How to Hold an Open House (When There are Kids and Pets)

November 7, 2017

How to Hold an Open House (When There are Kids and Pets)

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When your home is on the market, ideally it looks brand-new and ready for new owners. However, when you have kids and pets, you can’t always keep things in pristine condition. Here, we’ll cover a few do’s and don’ts when preparing for an open house when you have two- and four-legged family members.

Do host the open house when the kids are away. Try to plan for the kids to be away the day before and the day of the open house. This will give you the opportunity to clean without interference. If possible, send the kids on a weekend adventure with grandma and grandpa. The Polynesian Paradise in Pasadena is a pet-friendly and relatively inexpensive rental home with an expansive outdoor pool, which will keep the kids busy so they aren’t calling you every five minutes.

Don’t leave Rover’s bed laying around if it’s covered in dog hair. Odds are, most of your open house attendees will be dog owners, too. However, your animal’s bedding and toys should be well out of sight, especially if they show more signs of wear and tear than care. A quick trip with Spot to Petco for a new dog bed may be in order.

Do arrange the home to allow for natural movement. While you don’t need to apply the principles of feng shui to your layout, make sure that you have things arranged for easy movement throughout the property. For instance, you might want to remove extra chairs from the dining room table and moved any obstacles from the entryway.

Reduce the clutter. You know how they say, less is more? It’s true.  Especially when it comes to showing your home to strangers. You don’t need to take a minimalist approach but do reduce the number of items on bookshelves, walls and on the floor wherever possible.

Don’t leave valuables lying around. USA Today ranks leaving valuables lying around as number seven on the list of the 10 worst open house mistakes. In addition to the risk of theft, if something does go missing, you could see a concrete deal crumble if the shadow of doubt is cast upon innocent buyers.

Don’t get offended if feedback isn’t what you expected. Of course, you think your house is perfect. However, an open house is an open invitation for feedback and that 1960s-era gold tile in the bathroom that you love may be a major turnoff to everyone else. Listen to your Realtor when he or she discusses potential-buyer feedback and make an effort to correct issues noted by multiple viewers.

Do remove the dog from the home. Proper open house etiquette dictates that you and your pets are away from the home any time it’s being shown. Scoop the family up and plan a day away. If you can’t take your dog with you, check out for local pet sitters, and doggy day cares.

Don’t forget to set the thermostat. If it’s nice out, open the windows to allow both natural light and fresh air in. However, on hot or cold days, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. 71° in the summer and 68° when it’s below freezing is typically considered a welcome contrast to outdoor temperatures. After all, you want your guests to be comfortable and linger long enough for your house to feel like their new home.

It takes preparation, but you can have a successful open house with proper staging. Remember, keep it clean and have your entire family vacate the premises until the last potential buyer is gone.


Thanks to Medina James at for this article!