Of the many tools a seller has at his or her disposal, few are as effective as an open house. An open house allows either agents or home buyers to walk through a house, and take a look around without making a formal appointment.

Broker’s open houses are typically held right after the property is listed. In many markets, a day of broker’s open houses is typically held on Tuesday or Thursday mornings. On one of the days, agents in the brokerage firm walk through the firms new listings so that they can preview properties for their clients. On the other day, other brokerage firms are invited to come and walk through a property that has just been listed.

On Saturdays and Sundays, open houses are traditionally held for home buyers in the area.

Traditional open houses are fine, but talk to your agent about spicing yours up so that more interest will be generated in your property. For example, some brokers across the country are holding open houses for home buyers during the week. In some households, it’s easier to find time to drop by an early morning open house or a mid-week night open house than take up an entire Sunday touring properties for sale.

When you hold a mid-week open house (either in the early morning or around dinner time), it’s nice to provide some sort of snack. When they walk into your home, home buyers realize they can grab a muffin for breakfast or a quick sandwich to stave off the hunger pains while they tour your home.

Brokers will nearly always provide some sort of snack and beverage at a broker’s open. In some areas, certain caterers were so popular that agents would advertise that the catering would be done by so-and-so just to pull people in.

The time to talk about open houses, and when are the best times to hold them, is when the agent or broker comes to your house to present the comparable marketing analysis (CMA). Inside the CMA, there should be a section on marketing your home, and open houses should be on the list.

One home buyer in Delaware said her agent had held only three open houses although her property had been on the market for nearly 7 months. She said she had asked the broker to do more open houses, but the broker always said that homes don’t sell at open houses, they sell through the MLS.

While being listed in the MLS does sell homes, open houses can be extremely valuable as well. Open houses allow a large number of buyers to walk through at one time. They allow agents and brokers to see what you’ve got, so that they can decide whether the property would meet the needs of any buyers they have.

When the agent comes to present his or her CMA, take the time to discuss his or her philosophy on open houses. Ask point blank how many open houses the agent plans to hold initially, and when, and how often others will be planned if the home doesn’t sell immediately. Talk about different kinds of open houses, like the mid-week early-morning or late afternoon open houses and what ideas might work in your neighborhood.

By keeping an open mind about open houses, you’ll have a better chance of selling your home quickly.