If either you or your agent are holding an open house, there are two main points to remember. First, you want to attract as many people as possible so you get a bid at your asking price (or possibly even a bit more). Second, potential buyers need to be able to visualize themselves in your home. The goals of all the steps in setting up an open house support one or both of those points.

Let’s get started, shall we? Here are six best ways to set up your open house:

1. Use Technology to Create Interest

Houses are sold through fliers, signs stuck in the lawn and word of mouth. However, never forget that they are primarily sold through people looking at listings, and listings today are online. They are very picture-centric as well. If you’ve looked at listings lately, multiple pictures showing every room, stairs, yards and even the street are fairly common. Many sites also have videos where potential buyers can walk through the house virtually.

These methods give buyers a taste. They also make it much more likely the people who show up at your open house have focused interest in your home.

2. Neutralize Your Décor

Buyers are thinking of their future comfort and happiness in your home. They need to mentally see themselves watching TV in your living room or playing catch in the backyard.

You need to facilitate that mental movement. So, every piece of décor that is distinctively yours or unusual has to be made neutral.

Think of it this way: If your son has painted his bedroom walls eggplant, and the ideal prospective buyer hates purple or is passionately against dark walls, that might turn them off. Virtually no one is turned off by off-white. Paint your walls a neutral shade.

That goes for unusual furniture, too, like a hammock hung from the ceiling in your living room. Potential buyers are going to discuss the unusual choice on the way home, not their move-in date.

3. Keep It Clean

Your house has to be spotlessly clean when it’s being shown. Period. Dirt and grime could lose you a sale.

So scour every inch of your home. Make sure it gleams. This goes for surfaces, but also spaces in closets, under dressers, and behind the refrigerator. All of it.

4. Make Sure Everything Is in Good Repair

Everything in your home has to function well. This is not the time to have a dripping faucet or a closet door that squeaks on its hinges. Many realtors advise potential home buyers to carefully look for just these sorts of issues.

Do a very careful walk-through your home. If anything isn’t working, even if it’s something you’ve lived with for the past year, make sure it’s fixed and fixed well.

5. Keep Pets in a Safe Place — Away From Buyers

It doesn’t matter how much you love Rover or Misti. Potential buyers might not. If they are allergic or find dogs frightening, that’s another sale gone south.

Plus, dogs or other animals might act out in annoying ways if lots of strangers enter their home. Barking or leaping on attendees almost certainly will not be appreciated. Make sure your pets have other homes for the day.

6. Supply Cookies or Other Treats

It’s to your advantage if attendees at your open house feel comfortable, hang around after the tour and feel like talking. You need to be unobtrusive if you are around at all during the open house. But, you might leave fresh-baked cookies, say, or fresh fruit in a bowl. It’s just welcoming enough to make open house attendees feel they’re buying from nice people. If lingering to chew means they ask more questions about school districts or shopping, so much the better.

If you’re setting up your home for an open house, be sure to attract the maximum number of interested people. In addition, make sure those people can visualize a good life in your home. Your home should be neutral, clean and have everything running smoothly. Good luck!

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.