1. Hire a cleaning service. A spotlessly clean home is essential; dirt will turn off a prospect faster than anything.
2. Mow your lawn, and be sure toys and yard equipment are put away.
3. Serve cookies, coffee, and soft drinks. It creates a welcoming touch. But be sure the kitchen has been cleaned up; use disposable cups so the sink doesn’t fill up.
4. Lock up valuables like money, jewelry, etc. Although the real estate salesperson will be on site during the open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
5. Turn on all the lights. Even in the daytime, incandescent lights add sparkle.
6. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (a basement or bath), and let the salesperson know where to find them.
7. Leave. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by permission of the National Association of Realtors, Copyriht 2005, All rights reserved.