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Preparing For An Open House

1. Make sure your house is spotlessly clean...Hire a cleaning service if necessary.

2. Mow your lawn and straighten your yard...Be sure toys and yard equipment are stored and concealed as well as possible.

3. Serve goodies like cookies or danishes, coffee, and soft drinks. Use disposable paper products and make sure the kitchen is kept clean.

4. Lock up your valuables, jewelry, prescription drugs and money. Whether it's you having the open house or a Real Estate Agent, it's impossible to watch everyone at all times—especially if you get a rush of people.

5. Turn on all the lights, even in the daytime...this adds sparkle to the rooms.

6. Try to temporarily place your pets with a friend or neighbor. If this cannot be arranged, crate them or confine them to one room and let your agent know where they are.

7. If you have an agent, DON'T be present at the open house. It's awkward for prospective buyers express their real opinions of your home with you there. If you are holding the open house yourself, be helpful but let the buyers look around on their own so they don't feel self conscious about talking to each other and looking in closets, etc.

8. Put fresh flowers in main rooms to add a punch of color.

9. Get rid of anything dingy. Add fresh towels, a new shower curtain if necessary and new designer soaps in every bath. Think "Model Home."

10. Arrange a pleasant table setting with dishes, candles and a centerpiece of flowers or other decorative piece.

11. Buy a nice welcoming doormat.

12. Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.

13. Put away small kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.

14. Create a fire in the fireplace (if it's cold outside). Or put in a basket of flowers or a candle setting if the fireplace is not in use.

15. Depersonalize and de-clutter the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos, knick knacks and distinctive artwork.

16. Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes prior to start of open house to make the lawn shiny and rich in color.