One way a seller can attract buyers is by throwing an open house. Done properly, an open house can attract multiple offers and secure a fast sale. Do it poorly, however, and you’ll put potential buyers off your home. Make your open house go with a swing with these twelve tips.

#1: Make any repairs

Clean the carpets, fix squeaks and leaks and check that everything’s in good working order. You want to show your home in the best possible light, and maintenance issues are red flags that turn buyers away. Apply a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color scheme and strip out the clutter. These simple fixes inject clean, modern lines into your home for maximum buyer appeal.

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#2: Stage the furniture

Staging a home for sale is a profession in its own right. By copying the tricks of the trade, you can showcase the rooms that count and give buyers the impression that your home is move-in ready. Concentrate your efforts on the living room, kitchen and bedrooms, as these are the rooms that speak to buyers. Figure out your focal point in each room, such as a fireplace or great view. Angle your furniture towards the focal point to draw the buyer’s attention to it. Make sure all walkways and corridors are furniture-free; this gives the impression of space. Decorative artwork, knick-knacks and high-quality window treatments can make a huge impact, too.

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#3: Get promoting

Let everyone know about your open house. Your agent can handle the flyers and classified advertisements, but you can spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Talk to friends, neighbors and work colleagues. Post details on online community websites and forums. Allow at least three weeks for word of mouth to get out.

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#4: Plenty of signs

Make sure people can find your home on the big day. Make big, bold signs and place them around the neighborhood with directions to guide people to your home. Tie balloons to your mailbox so people know they’ve found the right place.

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#5: Remove kids and pets

You may love them, but buyers will be distracted by your children and pets. Arrange for them to visit family or friends on viewing day, or sign your pets into a pet hotel while buyers look at your home. Remove children’s toys, litter trays, feeding bowls and other pet paraphernalia. Eliminate pet smells by having carpets and drapes professional cleaned.

#6: Let in the light

A bright house is a welcoming house. On viewing day, open the curtains and blinds to let in as much light as possible. Clean the windows until they sparkle. In winter when the light is dim, turn on lamps and start a cozy fire.

#7: Bake cookies and brew coffee

Buyers are strongly influenced by their sense of smell: pleasant scents form warm associations in the buyer’s mind. Coffee, cookies and bread will mainline straight to the buyer’s heart. If you haven’t the time to bake, air fresheners and fresh flowers work well, too.

#8: Be a good host

Keep the temperature ambient. Prepare some snacks and drinks to serve to guests. Be polite, friendly and on hand to answer buyer questions.

#9: Enlist help

You can’t be everywhere during an open house. Enlist a helper or two to help you run the event. They can greet guests, pour coffee and guide people through the home, while you get on with the business of selling.

#10: Register visitors

Prepare a sign-in sheet and take the name and contact information of everyone who comes through the door.  Later, you will follow up these leads.

#11: Hand out goodie bags

Make you home stand out from the crowd by offering buyers a goodie bag to take with them when they leave. Any token will do: note pads, pens or customized pencils. Bottles of water are a treat in hot weather and Hershey kisses can really bring out the sweet in buyers!

#12: Follow up

In the week following your open house, phone or email everyone who came. Following up gives you a chance to answer any lingering questions the buyer may have.

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