Showing Your Home

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions.

The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so:

  • Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting.
  • Paint or replace your front door if it's faded or worn.
  • Add some paint to shutters, trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.
  • Add vibrant plants and put down some fresh mulch.
  • Make sure the lawn is cut and looking tidy.
  • Consider powerwashing your home.

Accentuate the Positive.

"How we live in a home and how we sell a home are often two different things." Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

  • Keep windows and floors clean.
  • Replace faded wallpaper and glue any areas that have come away from the wall.
  • Repair worn woodwork.
  • Repaint scuffed or dirty walls in a light, neutral color.
  • Steam clean carpeting or replace it, if necessary.
  • Repair loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches and other minor flaws.
  • Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.

Try to see your home through the eyes of a buyer and promote the positives, including:

  • Open draperies and curtains to let the light in during the showing. Consider removing or replacing heavy or outdated curtains.
  • Remove all unnecessary clutter from your attic, basement and closets to better display spacious rooms (consider a storage unit or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items).
  • Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture. Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant but don't go overboard!

Display Your Home in the best possible light.

Strategically lighting your home, even during daytime showings, can create a cozy mood and highlight the positives of each room, so:

  • Avoid the use of overhead lighting that can make rooms look washed out.
  • Be creative and arrange lamps to help smaller rooms seem larger, and large rooms seem more intimate.
  • Use lighting to highlight the "living areas" of your home, such as a pair of chairs near a fireplace, or a table in a breakfast nook.


  • Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. Choose one or two appliances/knife block to leave on the counter, tuck everything else away!
  • Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. (A sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
  • In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most display-worthy cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter or consider displaying only decorative items. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
  • Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  • Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls. Remove personal and family photos so the buyers can envision their own family living in your home. Patch and paint if necessary.
  • Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows.
  • Leave on certain lights during the day. During "showings" turn on all lights and lamps.


  • Trim landscaping to reveal architectural details (bottom of windows, etc.). "If they can't see it, we can't sell it."
  • Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage or dispose entirely. 
  • Check gutters and/or roof. Make sure they are swept and cleared of branches, leaves, and debris.
  • Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. Plants are like children - they grow so fast!!
  • Pull weeds and mulch all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
  • Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc.
  • Check paint condition of the house, especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal really works!"

In General

Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale!

Nine Minute Showing Drill

It is possible you will receive a request for a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist to help reduce panic if this situation should arise:

  1. Sound: Turn off all televisions and music. 
  2. Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
  3. Odors: Heat a frozen pastry slowly in the oven while you run out or heat a small pot on the stove and add few drops of vanilla while you quickly tidy up. Candles and air fresheners can work too but don't go overboard!
  4. Kitchen: Wipe kitchen countertops, place all dirty dishes in dishwasher.
  5. Bathrooms: Wipe countertops, flush and close toilet lids. Tuck away your private items. 
  6. Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; tuck away clutter items like remotes, coasters, etc.
  7. Bedrooms: Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
  8. Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walkway and entrance clear.
  9. Children & Pets: They are a distraction, so send them outside or take them with you when you leave. 
  10. Goodbye!: Sorry, but this is the single most important thing you can do during a showing to help sell your home! Even if the showing agent insists that it is okay to stay, it is best if you leave. Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are still there. Please, at the very least, go into the backyard. Even better, go to the store, go for a walk, go to a friend's house!