With your home on the market, an open house is soon to follow.

If you’ve never experienced an open house, then think of it as opening your home to the public.

Potential buyers walk through and view your home, enjoy light refreshments, and ask questions of your agent.

According to realtor Doyle Webb of Southland Realtors, giving buyers the chance to see your home is very helpful.

Plus, compared to a showing, an open house is a very relaxed environment that enables buyers to come and go as they please without the need for a formal showing.

It might be a little daunting to have people inspecting your home, but a good agent will make sure you are comfortable.

“The agent should treat the home as if it was their own, respect the homeowner, and leave it in better shape than you got there,” Webb said.

However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your home is in tiptop shape as well.

Focus on Exterior Details

The outside of your home is like a window to the inside. Buyers will be quick to assume the inside is sub-par if the outside is lacking too. You don’t have to give your home a makeover, but a small facelift wouldn’t hurt to add curb appeal. Breathe new life into the exterior with a coat of paint on the front door, mailbox, shutters, railings, and window boxes. Make sure everything matches; you’ll be able to tell if you get the wrong shade.

Give Landscaping a Boost

Landscaping can get a little bit pricey, but there are ways to improve your landscaping without breaking the bank. For starters, spend some time on basic yard maintenance such as mowing, weeding, raking, and trimming. If you choose to add plants, make sure they will be appealing all season long.

For example, evergreens don’t lose their leaves and stay green all year long. Flowers are a great way to boost your landscape and add color. When making your choices, opt for perennials, which return each year, and be sure there are variations in the blooming seasons for long-lasting beauty.

Be a Cleaning Machine

Cleaning is an absolute must when it comes to hosting an open house. You might think buyers will overlook it or give you a pass since you are still living there, but buyers expect cleanliness.

Not only that, but it could affect the offers that come in. Think about it this way: If a buyer will have to regrout the tub or repaint walls due to stains, it’s a huge turn-off.

Cleaning isn’t the most enjoyable task in the world, but it will show buyers your home’s true potential. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this thorough checklist to get you headed in the right direction.

Depersonalize

In addition to cleaning, Webb has found that the number one thing homeowners neglect or forget to do is pick up clutter.

A home filled with your personal items feels and looks like your home, not the buyer’s future home. Plus, too much stuff can make a home feel small and cramped. To begin, go through your home and get rid of things you don’t want to keep by donating, selling, or discarding them.

This leaves you to tackle the items that will be coming with you to the new home such as photos, keepsakes, and décor. Go through all cabinets and drawers and leave only what you truly need, as buyers will be looking here to check out the space available.

This will give you a head start on packing, but where should you put it? Leave it with a family member or friend or rent a storage unit; your own home should be a last resort.

Preparing for an open house takes planning and hard work, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Add curb appeal and landscaping, clean like mad, and remove personal belongings before the first potential buyer arrives. Then, head out for the day and let your realtor take the wheel.

Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.