Preparing Your House for Showings

Just like preparing for those holidays, there’s a lot of cleaning involved for the host. But instead of ending the ordeal with a large meal – and quality family time, of course – there’s no turkey or pumpkin pie at the end of this tunnel.
And, depending on how long it takes for your home to sell, cleaning your house to the nth degree is not a one-time thing; it becomes an everyday occurrence – or at least a new ritual before every showing – until your home sells.

While cleaning is the most obvious step in preparing your house for showings, it’s only one of several things to do before inviting prospective buyers into your home.

Deep Cleaning

As mentioned, this is the most important step. Make sure everything sparkles, from the hardwood floors and crystal-clear windows to the kitchen countertops and toilets.

Don’t forget the smaller details, either, such as taking out all the trash, doing a final dusting of the fireplace mantle and making sure all toiletries are tucked away in the medicine cabinet.

Remove Clutter

It can be difficult to set up your home like you’re a professional home stager, especially if you have pets and/or young children. But removing clutter is an absolute necessity before showings.

Fluff your throw pillows, fold and store all blankets and make sure all shoes are stored neatly in the closet. Speaking of closets …

Don’t Forget About Closets

It can be tempting to simply throw everything into a closet the night or an hour before a showing. Doing so certainly declutters the home, but don’t think for a second prospective buyers will simply walk by closets without opening them.

The amount of storage space a home offers can be a pivotal selling point for buyers, so they’ll definitely open them to see where they can store their shoes, winter clothes and sporting equipment. Plus, many people are simply nosy or curious!

Remove Odors

Be smart about what you cook the night before or morning of a showing. That broccoli is certainly good for you and the bacon tasty, but the lingering smell might turn off others.

The same goes for candles or air fresheners. Smells are just like tastes in that everyone’s is different, so try to be as neutral as possible and think ahead so you’re not scrambling to cover up a smell at the last minute.

Highlight Key Areas

Kitchens are traditionally a big selling point, so make sure yours is immaculate. Put away all pots and pans, fold (clean) towels and scrub extra hard to remove all stains from the sink and grease from the oven.

Make sure the countertops are clean enough to eat on and, if you have an island, do the same.

Bathrooms are also important and, like kitchens, often areas where cleaning can be the most difficult. It’s also easy for them to quickly become dirty and undesirable, so make sure the sink, toilet and shower/bath are free of grime and sparkle.

Remove Yourself (and Your Family)

Obviously, you won’t physically be present for the showing. Neither should any of your personal items.

You want prospective buyers to picture themselves calling this house theirs, so remove all family photos and other items such as children’s artwork or report cards.

Open It Up

Open concepts are becoming more and more popular. Outside of major renovations, however, there isn’t much you can do if your home wasn’t built that way.

You can, however, make it easier for prospective buyers and agents to walk through by rearranging the furniture to make the room more inviting and removing bigger pieces of furniture.

Also think about removing other large items that hinder sight lines and might make the space appear smaller than it is.

Don’t Forget About Outside

Don’t overlook the importance of curb appeal. First impressions are key, and the first thing prospective buyers see when pulling up to the house.

Make sure the lawn and landscaping are well manicured and any loose sticks are picked up. Consider adding potted flowers for an extra boost and make sure the driveway and any walking paths are clean and clear of debris.

Step Into Their Shoes

This might be difficult, but try walking through the home as if you’re the prospective buyer.

What looks good? Bad? Does anything negative catch your eye or seem out of place?

You won’t catch everything but, chances are, if something doesn’t look right to you it definitely won’t look right to others.

Keep it Clean!

Hey, life happens and not all of us are Mr. Clean. But try to keep your home as show ready as possible so you’re always prepared for any unexpected showings.

After all, the more showings your home receives, the more likely it will get sold!


Staying organized and setting expectations for what's ahead is critical to setting your home up for success.  Consider using a guide or checklist to prepare for the road ahead.

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