Selling a home can be a difficult process, emotionally speaking. Particularly if it's somewhere you've lived for a long time. But ultimately your goal is to take the emotion out of it and make your home look as good as possible so that it appeals to as many people as possible. In order to do so there are a few things you'll want to do before your first open house.
Paint a Neutral Color
You may love bright, bold walls, but the fact is that most people don't.
And when it comes to selling a home you want to appeal to as many people as you possibly can. So even if you think your walls look great as is, it's in your best interest to cover them in a light neutral. Not only will a fresh coat of paint neutralize the space but it will look much cleaner.
Edit the Furniture
Unless you're a minimalist there's a good chance that you have a little too much furniture in your house - at least too much as far as open houses are concerned. When people come into an open house there should be just enough furniture to give them an idea of how it could be laid out, but not so much that the room looks crowded. It should look as open as airy as possible. So consider removing excess side tables, chairs and benches. It will look very empty to you, but to people coming in it will look bright and open.
Remove Some (But Not All) Personal Accessories
People should be able to picture themselves living in the home, so it's best to remove the majority of your personal accessories.
This could be anything from religious artifacts to sports memorabilia to overly personal family photos (ie - more than one house sale has been derailed by large-scale, nearly-nude pregnancy photos. Seriously.) That said, it is perfectly acceptable to leave a few generic family photos throughout the house.
It can be nice to give the house a sense of happiness and a few smiling family photos can do the trick. Just keep it to a minimum.
Everyone wants to move into a place that's nicer than their current home. So help them create the fantasy by making sure the place you're selling is absolutely spotless. This means clean the windows until they sparkle, polish the floors, dust the furniture, clean the upholstery and polish the silver. But don't forget about the less obvious places like the tops of the baseboards, around the door frames, and even the light switches and door knobs. A bright, clean space will make people feel good as soon as they come in the door.
Repair Any Damage
Sometimes in living rooms there are cracks in the walls or ceilings, or maybe the floors squeak a little bit. If this is the case in your home it's highly advisable that you fix it before an open house. Fill and paint over any cracks, and put some talcum powder in the floor boards where they squeak. And if any of your hardware is loose, tighten it. While you never want to mask legitimate problems, you do want to minimize minor issues.
Lighting plays a huge part in making a space feel welcoming.
Ideally you want to maximize natural light, so open the window treatments as far as they will go and if possible place a mirror directly across from the windows. The mirrors will reflect the natural light and make the space feel more open and airy. If this still doesn't feel like enough include some table or floor lamps in order to add more light. If possible try to get glass or crystal (if it suits the decor). The light will bounce of the surface and seem brighter than if it were another material.
A vase of fresh flowers does wonders for a room. And it doesn't have to be a big expensive bouquet. Even a small vase with a few pretty flowers can make a room feel inviting. Ideally something from a florist is best, but grocery store bouquets can also be pretty. Just remember to remove any of the generic ribbons, wrapping and fillers and put the flowers in a simple vase.
The finishing touch of any staged home is the inviting smell of something baking in the oven. It may seem silly but walking into a room and smelling fresh cookies or bread wafting in from the kitchen can make people feel welcome and comfortable.