A lot goes into selling a home as quickly and at as high a price as possible, but arguably nothing is as important as hosting effective showings. Potential buyers come into the space to see if it meets their basic needs, how much of their wish list it covers, and whether they can envision themselves living there and feeling at home.
That last part is really important. To let people achieve that vision, minimize personal touches and any distractions that can prevent people from imagining the home as their own. A clean, uncluttered, simple, neutral appearance works best. While staging is a powerful way to help people see the potential in your home, they still need a blank enough palette on which to paint their own pictures.
Here’s a checklist of preparations to help you have more successful home showings:
- Eliminate clutter – Clear off counters, floors, and other surfaces; pack away unnecessary or out-of-season items; store extra furniture; clean out the garage
- Let there be light – Clean windows to let in more natural light, and keep blinds, curtains, or shades open; replace burned-out light bulbs and install higher wattage bulbs in low-light sections of your home; clean walls or apply a fresh coat of neutral but bright paint
- Clean, clean, clean – Start with a deep clean, preferably from a cleaning service, before listing your home; it’s worth the investment to simplify upkeep, as your home should be spotless at each showing
- Make everyone comfortable – Make your home temperate throughout; if necessary, close some or all of the A/C vents on the first floor so more cold air flows upstairs in the summer; close some or all of the upstairs vents if necessary when running the heat in cold weather
- Eliminate odors – Wash carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, drapes, etc. to get rid of smells; open windows to replace stale inside air with fresh outdoor air; use mild potpourri, scented candles, or diffusers; soak cotton balls in vanilla extract and leave them in the fridge and around the house for a few hours before showings (remember to collect them all and toss them before people arrive); boil lemon juice, then lightly coat the inside of the dishwasher with it and pour some into the garbage disposal; take out all the trash beforehand
- Make minor repairs – Take care of doors that squeak or stick, leaky faucets, ripped screens, cracks, holes, and other damage that gives the impression that the property hasn’t been well cared for
- Create curb appeal – Tend to your yard; mow the lawn, trim trees and bushes, rake the leaves, lay fresh mulch, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters; consider placing a pot of fresh, bright, welcoming flowers near the front door
- Create bathroom appeal – There’s no overstating the importance of bathrooms when selling your home; don’t leave any of your personal toiletry items or old towels in sight; make sure every inch of every bathroom is immaculate; hang new shower curtains and place brand new fancy soaps
- Don’t leave valuables or medications around – Realtors do their best to keep an eye on everyone in your home, but it’s impossible to watch all the people all the time
- Clear out the pets – Leave them at your neighbor’s house or with another trusted caregiver; if you really can’t find somewhere to bring them, crate them and be sure to give your Realtor advanced notice that they’re there
- Clear out the people – It’s often awkward for everyone involved when the home owner or any of the family is present during a showing; avoid this by going out with the entire family before any potential buyers arrive and staying out until they’re all gone