Tips For Getting Your Home Ready For Showings

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions.  
The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so:

Make sure your front entrance is clean and has an inviting appearance. Get landscaping cleaned up and plant some trees or flowers. 
Paint or replace your front door if it's faded, has chips of paint or worn.
Add some paint to trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.

Accentuate the Positive.
How we live in a home and how we sell a home are often two very different things. Try to see your property with a new perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

Keep windows, window sills and floors clean.
Repair any worn woodwork and polish to make it shine.
Repaint scuffed or dirty walls in a neutral color like white or beige.
Steam clean carpeting or replace it if necessary-worn flooring can make the rest of the house feel old.
Repair any loose knobs, sticking/creaking doors and windows, damaged cabinet drawers, broken light switches and switch plates and other minor flaws.
Check and repair caulking in bathtubs, sinks and showers-replace old shower curtains with a fresh new look.
Open draperies and curtains to let as much light in as possible during the showing.
Remove any and all clutter from your living spaces and closets to better display spacious rooms (consider a storage unit or have a garage sale to dispose of unneeded items).
Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture. Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant. Buy new bedding if needed to show off the room. 

Put Your Home in the best possible light.
Lighting your home, even during daytime showings, can create a cozy feeling and highlight all the positive attributes of each room, so:

Be creative and arrange decorative lamps to help smaller rooms seem bigger, and large rooms seem more intimate.
Use more lighting to highlight the "living areas" of your home, such as a pair of chairs near a fireplace, or a table in a breakfast area. Make sure all lamps work. I can go over and turn on all lights before any showings to put it in the best life possible. 


Clear all unnecessary furniture throughout the home. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
Clear all unnecessary items from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn't been used for three months…put it out of sight!
Clear the refrigerator of any messages, pictures, etc. (A sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls. Patch and paint if necessary.
Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows.
Leave on certain lights during the day. During "showings" turn on all lights and lamps or if you are not here, I will do this for you!


Trim landscaping to reveal architectural detail (bottom of windows, etc.). "If they can't see it, we can't sell it."
Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage.
Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. "You can't sell a house if you can't see it." Plants are like children-they grow so fast!!
Weed and then bark all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc. (Put them in the garage).
Check paint condition of the house-especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal really works!"

In General
Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.

9 Minute Showing Drill

Occasionally you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist for this type of panic:

Sound: Turn off the television and tune the radio (low volume) to a soft rock, middle of the road or classic rock station.
Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
Odors: Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven or heat a pan on the stove and then drop in a few drops of vanilla.
Kitchen: Wipe kitchen counters, place dirty dishes in dishwasher.
Bathrooms: Wipe counters, flush and close toilets.
Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; remove clutter.
Bedrooms: Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walk clear.
Children & Pets: They are a distraction, so send them outside.
Goodbye: Sorry, but this is the single most important thing you can do in a showing to help sell your home! Even if the showing agent insists that it is okay to stay, you must leave. Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are "hanging around." Please, at the very least, go into the backyard. Even better, go to the store.