condos sold in August of 2010 at a median price of $310,000. This compares to 66 in the same month of 2009 at a median price of $371,250. This translates to an almost 23% increase in volume when comparing this year to the same time last year.

There were 7 land transactions in Maui County last month at a median price of $387,500. This compares to 3 sales at a median of $999,990 in August of 2008. This reflects a 133% increase in sales volume.

This month’s sales included the greatest percentage of REO and Short Sale transactions to date. 36 REO closes and 30 short sale transactions on the month. Of the 66 homes sold, 31 were bank owned or short sales. That translates to 47% of the home transactions. 22 home sales or 33% were REOs. 81 condos sold, 33 of which were REOs or short sales. That translates to just under 41% of the transactions. Two of the seven land sales were REOs, which reflects 29% of the land transactions.

We are starting to see more short sale activity at higher price points in the market with 44% of the home short sales priced over $700,000. We are also seeing an increase in short sale closes. That is good news for the large number of short sale transactions that are waiting for bank approval. Sellers should choose the best short sale purchase contract and submit that one contract to the bank.  Hence more lien holder acceptances.

August statistics are hardly robust, but they do reflect improvement over both last year and last month.

Maui outperformed national numbers last month. The optimistic point of view is that Maui’s market may be in better overall condition. Maui has seen improvements in the local economy driven by some resurgence in tourism and remains a very desirable location especially as a resort/second home community.

While the uptick in home and condo numbers over last year and last month can be attributed in part to increased REO and Short Sale transactions, we are also continuing to see more interest in the luxury markets of Maui. There were a total of 11 condo and home sales over $1,500,000. That includes 1 home and three condos priced over $5,000,000.  Maui remains desirable for affluent buyers seeking premier properties.

My message remains the same for buyers and sellers. Buyers are going to continue to find opportunities on the market well below peak market prices. That being said buyers need to be prepared and pre-qualified as many of the better priced and better quality properties are generating multiple offers. Sellers should take particular note of the competition posed by the foreclosure listings on the market. Properties should be priced at or below recent comparable sales to better their chance at a sale.  Contact Michele Muir White with any questions or for expert assistance in buying or selling a home.