Preparing Your Home for Showings: A Checklist
Having your home on the market while you still live there can be quite difficult. After all, home showings can happen at any point in time, and while you may be given quite a bit of notice for one, you might only get ten to fifteen minutes before potential buyers arrive on that next showing. Learning how to present a house for sale is difficult, but there are a few things that can help. These tips for preparing your home to show will be a boon every time a realtor calls to arrange a showing. You may even want to download and print this checklist.
Before You List Your Home
The most important steps you can take are those you do before you ever even put your home on the market.
___Depersonalize: The process all starts in your mind. You’ll have to detach yourself from your home emotionally and what’s inside. That usually means depersonalizing everything in your house. For example, if your fireplace mantel is filled with family pictures, the time to take those down and put them away is right now. Pack up anything that makes your home feel like your own. Instead, create a vibe that anyone could live in this beautiful space.
___Declutter: The next step begins with looking at everything you’ve accumulated and getting rid of a lot of it or at least packing it away and storing it. You want to be able to show off that beautiful big storage room or closet, and the only way to do that is to get rid of the plastic totes and bins that are currently clogging up that area.
If you’re not sure whether to get rid of certain items, pack them away and put them in a storage facility until after you’ve moved so you can decide whether you want them in your new house. You’ll want to remove anything that affects a buyer’s sightline, and you may need to remove some furniture too. Your goal is to create big, open spaces that look fairly neutral (as if anyone could live there).
___Deep Clean: Working in a room by room manner, you’ll want to address absolutely every surface in each room. Don’t forget to do things like washing the windows, clean the curtains, steam clean carpets, and address the baseboards. All of your appliances should be as clean as possible, even the dishwasher. If you’re concerned you might not be able to get your home clean enough, consider hiring a professional. It might save you quite a bit of time and hassle in the long run.
While It’s On the Market
Ensuring you tackle those steps before you put your home on the market is an excellent way to get started, but you’re far from done. Each day, you’ll need to work to maintain your progress if your home is going to look great for every single showing.
___Make the Beds: The bedrooms can make or break a home sale, so you want them to look amazing. Think about entering a beautiful hotel room. You want your space to reflect that ambiance - cool, clean, and relaxing.
___Address the Dishes: Dishes can pile up in almost any household, but while your home is on the market, you’ll need to stay on top of your dishes. Run the dishwasher every night, and put away the dishes the following day. If you hand wash your dishes, make sure they’re not on the counter to dry but in their place each day. Never leave dishes in the sink or the dishwasher while your house is on the market.
___Handle the Laundry: Laundry is an issue for many people, but the key to handling it while your home is on the market is to do so frequently. Complete at least a load of laundry every day, and make sure you fold and put away the clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Don’t leave any laundry out of a hamper or a drawer when you’re showing your home.
___Sweep and Vacuum: Tackle your floors every morning before you leave the house. Wood and linoleum surfaces should be swept each day. Carpeted surfaces and rugs should be vacuumed every morning.
___Wipe Down the Countertops: You want to make an impression with your kitchen and bathrooms, so wipe down all of your countertops every single morning. Disposable wipes like Clorox wipes are a lifesaver when you’re trying to sell your home, so keep them handy near every countertop in your home.
___Clean the Sinks: Believe it or not, sinks can be a selling point in your home. Keep them as clean as possible by addressing them every single day. A simple wipe down should do it in most cases, but you want to make sure they sparkle.
___Remember the Mirrors: Many people overlook the mirrors in a home, so be sure to keep your window cleaner handy and wipe your mirrors down each day. Decorative mirrors that are rarely used can probably be addressed just a few times a week, but the bathroom mirrors should be cleaned every day.
Right Before a Showing
Keeping you with your daily work will make cleaning up right before a showing simple. The moment you get the call, make sure you tackle these tasks.
___Secure Your Valuables: Whether you have change laying on your dresser, prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, or financial documents on your desk, consider investing in a locked file cabinet to help secure all of your personal information and valuables during every single showing.
___Hide Daily Clutter: Create a container in each room so you can quickly clear the clutter that you use daily. A simple bin in most rooms will do it. From the hairbrush and nail polish that your teenager leaves on her bathroom counter to the junk piling up in the office, having these quick hideouts for clutter will be a lifesaver.
___Ditch the Pet Supplies: Some buyers aren’t happy about animals, so be sure you remove the crate, toys, and food bowls from sight. You may even want to create a bin in the corner of the garage or someplace similar so you can hide all of the pet supplies after you get the call. Be sure to take your animal with you when you leave for a showing, too!
___Turn On the Lights: Buyers love light, so open all of your curtains and flip on all of the lights to make sure they can see just how bright your space can be. Be sure you turn on the accent lights as well.
___Final Touches: Right before you leave, put all of the toilet seats down, smooth out those comforters, open the interior doors, and make sure the temperature is just right!
It may be challenging to learn how to present a house for sale while you’re still trying to live in it from day to day, but with this checklist, every single home showing should go a bit smoother.