Open Houses and Yak Hair. What does it all mean?

Selling a house in ancient times bears little or no resemblance to how it’s done these days. The most glaring difference in them days is that people lived in caves (like my ex-husband) and later on in huts (like his mother).  All a prospective hut buyer had to do to see the inside was to stick their head in past the yak hair blanket that served as a door and they basically saw everything they needed to see. It’s a little known factoid that the practice of thanking the hut owner for the “open hut” started around this time…rumored to be approximately 2:30 PM. It wasn’t unusual to hear compliments like: “I really like what you’ve done with your choice of mud” and “ The rays of light coming in from the hole in your thatched roof really plays off your furniture made from dung”.   I know, I know….it’s as if we’re really listening in on real conversations from those times.  I am a stager. I make things happen. Sorta.

These days, real estate agents have a little more to contend with, what with the advent in hut design where there’s now different rooms used for different bodily functions; eating, sleeping, bathing, grunting, and that’s not including the room that the previous owners added on to store their yak butter which is a must-see if what you’re looking to buy is a yurt.   That’s why real estate agents came up with the concept of the “open house”.

For the uninitiated, let me explain how this works.  A person decides they want a new hut, um….house.  The real estate agent would like the house seen by as many people as it takes to pack a stadium that’s hosting the World Cup Soccer Finals to overflow capacity. The rationale being that the more people that see the house, the better chance there is for it to sell. Makes sense? Me too.

After being in the staging biz going on almost 12,000 years, I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for you to follow when your agent tells you they want to hold an open house. If you’ll be living in the house while it’s on the market, you will be visited by other agents bringing their potential buyers to have a look-see and this list applies then too.  Heads up…this list is not negotiable!!!!!  Okay, maybe it is…that is if you’ll be okay when, after your house has been on the market for 3 years,  the LONE offer you finally get wants to pay you in ground up yak horn powder (which is a sign of great wealth among the people that live….um….where yaks live) and is contingent upon selling their grandmother.  All seriousness aside… here’s the list.  Finally:


This tops the list: Your house needs to be clean, white glove clean. The kind of clean like when your mom comes to visit.  And it needs to stay like this ALL THE TIME.  Of course normal people will understand that your baby projectile vomits when someone rings your doorbell.  But they will not get past a floater in the toilet…which brings me to:

Do keep the toilet lid down. Nothing says “I wipe my nose on the wallpaper” quite like a raised toilet seat.

Do follow your real estate agent’s instructions regarding what you should do when an agent wants to bring prospective buyers over to see the house.  Image is everything, baby.

Do make all the beds in the house every day. I don’t care if you have to hire those birds from Cinderella to help you, because an unmade bed denotes overall sloppiness which is a HUGE turnoff to buyers. Kinda like glistening wallpaper.

Do keep your kitchen tidy and dirty dishes out of sight even if you have to hide them under the baby’s bed.

Do keep an empty laundry basket that you can use to scoop up anything that needs to be out of sight for the times when a  real estate agent calls you from their parked car down the street and wants to bring their buyers by in T minus 5 minutes and counting.

Do know that some people will look in your closets. Maybe now might be a good time to find a place to store those whips, chains, and handcuffs.  ( I have some room at my house…….)


Don’t cook foods that leave a lingering and…. um….distasteful smell in the air. Baking chocolate chip cookies will only go so far to mask a cooking odor that hangs in the air like…like…fill in the yuckiest smell you can image here.

Don’t leave things lying around that buyers can trip over like: hoses, wires, anacondas….. which brings me to:

Believe it or not, some people will not appreciate your Komodo dragon and won’t get your subtle humor when you tell them his name is “Flick”.  It’s really best to not to have any pets in the house.  There’s just no way to anticipate that somebody’s Aunt Janet was scarred for life by her run-in with a surly ant colony. Go figure.

DO NOT hang around during an open house. Prospective buyers get a little jangled when the owner follows them from room to room and that is a bad thing. And just in case you’re curious about the people who’ll be coming to see your house, stop it. Stop it right now. Your REALTOR will give you a rundown of who came by anyway.  So during the open house, go to a movie, try horse back riding for the first time,  go to one of those place where you can make your own pottery (Personally, the appeal of those places escapes me. Maybe they serve alcohol).  Please stay away during the open house and let your REALTOR do their magic.

Don’t forget that you can always hide stuff in your dryer and even in the trunk of your car. If there’s room and you have an inside release, you can hide in the trunk too.

Happy Open House !

Wanna be immortalized on this here “Talk to CJ” blog?  Got a burning staging question that most ointments can’t help?  Add your comment/question below! Or email your well thought out and grammatically-correct question to me and if it’s even somewhat relevant to staging, your question (and my response) could appear here. My cat, “Atomic Blast Fury” is staring at me as I write this while my other cat “Noodle Button” is stealing my good silver. Ha ha, I’m kidding. I don’t have any good silver.

This has been another message from Karen Negrete IRIS™, your friendly stager.

Karen and CJ have worked together for many years helping home owners prepare their home for sale.  If you would like to receive a no-obligation consultation on how to give your home that WOW factor before going on the market, contact CJ Brasiel .