There are many things that need to be addressed before property showings. For the most part, these things involve using common sense, for example, removing bad odors and unsightly messes. It is simply a matter of addressing all the things that can interfere with a buyer’s falling in love with your property and making a good offer. But, not everything that should be done is obvious to all sellers. And in the rush to prepare for a showing appointment, it’s easy to miss something important. So here’s a checklist of things to do before showings. Of course, some of the items (like removing small valuable objects) can be done once and left that way until the property sells, whereas other things (like taking out the garbage) must be done every time.

1. Remove your pets from the property

Your pets may be sweet and adorable – to you!  But there are buyers who are afraid of pets, and there are buyers who are allergic them. Those buyers will not even set a foot in your property, let alone buy it, if a pet is inside.  And remember to address any kitty litter odors.

2. Leave the place well lit

Open the shades, blind, drapes.  Replace bulbs that burnt out since the last showing. Turn on lights. But, make sure that you don’t go to the extreme…at night you don’t want it to look like an airport.  So, work with your agent upfront to develop a plan regarding what to turn on, dim, open, etc. for each showing.

3. Hide small valuable objects

You don’t want to leave out anything that could find its way into someone’s pocket.  That includes art objects, prescription pain pills, gold pens, jewelry, etc.

4. Prep tv and stereo

Turn off tv.  Stereo and radios should be either turned off, or tuned to music that your agent approves of, and at a volume that your agent approves of as well.

5. Hide personal photos

If a home  is loaded with photos of the owners, their family and friends, it is difficult for buyers to visualize themselves living there.  It is also distracting to buyers, especially if they know people in the pictures. You may want to remove some pictures for the duration or you may want to address this item before each showing.

6. Tidy up

Make the beds, put away or hide laundry and dirty clothes – especially underwear – and generally pick up.

7. Moderate the temperature

Set thermostats, A/C, radiators, fans, and windows so that the temperature will be approximately 68-70 degrees.  This holds for all seasons. If people are uncomfortable, they are unlikely to bond with your property.

8. Take out the garbage

Emptying the trash is a good idea, but emptying smelly garbage is essential.  And don’t forget that after spending time in the house, you may be less sensitive to garbage odors than someone entering the house.

9. Clean out the kitchen sink

At best, dishes in the sink are a disturbing site to tidy buyers.  At worst, there are issues of odors as well.

10. Throw out fresh flowers that have seen better days

Like dishes in the sink, it is a visual issue as well as a matter of odors.

11. Address smoking odors

If anyone smokes in the house, you need to clean out ashtrays and do thorough airing out before showings. Consider using an odor neutralizing spray that doesn’t have a scent of its own.  Better yet, make one big effort at the beginning of the process to address smoke odors by shampooing rugs and washing or dry cleaning drapes in addition to airing out the place. Then turn the property into a no smoking zone for the duration.

12. Address cooking odors

This is similar to addressing smoking odors.  You can air out the property for each showing, or you make a big push to remove odors up front, then – for the duration – avoid cooking foods that generate strong odors.  Do you remember when people used to bake cookies or bread before showings because they smell so appealing and homey? With all the allergies and special diets these days, it’s probably not such a good idea anymore.

13. Remove yourself from the property

Of course, you can’t do this unless you have an agent to show the property.  Some owners think that they are the only ones capable of explaining certain things about their property. If you can explain it, a properly prepared listing agent can explain it. And the agent knows when to be quiet, whereas sellers invariably are too emotionally involved to know when to back off.  In addition – as is the case with pictures – when a seller is present, it is harder for the buyer to visualize living in the property and calling it home.

Now that you have reviewed this detailed list, you can use the table of contents right after the photo above as a handy checklist…it has only one line per item. And if you would like a checklist tailored to your home, call Chris at 857- 829-0282 or email him at

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