The open house is an enormously fruitful technique in terms of generating interest in a home for sale. With advances in image creation and transmission technology, virtual tours are popular and becoming more so. Still, there is no substitute for physical presence in order to get to know a house up close before making a purchase decision. This is why sellers are well advised to make their dwelling presentable and attractive to the naked eye. There are mendings and improvements every seller can make in order to beautify and fortify their home, and fetch the best home values as a result.

1. Functions and structural safety -- refer to repairs that restore structural integrity and function to the residence. This means shoring up a sinking foundation; patching or replacing an old roof; fixing heat and air conditioning systems; correcting faulty wiring; and remedying any plumbing problems. Some of these things may escape notice at an open house but sellers are obliged to convey a property intact to maintain home values. It is optimal to see to these issues ahead of an open house rather than waiting for a difficult home inspection report that might scuttle a promising purchase transaction.

2. Doors, Cabinets and Drawers -- You can bet that visitors to open houses will open and shut everything that can possibly open and shut. With this in mind, it benefits sellers to tighten and oil hinges; clear obstructions from drawer tracks or replace them altogether; and do likewise with loose handles and door knobs. This goes for all cabinets, fixture drawers, interior doors and those leading to the outside. Not to be forgotten are garage doors, whether automatic or manually moved. Smooth operation is imperative for prospective buyers who are trying to get a feel for the place.

3. Lawns and Landscapes -- adorn the house and are as much an asset -- or liability -- to the property as the kitchen or the bathrooms. Overgrown grass, ugly shrubs, uneven hedges and diseased or rotting trees taint the street appeal of the property. It is amazing what a simple mow of the lawn can do; it is akin to a facelift. Fresh mulch in plant bedding or a new layer of gravel similarly convey a sense of comfort and order. Do not let low hanging tree limbs obstruct the view of the house either.

4. Paint, Wallpaper and Lighting -- Like landscaping, removing peeling paper and repainting are inexpensive and simple means of creating an ambience of neatness and welcome. Neutral colors and moderate lighting draw the most interest or, at least, put off the fewest prospects. Sellers should carefully inspect walls, moldings and doors for dents and scratches upon which paint can be applied locally. Otherwise, consider painting entire walls where the present coat is looking its age. Other modestly priced replacements light switches and ceiling fans. You can be sure these items will be activated often during open house walkthroughs.

5. Flooring -- should receive significant attention. People watch where they walk when navigating about in a home they do not know. Over the years, foot traffic can take its toll on linoleum, tile and hardwood. Inexpensive flooring options include laminate, bamboo, cork, porcelain tiles and even concrete. All carpet that looks worn and well-trod should be pulled up. An evaluation of the flooring underneath should, accordingly, follow. New flooring is routinely a do-it-yourself project but each seller will determine whether to opt for professional installation. The extra cost may be worth it for owners lacking handyman confidence.