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When selling your home, an open house is a great opportunity to get potential buyers through your door. However, you don’t want to have an open house that’s not memorable—or, worse, one that’s remembered for the wrong reasons. These events are your chance to make a strong, positive impression to the buying public. Here are four tips for hosting an effective open house:

Keep it tidy. No one wants to walk into a mess. Open house visitors are trying to envision themselves living in the home. Things like overflowing closets and packed countertops make the home seem smaller than it is, so clear all surfaces and put anything you don’t need into storage.

Make sure there aren’t dirty dishes in the sink. Bedrooms should be neat and beds made. Even small things, such as dirty grout in a bathroom, will stick with potential buyers. Mirrors and tubs should also be cleaned.

Make sure it smells pleasant. You may not notice if your home has a distinct smell, but your visitors will. This is especially true if you have pets. Make sure any kitty litter boxes are clean, and vacuum floors and furniture to eliminate animal hair, which could also give off a smell. If possible, have carpets cleaned.

If you spray anything to offset odors, don’t overdo it. Open house visitors are also able to tell if you’re trying to mask something. Keep it smelling clean and neutral.

You can even entice visitors with the smell of freshly baked goods by making some chocolate chip cookies right before the open house. Just be wary of potential allergy issues or choking hazards if you decide to leave complimentary food or drinks out.

Keep it bright. There’s nothing worse than loving the curb appeal of a house, only to walk into a dark and depressing space. Turn all lights on for an open house and draw up any shades. You’ll be amazed by how much a space opens up with a little bit of light. This is especially important for rooms with low ceilings or dark paint colors.

Be prepared. Although visual elements make up a big part of the open house experience, visitors will also remember the information they walked away with. Things like utility costs and snow removal companies may seem like small details, but buyers like to have as much information as possible before they decide to invest in a home. If they don’t have to work hard to get property information from you, they’ll take it as a sign that you’re ready to sell and will be easy to work with. Gather up as many details as possible, such as recent renovations, your roof’s age, utility information, etc.

Open house visitors can tell when you’re making an effort for them. Not only will they feel like they’re home, but they’ll also be armed with the necessary information to put an offer on your property.

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