At Pearce, we have pooled our wealth of expertise to compile a house showing checklist for making your home show ready before you leave your property. Your agent can help you with suggestions that are specific to your home, lifestyle, and time of year, but helping your home put its best foot forward can help turn showings into offers. Before your first showing, you’ll want to do a larger decluttering and clean up. You can find more about preparing your home for the market here.
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Clean Up Exterior and Landscaping to Create a Good First Impression
The first step in our pre showing checklist is to be sure that your lawn is recently mowed (in the spring, summer and early fall). Make sure leaves are cleaned up in the fall, and in winter months that any snow is removed from pathways and driveways.
You’ll have already taken care of any exterior window cleaning, power washing or painting in your major market prep, but do a quick check to be sure that window screens are intact, and your windows are clean.
Trim back bushes and other landscaping as the season permits, and be sure to not have seasonal decorations up beyond the appropriate season. That means no Christmas wreaths still hanging up on Valentine’s Day!
Another way to enhance your home's appeal for a house showing is to add some fresh flowers near the entryway. This small touch can create a warm and welcoming vibe for visitors.
Unclutter & Clean Up Inside
Be sure your home looks easy to live in and maintain. Stains, laundry piles, pet hair tumbleweeds under couches, and dishes in the sink make your home look chaotic and uncared for! This tends to have buyers conclude that your home is too much work to maintain on a daily basis. Try to create a care-free living space by ensuring that you do the following:
- Vacuum carpets and floors
- Sweep or lightly mop wood and tile floors with damp cloth
- Wipe down all surface areas
- Clean mirrors and windows
- Make beds
- Pick up toys and clothes and store neatly
- Make sure pet areas are clean and odor-free
Remove or Secure Valuables
While preparing for an open house as a seller, it's essential to take precautions with your valuables. Obviously, items like cash, jewelry, and credit cards should be removed from your home. However, it's also wise to secure other valuable items, such as firearms and prescription drugs. Additionally, it's crucial to protect sensitive documents that contain personal information.
One option is to remove most of these items from your property entirely and store them elsewhere, such as at the home of a trusted friend or relative. This step can help give you peace of mind and protect your valuable possessions while you're showing your home to potential buyers.
Make Your Home Light, Bright & Welcoming
To create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for potential buyers during a showing, there are a few things you can do. First, open your drapes and shades to let natural light fill the space, and turn on lights as needed to create a bright and airy ambiance.
Adding some fresh flowers or plants can also create a pleasant scent and make your home feel more inviting. Another option is to bake cookies just before the showing to create a warm and welcoming aroma in the house.
You can even adjust the temperature to ensure that potential buyers are comfortable during their visit. A comfortable temperature can help them focus on the features of your home and imagine themselves living there. In the winter you want to be sure that your house is warm, but not too hot; and in the summer, be sure to run your central air or air conditioning units enough to dry out humidity and cool your home.
Generally, around 70 to 75 will be a comfortable setting for heat or air conditioning. On nice days, you may wish to open the windows to let some fresh air in.
Neutral, Pleasant Scents Only
Speaking of fresh air, you’ll want to be sure that you have taken out any potentially-stinky garbage. If you have cats, clean the litter box thoroughly, and take waste to the outdoor trash cans.
Watch what you cook the night before! It’s probably best that you don’t cook any spice-heavy food close to the time of the showing so your home doesn’t smell like a BBQ joint, Indian Food restaurant! These foods may be delicious, but often leave potential buyers wanting some fresher scents.
Look for neutral, fresh scents if you plan to burn candles or use air freshener. Lemon or light cinnamon scents are generally well-tolerated. Remember that some people find strong air fresheners and perfumes headache and allergy-inducing.
Double Check That Bathrooms and Kitchens are Organized and Sparkling
Make sure the kitchen is clean and empty. Check that the bathroom mirrors and sinks are free of toothpaste gunk, among other items. Wipe down your countertops, kitchen sink, and appliances. If you have kitchen stools or chairs, be sure no mail or clutter is hiding on them.
This is an important part of our house showing checklist. Since buyers sometimes will sit down to talk about the house, the kitchen table or island can often be the gathering point. Especially if that is where you leave your informational folder!
If your bathrooms have linens stored in them, fold towels and sheets neatly. Remove hair, soap scum and mildew from showers and baths. Be sure toilets are flushed and lids are down. Clear off personal toiletries from sinks and vanities, and wipe down mirrors, sinks and faucets.
Make Your Beds & Put Clothes Away Neatly
Unmade beds and messy closets are big turn-offs. Messy or cluttered closets say to potential buyers, “this home doesn’t have enough room for your clothes”.
Again, you will take care of some of the closet decluttering in your initial big sweep of your home as you get it ready to put it on the market. But as you do laundry and put clothes away, do so neatly, hanging clothes and folding sweaters neatly on shelves.
Potential buyers will definitely open your closet doors, and even though they won’t be sleeping in your bed, making your bedrooms look neat and welcoming makes bedrooms appear a comfortable place to get some zzz’s.
ARRANGE FOR YOUR PETS TO BE OUT OF HOME
By ensuring your pets are out of the home when showings happen you avoid unexpected accidents and unpleasant smells and keep your pet(s) safe. It may not be comfortable for your pet to have potential buyers in your home without you there, and not all buyers are comfortable with animals, so it could be an uneasy experience for all, and risk losing a potential sale of your home.