While experts may debate the value of holding an open house, your home may be a good candidate for this marketing tool.

If your Realtor offers to show off your home on a Sunday afternoon, roll up your sleeves and take advantage of and make the most of the opportunity.

Obviously, get things tidy inside and out. Give all of your countertops a “clean” feel by hiding your toiletries under the sink in the bathroom and by stashing your kitchen appliances in the cabinets. “Clean and clear” make a great impression!

Also, remove photographs, appointment cards, school artwork, etc., from the refrigerator and other areas of the house. Yes, it’s your home, but you want buyers to picture it as their home. So, it’s best to not distract them from their “dream.”

You can encourage buyers to linger by simply putting out refreshments, such as fresh baked cookies (the aroma can be irresistible) and a pitcher of iced tea or minis of bottled water — anything to make them pause and take a closer look around.

The one thing that shouldn’t be in the home during an open house is … you. No offense, but buyers are there to see the home, not the owner, and they may feel uncomfortable asking important questions if you are within earshot.

Make your visitors feel at ease and trust your Realtor to take care of the rest.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at paul@villagesite.com or 805.455.8055.