Let’s be honest.  In the day-to-day routine of life, most people’s homes don’t look as clean and tidy as they do in the real estate for sale photos.  Yet, a buyer probably chose to look at your home in person because of the way your home looked in the photos. 

It can be a bit jarring when an enthusiastic buyer enters your home and finds it in complete disarray with cluttered countertops, neglected toilet seats and overflowing litter boxes.  

Luckily, you have control over how your house looks to a potential buyer.  While it’s not fun to tidy up every single day, you can give yourself the best advantage by following these basic guidelines. 

Most clients tell me that after a few days the preparations become part their morning or evening cleaning ritual.   Even though it may seem like a hassle, a little preparation can go a long way in making your home appeal to potential buyers.   


  1. Open window blinds and draperies to let in that beautiful natural light.
  2. Clear clutter off the countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, including tucking toiletries out of sight.
  3. Wipe the kitchen and bathroom counters clean.
  4. Clean and store any dirty dishes.
  5. Straighten couch pillows and throws.
  6. Push in all dining or kitchen chairs. 
  7. Put away any extraneous mail, newspapers, or papers.
  8. Empty all interior trash cans.
  9. Put out crisp towels that are neatly folded or rolled.  
  10. Flush all toilets.
  11. Make sure closets are tidy with extra-space on display.
  12. Don’t leave any clothes piled on the floor or furniture.   
  13. Ensure there are no piles of clothes in the laundry room, even folded laundry.
  14. Make all of the beds.
  15. Sweep and/or vacuum the floors
  16. Remove any dead or wilted plants.
  17. Check for offending odors, and spray deodorizer or light a candle if needed.
  18. Replace any burned out light bulbs, and clean any light fixtures that are collecting dead bugs.
  19. Make sure the garage is tidy.
  20. Put the exterior trash cans out of sight.
  21. Tidy up after the pets.  Clean the cat litterbox and scoop any dog poop from the front or back yard. 
  22. Make appropriate daily arrangements for the pets, whether its crating, sequestering, or sending to doggie daycare. 
  23. For bonus points, set fresh flowers out in the kitchen.

Eliminate any obstacles or distractions

Try to allow every single showing that is requested.  Eliminate showing restrictions that prevent buyers from seeing your home, like 2 hour notice or only during work hours.  

Also, vacate the premises.  Give the buyers space and time to view your home without you watching over their shoulders. 

We're here to make it easy

We’re here to make the process of selling your home as easy as possible.  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about these preparations or want more strategies to ensure your home sells quickly and for top dollar.  

Preparing your home for a showing

© 2017

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