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If you’re selling, you might think that an open house will do the work itself. Stunning finishes, a quiet street, a perfectly landscaped backyard, etc. Won’t the home just sell itself? Not so fast! There’s still some work to be done on your part before you open your home to public buyers. Here’s how to get the best value out of your open house:

Don’t be home. Buyers need to feel at ease when touring an open house, to have candid conversations with their partner or real estate agent as they walk through. When an owner is on the premises during an open house, buyers can feel like they’re being judged or under surveillance. Give them space to deliberate.

Get your space smelling fresh. It goes without saying that unpleasant odours are a big no-no for a luxury open house, so take out the cat litter and garbage beforehand, and avoid cooking anything right before an open house. Avoid using strongly-scented candles or air fresheners too, as a savvy buyer may think you’re trying to cover something up. Instead, let some fresh air in and keep the space clean.

Tidy and de-personalize. Remove personal effects before holding an open house, including photos, personal artwork or things like toothbrushes and jewelry. Clear surfaces and try and make your home look the way it does in your sale photos, whether that’s a perfectly-made bed or couch cushions arranged in an artful pattern.

Consult with a professional stager. Staging has been proven to result in a home selling over asking, but it doesn’t always have to be a full-scale undertaking. Painting all the walls and replacing some central pieces of furniture can definitely go a long way when it comes to staging, but a professional might recommend rearranging some items or moving a few into storage too. Either way, professional staging can be the best way to give your open house an edge.