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Fortunately for sellers, home values are generally on the rise and interest rates remain historically low, making this a great time to put your house on the market in many parts of the country.

Finding a buyer is an important step in the process, and there are some simple steps sellers can take to increase the chances of finding one. If you’re trying to sell your home yourself, you have a few important things to take care of first. An open house is a one opportunity to find potential buyers interested in your property. Its popularity has waned a bit because of online home tours and concerns about home security, but open houses are still one of the tools sellers use to find potential buyers.

Prep Work

It’s a good idea to carve out some time in the days leading up to the open house for some serious cleaning with a focus on creating a clean, neutral environment. Use cleaning products with fresh odors, remove all possible stains and pay special attention to removing pet hair and keeping the home uncluttered and easy to move through.

It’s important to remember that you want to present enough furniture to adequately display the character of the house, while leaving it simple enough for potential buyers to envision their own decorations and stuff. In order to increase how comfortable and welcome people feel in the house, it can be a good idea to leave small refreshments and snacks in the kitchen area of the home.

If you have a few days or weeks before the open house, you might want to consider some easy and affordable projects to increase your home’s appeal.

Getting People in the Door

The goal of the open house is to find a buyer for your home. So to do that, the people who might want to buy your home need to show up! To attract those people, it’s a good idea to take advantage of technology.

Since many potential buyers start their research on the computer, posting notices online to Craigslist and Facebook can help. To attract people just driving through your neighborhood, the familiar “open house” signs on the day-of can help.

To be as secure as possible while you allow strangers to walk through your home, it’s important to remove or lock up all pharmaceuticals and valuables. Visitors should always have a chaperone and never have a closed door between the chaperone and them. You don’t want an open house to become a target for identity thieves, who can wreck your credit just when you need it most. You’ll want to keep an eye on your credit during the selling process to make sure you haven’t become a victim. You can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

Also, consider enlisting a professional such as a local real estate agent for their knowledge and help in the open house process.

Closing the Deal

As important as it is to get people to the home, it is equally as important to follow up with those who seemed interested in your property. Place sign-in sheets by the door and ask visitors to write their names and information on a log sheet while they present their driver’s license.

Potential buyers should be greeted with a smile so that they will feel comfortable in the home. Guided tours of the home to highlight the appealing features of the house — such as hardwood floors, picture windows or high ceilings — can be useful as well. A fact sheet with detailed information on the property and contact information should also be given to visitors.

An open house can help you market and sell your home, and it will be most effective if you take the time to make your home as appealing as possible.

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