When selling your home, the showing is the perfect opportunity to win over prospective buyers. A clean and staged home generates more offers and a higher sale price. Preparing for showings can be grueling, though. Not only do you have to do the initial work to stage the house, but you have to maintain those results until you accept an offer.
Breaking down the process into smaller steps can make the task feel less overwhelming. Before each show, you can check each item off of your list to ensure that the house is ready. Here are the key steps to prepare for a showing:
Remove Personal Items
Putting away personal items is one of the most important things you can do when staging your home. When showing your home to prospective buyers, the goal is for the house to look as neutral as possible. This allows the buyers to picture themselves in the home.
While selling your home, it’s best to replace personal pictures and decor with more generic pieces. Put away family photos or eccentric decorations, and try to stick to a simple color scheme. Although you probably don’t prefer your home this way, it will help you appeal to buyers.
Decluttering is an obvious but vital step on your checklist. Visual clutter makes your home look smaller and feel more chaotic. If you can make your home perfectly clutter-free, you’ll make a great impression on buyers. This might mean that you have to rent a storage unit for a couple of months or pack some storage bins into your garage. Remember that this is just a temporary change while the house is on the market.
Be as thorough and mindful as possible when decluttering. When clutter stays in your home for a long time, you start to overlook it. You might not even notice the stack of old mail on the counter or the haphazard pile of shoes in the corner. However, buyers will pick up on it all. Closets are particularly important for decluttering because a spacious closet is a major selling point.
Deep Clean Everything
Once your home is free of clutter, it’s time for intense deep cleaning. The two most important rooms to keep sparkling clean are the kitchen and bathroom, but you should try to address every room of the house.
In the kitchen, make sure the insides of all appliances are clean. In the bathroom, clean the tile grout and scrub away any water spots or stains in the shower. Throughout your home, clean the baseboards, dust off all surfaces, and steam clean the carpets. Wash the windows, too, so that plenty of sunlight can come through.
Clean Up Outside
The exterior of your home is the very first thing prospective buyers will see, so your landscaping should be in good condition. Make sure the yard is clear of leaves or other debris, and remove clutter from the porch. You should regularly mow the grass so that you’re always prepared for a last-minute showing. If you don’t have a garden, consider adding some potted flowers to the porch or walkway to give the landscaping some color.
Complete Daily Chores
Continuing to live in your home after deep cleaning and staging it can be challenging. Showings often happen on short notice, so you have to be ready at all times. Completing a daily checklist will help you stay on top of the chores so that you don’t have to panic when your agent calls you about a surprise showing.
If possible, wash the dishes or load the dishwasher after every meal. Wipe down the counters and sinks in the kitchen and bathroom daily, and put away clutter as frequently as possible. Consider keeping your toiletries in a small bin so that you can quickly tuck them away if necessary. Ideally, your home should always be clean enough that you can get ready for a showing within 15 minutes.
Odors are an often-overlooked issue when preparing your home for a showing. If you have a showing scheduled the following day, be careful with what you cook. Certain foods can leave lasting odors no matter how hard you try to cover them up. If you’re selling your home in the summer, keep your windows open to get plenty of fresh air. You could also burn candles or use air freshening sprays to give your home a pleasant odor.
Before a showing, securing your valuables is critical. Unfortunately, criminals sometimes act as home buyers to gain access to people’s possessions. Be sure to put any money, valuable items, financial documents, or prescription bottles in a secure place. You could invest in a small safe or locked file cabinet to store items during showings.
Complete the Final Touches
There are a couple of last touches to complete right before you welcome the buyers into your home. Check that the beds are made and that the bedding is smoothed down, and open all of the interior doors so that the buyers can easily walk through the house. Put the toilet seats down, and open all of the curtains or blinds. Lastly, turn all the lights on throughout the house.
Preparing your home for a showing can take days or weeks of preparation. Once it’s ready, maintaining that staged appearance is a daily effort. Although this may feel tedious, it allows you to schedule last-minute showings while still putting your best foot forward. If you complete a brief checklist every day, scheduling showings will be much less stressful.