Preparing your house for a showing is hard work, but it’s good to remember you’re not on your own. Having a checklist and a trusted REALTOR® to turn to for advice can make your life easier and stress-free. Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” from F.C. Tucker agents whose home showings have made properties practically fly off the market:
- Do listen to your agent’s advice
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of listening to your agent’s advice when preparing your home for a showing. It’s a phrase you may hear often, but “we do this all the time!” Your agent will provide you with a checklist of the do’s and don’ts of preparing for a house showing. Follow it.
- Do plan to be away from home during the showing
A buyer should be able to visualize your home as their own, and it helps if you are not in it. Buyers will feel less rushed and more willing to ask frank questions of the real estate agent if you are not there. Remember that your goal is to sell your home, and you want to create the optimal conditions to accomplish that quickly.
- Do present a pet-free environment
Even the most ardent pet lovers won’t appreciate the presence of your pets or any signs that pets are living in your home. Make arrangements for your pets to be off-site during a showing, and stow litter boxes, food and water bowls, and any pet toys out of sight. Clean hair and dander off any surfaces where your pets frequently sit, and use a neutral air freshener whether or not you can smell anything. Remember, you may have turned nose-blind to pet smells in your home.
- Don’t cook foods whose smells linger
Do not plan a fish fry or a big bacon-and-eggs breakfast in the days before showing your home. Avoid cooking broccoli, cabbage, onions, garlic, popcorn and any strong-smelling foods. Strong food smells can linger in a home for days and will be a strong negative for buyers.
- Don’t leave prescriptions medications and valuables behind
There are two reasons for removing prescription medications and valuables such as jewelry from your home while it is being shown. First, removing personal items allows potential buyers to see your home as their own, which is proven to move home sales more quickly. And second, removing prescriptions and valuables will give you peace of mind that these items are safe and secure during a showing and will eliminate any potential temptation on the part of visitors.
- Do pay attention to lighting, interior, and exterior
Your house will impart a feeling of welcoming warmth during a showing when lit properly inside and out. There are many beautiful and affordable options for creatively lighting your home, including recessed, walkway and landscape lighting. Always turn on lamps and other lights in every room, and open shades and curtains. However, avoid allowing direct sunlight to stream into a room, which can make your home look dusty even after you’ve just cleaned it.
- Do keep your home at the proper temperature
It’s best not to keep your house too hot or too cold during a showing. The ideal temperature is between 70 and 74 degrees. Pay attention to times of the day when certain rooms are likely to be warmer and adjust your thermostat accordingly. For example, during summer you may want to set the thermostat at a lower temperature if you are showing your home in the afternoon and the entrance faces west.
- Do make sure your home is sparkling clean and thoroughly decluttered
A sparkling clean, decluttered house is key for making a good impression on a potential buyer. You should have performed a major top-to-bottom cleaning and removed all personal items, knickknacks and family photos from your home well before your open house. On the day of your showing, give everything a good once-over. Wipe down windows, sinks, countertops, and appliances. Remove trash, put clothing out-of-sight and run a duster over furniture and walls to remove dust and dust bunnies.
- Do think about potential buyers as your guests
Think about the special touches you might use to spruce up your décor before guests arrive. You’d put clean towels in all the bathrooms and add some fresh flowers or cut lavender to a console table in the foyer area. The beds would be made perfectly and the bedspreads smoothed. You may even have some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies on hand. Whatever you do to make your guests feel at home will work like magic to make potential home buyers feel that your home is theirs!
- Don’t take comments about your house personally
Your agent will give you feedback from visitors to your open house. It’s important to have a thick skin and not take any constructive advice personally. In the end, you all want the same thing, which is to sell your house, and it can pay to listen to others who view your home more objectively than you do.