If you are in the market for a home, one of the best days of the week is Open House Sunday. Are you a seasoned pro or a newbie? Either way, you need to be prepared as you may just find your next home today.

First you must go to your favorite website and see if the houses on your list are having an Open House, may I suggest www.CindyPenkoff.com? (I know shameless plug.) You make your list for the day, grab your coffee and go. The hardest part of this adventure, strangely enough, is being in the house, especially if you don’t have your agent with you. (You do have an agent right?)

The reason I say it’s the hardest part is you walk a fine line of feeling comfortable and feeling like a snoop. So here is the rule. If you know, when you walk in the door that you are not going to like this house “But let’s look any way since we are here”, walk through and leave. Simple. If nothing else it could add to the list of things you don’t like in a house. But, if you walk into a house that has potential, well then let the snooping begin.

Now, you are not going to really snoop, but you are going to give the house a good once over, you know like walking the car lots on Sunday when they used to be closed. This means, you open closet doors and medicine cabinets. Look under the sink cabinets for any leaks. Go into the basement and look at the electrical box and the sump pump. Is it dry or is there some moisture? Try opening and closing some windows and look up and look down. How does the ceiling look and do the floors look like you can work with them? Make notes; whether it be on your smart phone or a good old fashioned pen and paper. Look in the garage if it has one and walk around the yard.

Things off limits; drawers and anything NOT a part of the house. An old cool looking trunk in the basement or storage bins, any mail left on the counter and do not open that roll top desk. It’s not staying with the house. If it’s a personal item leave it alone and please do not let your children play with the toys of the children living in the home.

As much fun as it can be for a buyer, if you are selling your home, Open House Sunday is almost never your favorite day of the week. It really doesn’t matter how badly you want to sell your home either. You will feel as if you are being pushed out of your house, even if you are never home on Sunday in the first place. You will feel like you are being judged and you will feel like someone has gone through your things. At the same time you will be anxious to hear a report from your realtor at the end of the day. “How many people came and did anyone seem interested?” Validation.

The best advice I can give you, if you really want to sell your home, is read what I said above to potential buyers. Did you throw all your stuff in the walk in closet, the coat closet, under the sink or dirty dishes in the stove? Bad call. This place needs some spit and shine. More than likely you have known about this open house for at least a week. Don’t wait until that morning to get it all done. Has the lawn been groomed; first impressions are everything. How does the house smell? Yes smell. You would be surprised how many houses I go into that smell like teenage boys bedrooms. Choose something fresh and clean like lemon or orange. I hate to break it to you, all those candles you put around the house aren’t helping and nothing replaces a good old fashioned cleaning.

Here is the reality of Open House Sunday. If you really want to sell your house, you have to do it, but if you are going to do it, do it right. If you want to buy a house, open house Sunday is one of the best ways to find out what you like and what you don’t, just understand, somebody still lives there. So be a courteous guest.

By Cindy Penkoff

As a sales person for the past 30 years, I have sold everything from candles to cars. I know that helping people to pick out what best shows their personality is the key to a happy client, whether it is their favorite scent or the overstuffed chair that will have a home in the family room for many years to come. I carry with me the experience and challenge of making sure every client feels at home. I chose Real Estate as a career as it combines my affinity for people, homes and the process of bringing the two of them together. With a natural love of form and function, color and texture and the ability to see things for what they can be, I find it easy to combine my talents to help my clients find the home they’ve been dreaming of or helping those that wish to sell their homes and move on to their next adventure. Although I wouldn't be considered a "seasoned" agent, I feel like I have been doing this my whole life. Add to that the experience of being the assistant to a million dollar producer, my clients get the best of all worlds. Someone who looks at things with a fresh eye as well as someone who has the knowledge to walk them down the road of what can sometimes be a stressful experience My husband and I have been together for 25 years and have a 14 year old son. We live in Trumbull where I sit on the Board of Finance. I believe in giving back. I volunteer as much as possible and have been known to juggle many balls at once. Nothing makes me happier than at the end of a project, seeing the joy it creates. I love my job, my family, my dogs and my country.

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