With a little work, your open house can become more than just a dream.

An open house can lead to great and wondrous things. Like an offer, or maybe more than one. But before you're ready to invite everyone in, you have work to do.

There's a reason why so many real estate professionals talk about curb appeal. It's the first impression that anyone gets about your house. So it won't matter if it's beautiful inside; if the exterior looks neglected buyers have already formed an opinion before they park the car. If they park the car.

Curb appeal is only one of many things you'll need to attend to before your open house. The goal is to encourage someone else to fall in love with your home's charm enough to support your asking price. If you want to host the open house of your dreams, here's what you'll need to do:

Remember that Buyers are Internet Savvy

Chances are, most if not all of your prospective buyers have a smartphone, and many of them have a real estate open house app. That's right, according to U.S. News & World Report Money, there's at least one app that shows every open house in a certain area. So buyers are more independent, know how to get there, and might not arrive with a real estate agent.

Of course this also means that you or your agent will need promote your open house through as many services as you can. Think about Craigslist, your local newspaper, and every other possible avenue. You don't know where a prospective buyer's app gleans its information from, so the more visibility you've got the better.

Fruit on the counter can stay; your photo of great aunt Myrtle should be packed away.

Forget About That Personal Touch

If there's one universal truth about home buyers, it's that nobody wants to walk into an open house and see the current owner's personal belongings everywhere. Think of your house as a model home. It's decorated tastefully, the colors are neutral, and there are no family photos, purses and backpacks or household bills and homework to be seen.

You want your prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. So pack away everything personal. Help them relate to your house as their own so that they won't feel like they're intruding on someone else's life.

Lighten up the Furniture Load

You might have the most beautiful furniture on Earth, but too much is still too much. A more sparsely decorated house is better than one that's filled to the brim with furniture and accoutrement. Some home owners send all of their belongings to storage until the property sells, and rent smaller, newer pieces to use while buyers file through.

Renting isn't as expensive as it sounds. Most furniture rentals offer weekly rates. So you could even outfit your home just for the open house and then return to business as usual afterward. Sort of like getting dressed up for a date. However you go about it, remember that the point is to make your house look and feely roomy.

Send Fido or Fifi on Vacation

Pets are certainly family members. But they're part of your family, not that of prospective buyers. And some people have severe pet allergies. Some even have fear of pets in general. To be on the safe side, let your pets spend some time with a friend or at a nice boarder while the open house is going on.

With pets out of the house, you've got a perfect opportunity to really deep clean, too. Remember to empty Fifi's litter pan and sterilize and store it. If you're not sure about whether you have lingering pet odor, ask your real estate agent or a trusted friend, and ask them to be brutally honest. It's better to know in time to clear it up than to risk turning off a buyer.

Done right, an open house is a lot of work that's worth it.

Make Your House Smell Great (But not Too Great)

People are driven by the sense of smell. Bad odors can ruin a whole experience. But a lovely smell makes a house feel like a warm and inviting home. Just be careful about which scent you choose. Your favorite potpourri or scented oil might be an allergy trigger for someone else.

Baked goods are a great idea. So if you can bake something, that's ideal. A loaf of bread in the oven will give your whole house a delightful fragrance. If you can't cook, buy some cookies and leave them on the counter for your open house guests.

An open house really is much like a first date. The house needs to shine and be dressed in its very best. And you need to do everything in your power to boost that all-important first impression. After all, a first date could lead to a lovely relationship.

If you're only thinking about whether or not to sell, you probably wonder just what your house is worth. At eppraisal, we have a tool that can help. Just spend a few moments entering general information about your property. In return, you'll receive important information about your house and those in your community. Click here for your free property value estimate today.