Once your home is officially on the market, it will be seen widely online through distribution to 900+ websites, including those of competing brokerages. There's a saying in real estate: the first showing is always online. If buyers (and their agents) like what they see, the next step will be to schedule an appointment to see your home. Using an appointment scheduling tool such as ShowingTime will allow you to set the parameters for when and how you want your home shown, such as how much advance notice is required to show. In our area, confirmed showing appointments are required before using the lockbox to enter your house. It's always best to leave for showings, if possible, so your potential buyers can speak freely to their agent. There's nothing like overhearing a buyer exclaim, "oh, I LOVE this kitchen"...and then asking, "What IS that funny smell in the fridge?" to cloud your judgement when it comes to negotiating price and terms.
There are some basics to keep in mind from Day One: everything should smell fresh without added fragrances from candles or room deodorizers. Objectionable odors are the #1 buyer turn-off and we tend to become "nose blind" to how our homes smell. Ask me - or a trusted friend or neighbor - what they smell when they enter your home. Sometimes a thorough cleaning or carpet or upholstery cleaning can do the trick. There's a lot we can do to freshen your home if it smells like pets, gym socks, or strong cooking odors - just ask. The #2 buyer turn-off? Dirt. We live in our homes and don't walk around with a dust cloth or spray bottle of Windex - but when your home is on the market, it should be clean. The reality is that while we can completely ignore our own dirt, other people's dirt has a yuck factor that it's hard to overcome.
Got these under control? Here is my How to be Showing Ready checklist to make sure your home shows at its best EVERY time. You can download a printer-friendly copy here to keep for easy reference - although these tips will become second nature very quickly!
Before you leave the house:
- Turn on all the lights
- Make sure all drapes and shades are open.
- Heat or air conditioning is turned to a comfortable temperature
- All wastebaskets and kitchen garbage are emptied.
- Any jewelry and medications are securely stored.
- Any pet food dishes, toys, leashes are out of sight; litter boxes clean and in an inconspicuous location.
- All toilet seats are down-and make sure toilets are flushed!
- Toiletries are put away in bathroom, including shower/bath.
- Towels are neatly folded.
- Everything is immaculately clean.
- All dishes are done.
- All food is put away.
- Countertops are clear and clean.
- Kitchen is spotless.
Bedrooms & Living Areas
- Laundry put away.
- Beds are made and look comfortable and inviting.
- Personal items are stored away.