Selling Advice

How to Prepare Your Hawaii Home for an Open House

You’ve hired an agent, set a price for your home, and now you’re ready to reveal your first open house. What do you do to make buyers fall in love with your home? Here are some tips you might consider when planning for your open house in Hawaii.

Make a Good First Impression

Before a buyer enters the home they will see the outside of your home first. You can give your house some extra curb appeal by sprucing up the landscaping. Prune back bushes, mow the lawn, sweep the front porch, and add some potted plants to make a good first impression for your potential buyer.

Leaving shoes at the front door is a Hawaiian custom. This practice helps keep floors clean. Make sure your real estate agent knows the customs here so they can ask visitors to kindly take off their shoes before entering your home.


No one enjoys going into an open house only to find the house is filled with clutter. Buyers will end up looking at your belongings instead of the actual house! Some suggestions for decluttering would be to start organizing early. Don’t get overwhelmed. Go into one room at a time and think about what would make the room look more appealing to buyers. Then start organizing the room by creating 3 piles: Create one pile for items to keep, one pile for things you can put in storage, and one pile for donations. Keep your home as streamlined as possible.

Closets will also be viewed by your buyers as they want to see how much storage you have. If your closet is cluttered, your buyer may feel its too small for them. Now is a great time to see what you haven’t worn in the last year and a good time to donate some old clothing to Goodwill. You could invest in some cute baskets and hide some belonging in them and place them on your closet shelves. If you have too much clutter it might be a good idea to pack most of it up and rent out a storage space to hold it temporarily.

Make it Shine

Buyers love clean homes that are move-in ready and spotless. When you put your home on the market you need to get it in tip-top shape. Take time to give your home a good deep cleaning. Consider hiring professional house cleaners if you have to much to do. Make sure windows, mirrors and appliances are all free from fingerprints and make them shine! Shampoo carpets which will take out stains as well as odors. Be sure to clean your closets and pantry too because many buyers want to see everything!

Make it Your Buyer’s Home

You’ve decorated your home and put your little personal touches into it to make it cozy but you need to make your buyers feel like it’s their home. Store away all your personal belongings, family photos, trophies, and awards so the buyer can imagine themselves living in your home.

Lock Up Valuables

You’re basically inviting strangers into your home and your agent can’t be everywhere when they host an open house. It’s important to secure your jewelry, valuables, checkbooks, and medications.

Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Ask your agent or a friend to give you an honest opinion of whether or not your home smells. A deep clean will take away most odors. If you have a pet, shampoo the carpets and move the litter box. Odors can build up in a kitchen drain, but a mix of 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of white vinegar can take care of the problem for you. Just pour the mix down the drain and leave it for half an hour. Give it a good rinse with very hot water and your odor should be gone. Garbage cans can also leave smells in the kitchen, so take them outside and hose them down with soap and water.

Be sure not to cook items with strong odors, like fish or fried foods before your open house. Buyers prefer the smell of freshly baked cookies instead. So start baking! Bringing in some fragrant flowers like plumerias will add an amazing scent to your home!

If you live in an area of Hawaii which has cooler temperatures and great trade winds, open all of the windows! This will show your buyers how the Hawaiian trade winds keep your home cool. The fresh air will also help to alleviate unwanted odors. If it’s a hot and humid day, turning on the air conditioner will help to welcome your buyers into a comfortable cool environment. Replace with a new filter before your open house too to reduce odors.

Light up Your Home

We all love our privacy, but on the day of the open house, you should open all your blinds and curtains. Hawaii has so many days of sunshine and opening the blinds will allow the natural light in and will brighten up your home making it look larger. Turn on lights in rooms and be sure to change any burnt out light bulbs. One burnt out light bulb might give the buyer the feeling that the house is not being maintained properly.


You want your home to look its best and staging can help. If you’ve already moved your furniture, you can hire professional stagers to bring in furniture and decor for your open house. If your home has little need for staging you can perk up your home with some simple staging tricks. Buy a new welcome mat to greet your buyers, add fresh flowers for a centerpiece, set your dining room table, and add some mugs and bowls on the kitchen island. You can also freshen up the bathroom areas by adding a touch of white! Bring in some fresh white towels, bath mats, and shower curtains to bathrooms and it will give that spa-like feeling. For a special touch, add some candles, soaps, and orchids too.

Leave Your Home and Put Your Agent to Work for You

It’s best for homeowners to leave during the open house. Buyers want to look around and might feel uncomfortable with a homeowner’s presence. They want to see themselves living in the home and it’s hard when the owner is there trying to play host. Sellers also want to talk about their home and why they are moving. They may inadvertently give too much information to a buyer that could work against them when trying to negotiate a price later.

You’ve hired a real estate agent you trust so let them do their job by hosting your open house. Let your agent welcome buyers, answer questions and show buyers all of your home’s wonderful features.

This is a great time for you to go to the beach, visit a favorite restaurant for lunch, visit friends, or just visit your favorite place in Hawaii! You’ve worked hard to get your home ready, so take time for yourself now and enjoy your Hawaii life!

Kayaking at Bellow’s Beach

More Information

Selling a home can be an emotional and challenging time for sellers. I’d love to make the process of selling your home easier for you. Contact me if you’d like more information or would like me to list your home!

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