Open houses are an integral part of the home-selling tradition. Though their importance has declined some with the rise of Internet home shopping, and they attract “nosey neighbors” along with interested buyers, open houses can be an effective way to have many potential buyers view your home at once. The real estate agent you’re working with should take the lead in hosting an open house, but you’ll have a role to play as well. Here are some ways to ensure you make the most of your open house.

Declutter and depersonalize

Tidying your home and removing personal effects is a good idea before your home is photographed or visited for showings, and this naturally applies for open houses as well. If you haven’t already, clean your home thoroughly, store anything that contributes to clutter and remove personal items such as family photos and religious iconography. These steps will make your home more appealing and help potential buyers better visualize it as their own. Conversely, sparse or empty areas of your home may be worth staging with rented furniture and other touches to appear more homey and welcoming.

Promote the event and your house

Promoting your open house and your home’s availability is largely your agent’s job, so make sure they’re on task. Your open house should be advertised ahead of time on all of your home’s online for sale listings, including major real estate sites like, and, and potentially in local venues like your city newspaper’s real estate section. Promoting the event on your social media and encouraging your friends to share it is an easy way to get additional exposure. Your agent should provide signage for your home to guide in visitors and interested passerbys.

Inform and feed your attendees

Having flyers or brochures to pass out to visitors during the event is a good way to keep your home in people’s minds after they leave and ensure they don’t miss any important details. Your agent may be able to create an appropriate handout or simply print off copies of one of your homes online for sale listings. If you want to go above and beyond, and if your agent thinks it will be beneficial, providing refreshments can make an even greater impression on visitors.

Protect your home and possessions

Your real estate agent will do their best to keep an eye on your home and your possessions during an open house, but an ounce of prevention on your part is strongly recommended. Remove jewelry, watches, money, prescription drugs, personal documents and other valuable, sensitive or fragile items from public view and from places where they can easily be found (e.g. desk drawers and jewelry boxes). Pets that might disturb or be disturbed by guests should also be removed before the event.

Let your agent host

It may be tempting to be present at or even host your open house, but it’s almost always better to step away and let your agent do the job. As a trained and experienced salesperson, your agent should be the best choice for engaging potential buyers and promoting your home. Having the owner present at the open house can also make visitors anxious and less likely to express concerns about your home, meaning these issues will may unspoken and unaddressed.

With all these boxes checked, your open house should make a splash – and hopefully entice the attention of the perfect buyer for your home.