Open House Checklist

By Kate Riley February 16, 2021

I was having coffee with Matt today and he was telling me about his work. He’s a real estate broker and appraiser with 30 years experience in the business, and has been working 10 hour days trying to keep up with his jobs and clients. An idea came to me…. I should pick his brain for all the things to check off when listing a home for sale and hosting an open house.

So he came up with this list off the top of his head and I typed up a handy checklist for you or anyone who is planning on selling your home anytime soon.

This list doesn’t include upgrades like remodeling kitchens and baths, fresh paint or new flooring. Those are all wonderful things that add value, this list is for homes that are being sold as-is. Lightly furnished or staged homes are ideal for an open house with minimal personal items on display.



Open House Checklist



Create welcoming entry (flowers/plants on porch)

Make sure doorbell works, also exterior lighting

Clean driveways (remove cars and oil stains)

Clear side yards of junk or clutter

Repair visible damage (cracks, broken shutters, etc.)

Clean exterior side of windows

Refresh landscaping: trim bushes, mow lawn, clear debris, add fresh bark


Lockup or remove valuables

Clear clutter, minimize personal items

Empty dishwasher and kitchen sink

Clear and clean all kitchen countertops

Wipe down kitchen appliances

Clean bathrooms, all surfaces

Clean interior windows and mirrors

Mop/sweep/vacuum floors

Clean out garage (empty is best)

Repair any visible damage to doors, walls, cabinets, trim

Smooth sliding doors + no broken or sticking interior doors

Check all lightbulbs: chandeliers and sconces

One Hour Before:

Open curtains and blinds for maximum natural light

Open windows for fresh air (weather permitting)

Take out kitchen and bathroom garbage

Turn lights on in dark rooms

Put toilet seats down

Make beds, close closet doors

Set thermostat to comfortable temperature

Display plants/flowers in a few spaces

Create nice smell in the home (fragrance or baked cookies)



For your use I created this single page PDF pictured below. It includes a few lines to personalize your own home’s needs before an open house.

Click on link below to download 1 page PDF:



Can you think of anything else? What are your suggestions to add to the list? Anything related to weather or location? Feel free to add your experience in the comments!





  1. Clean up pet waste in the yard.
    Coats and shoes should be put in closets.
    Remove items from refrigerator front and sides.
    Clean all window sills and door thresholds.
    Add a centerpiece of fruit or flowers to the kitchen / dining tables.

  2. Clean up and put away pet bowls etc and take pets with you. If you have guns, lock and cover safe. We walked through one house that had huge stresses out shepherd crated in master and no sign to let us know he was in there AND man cave full of gun stuff out in workbench.

  3. I gave my mum a list of things to do before viewings when we sold her place 2 years ago. She later told me that she’d thought I was being ‘namby pamby’ with tricks that wouldn’t work in her area. It sold at asking price on the first viewing!

    These are all worthwhile things to do.

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