Remove Clutter: Potential home buyers want to see spacious homes when touring, and packing up the clutter does exactly that. Make sure to clear off counters and pack unnecessary decorative items as well.
Lock up Valuables and Medication: Strangers will be waltzing through your home so it is crucial to lock away any and all valuables, including your medication. Another key item to protect would be your personal information. Be wary to not leave private information laying around the house, such as mail, bills or bank statements. When staging a home, agents will normally request you to remove family photos, which can also help protect your family’s privacy.
Let it shine: Cleaning windows and screens will help bring more light into your home. Replace any missing or burnt light bulbs. Clean the walls or brush on a fresh coat of bright, neutral paint. When preparing for an open house or showing, removing the window screens adds a bit more light. Keep them in a safe place when storing, as the new homeowners will most likely want to put them back up after the home closes escrow.
Make the exterior appealing: You only have one opportunity to make a great first impression. Beautiful exteriors are an excellent way to attract attention to your home. Make sure the yard is clean and your garden is alive before putting your home on the market. Also consider a fresh coat of paint on your exterior doors, shutters or possibly the whole exterior, if applicable.
Odors: Lighting a scented candle or setting up an air freshener can help with odors and bring a fresh scent throughout the home. Some of the best smells are lemon, cedar, pine, vanilla, citrus, basil and cinnamon. Keep in mind that you want the scent to be familiar, but not overbearing.
Pets: Send the pets to a neighbor or a friend. If that’s not possible, crate or confine them to one room, and let the real estate agent know where they will be to eliminate surprises. Also, make sure to hide or remove the cat sandbox and pick up any waste in the yard. Last thing you want is to hear the feedback about the smell or how a prospective buyer stepped in dog poop while viewing the yard.
Keep it clean: A deep clean before listing your home will make upkeep easier. Consider hiring a cleaning service to help.
Scheduled Showings: Once you have an approved showing, make sure you keep the home neat and tidy and leave all lights on. This will allow the home to feel bright and open when potential buyers tour your home. Most real estate agents will get to the home about 10-15 minutes early to turn the lights on and open window blinds, but that isn’t always possible if multiple homes have been scheduled for the day. Do them and yourself a favor by preparing ahead of time and leaving the lights on for the showings.
Maximize comfort: During the summer, make sure you set the A/C at a comfortable setting. Potential buyers will feel more comfortable viewing the home at a desirable temperature. Reverse the process in the winter. Since we live in the beautiful hot desert of Arizona, the summer months can really heat up. Setting the temperature at a comfortable setting will leave the buyers with a more positive experience versus sweating and feeling very restless in your home. If they are feeling the heat in your home, it might force them to want to cut the showing short and head out early.
Take care of minor repairs: Sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dirty baseboards, broken light switches, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained. Hire a handyman to correct the minor repairs and be sure to keep all receipts.
Set the scene: Accent pillows easily jazz up a dull room. Pretty dishes or a simple centerpiece on the tables can help buyers picture themselves living there. If you have a fireplace, lay fresh logs or a basket of flowers there.
Make the bath luxurious: Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight, along with old towels and toothbrushes. Buyers want to picture themselves in the home and seeing your hairbrush and personal items laying around can really hinder the mood. Consider adding a new shower curtain and fancy guest soaps.
Head out: It can be awkward for everyone if you’re home at the time of a showing. If you really can’t leave, sit outside and give the prospective buyers space. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a seller follow us from room to room. It not only made the buyers uncomfortable, but it made them feel rushed ending the showing sooner than anticipated.