Make a good first impression, you want to freshen up the landscaping and exterior paint, plus consider purchasing a few new items, including a garage door, mailbox, exterior door, and house numbers. Clean the driveway and walkways, and get the cars out of the driveway and from in front of the house.

#1 – An Open House Isn’t an Open House Without the Proper Furniture

Cannon Christian, president of the Southern California-based Renovation Realty, says his company adds furniture and accessories to vacant homes. If you’re living in the house, consider some small touches such as fresh towels in the bathroom, vases of flowers and a few well-chosen accessories. With furniture, less is often more. Wild-colored walls should be painted and, depending on your budget, you may want to paint kitchen cabinets, add new hardware or change faucets.

#2 – Remove Unnecessary Clutter

If the house has too many pieces of furniture and knickknacks, it’s hard for potential buyers to see the home’s features. Sellers should start packing before the house goes on the market, making the home as sparse and streamlined as possible.

#3 – Take Out All Personal Items

“Homebuyers want to walk into the house and visualize it as their new home,” Mitchell says. When a potential buyer sees your family photos and your children’s crayon drawings on the refrigerator during your open house, that becomes more difficult.

#4 – Pets Are Not Allowed

Dogs, cats or other pets should neither be seen nor heard during the open house. If they can’t be removed from the house, they need to be confined to a less-trafficked space.

#5 – Get The Word Out

Make sure your open house is listed in the multiple listing services as well as on all the major real estate portals and Craigslist. Christian likes to send flyers to the neighbors, and you can also share the information on Nextdoor(dot)com and neighborhood email lists. Share the information with friends via email and social media. “Do what you can to get the most people in the door,” Christian says.

“You don’t want home buyers to leave your home empty-handed,” he says. “This is not going to be the only house they’re going to tour that day. It’s hard to remember all the different homes that they walked through.”

#6 – Have Pastries and Desserts

Not all agents agree on the importance of refreshments, but most think they’re a good idea. Christian sometimes invites food trucks to his open houses and gives away sports tickets, notebooks or other trinkets. He also likes the fact that serving cookies and drinks get visitors to stop and interact with the agent or seller.

#7 – Let Potential Home Buyers Do Their Thing

If a real estate agent is organizing the open house, the sellers should not be present. If you’re doing your own open house, you want to be as professional and unobtrusive as possible so visitors will feel free to imagine themselves living in the house and discuss its flaws without fear of offending you.

#8 – Listen to What People Have to Say

One valuable takeaway from an open house is being able to hear what people think about the price and features. If six neighbors think the home is overpriced, it probably is. “If you don’t get opinions and people’s thoughts, you’re wasting a lot of audiences,” Christian says. Collect names and contact information from everyone who visits and contacts them afterward to see what they thought of the house.