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Preparing Your Home For Showing

Is Your Home Ready? Don't Show It Till You Know It!
Dress Your House for Success
Selling Your House for the Best Price in the Least Amount of Time

Now that you've made the decision to sell your home, you'll want to look at it differently. It's now a house for sale and looking at it through "buyers' eyes" can help you package it to sell more quickly.

The videotape from your real estate professional can give you ideas and help you with the process. This checklist can help you organize what needs to be done.

Dressing your house for success doesn't need to be expensive or overly time consuming. You can borrow or rent the "extras" like decorative house plants or lawn furniture to make your house really memorable. And, if you don't have enough time to do cleaning or repair work, consider hiring a professional. It could save you time and money later.

As you use the checklist, consult with your real estate professional to establish your plan. They know best what is important to buyers in your market and you'll want to concentrate on those things that really make the difference toward a successful sale.

Where Do I Start

When you begin preparing your house for market, start outside and work your way in, keeping in mind the importance of first impressions.

It is estimated that more than half of all houses are sold before the buyers even get out of their cars! Stand across the street from your house and review its curb appeal. What can you do to improve that very first impression?

When you're ready to begin work. use the checklist and add your own "To Do" list in the blank space provided. The checklist follows six important steps to packaging your house. Even if you can't get to every
detail, the checklist will help you keep in mind the basic steps.

Remember, you need to think like a buyer now and have a critical eye!

Six Key Steps

Un-cluttering makes every room look larger and feel neater. If a house is cluttered, buyers have trouble imagining themselves in it. By removing or storing things you don't need. you create a roomy, comfortable feeling that will be inviting to prospective buyers. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out. sell it or give it away!

Cleaning makes your house easy for buyers to explore and gives the impression that it has been well cared for. Be sure every room smells as good as it looks, paying special attention to pet areas, nurseries and bathrooms. Some fresh paint and a one-time professional cleaning service can make your house look like new!

Repairing eliminates buyers' objections before they arise. If you think something is too much trouble to fix, chances are buyers will, too. Buyers tend to think repairs will cost more than they do.

Neutralizing helps buyers see their own things in your house and picture themselves living there. Neutral paint, decor and carpeting create a home for any lifestyle. Eliminating distracting colors and accessories lets buyers concentrate on positive impressions.

Dynamizing™ makes the exterior and every room of your house special. Since it is competing with many other houses on the market, you need to make it stand out and be memorable. Look in magazines and catalogs for ideas. From the front door to the basement, from fresh flowers to fresh smells, this is the finishing touch!

SHOWTIME! is the final step before each time your house is shown. Identify jobs and assign them to make this step Quick and easy. If you keep up daily, SHOWTIME! will be easier for you and your family. Plan a fun
activity -away from the house -during showings.

Exterior/Curb Appeal


  Lawn/garden - mow, trim, weed, water, pick up.
  Pet areas - clean up, re-sod spots as needed.
  Extra vehicles -remove from curb view

  Windows -wash inside and out.
  Walks and driveway -sweep and remove stains.
  Siding/brick or stucco -hose down.

  Doors and windows -repair screens, glass and door hardware.
  Siding -repair or paint as needed.
  Fences -repair or paint as needed.
  Sidewalks and driveway -repair as needed

  Lawn areas -remove any distracting decorations

  Add a large plant, wreath or doormat at entrance
  Add potted or hanging flowers to deck or porch
  Borrow lawn furniture
  Add new house numbers or a brass door fixture
  Add fresh layer of rock or bark if needed


  Counters -clear extra appliances, accessories, etc.
  Cupboards -remove and pack extra dishes, food
  Memo areas -straighten and remove papers

  Cupboards -wipe inside and polish cabinets
  Vents, exhaust hoods -clean and deodorize
  Appliances -clean thoroughly inside and out
  Sinks -polish and clean, remove stains
  Floors and walls -scrub and wax floors
  Garbage, produce areas -clean and deodorize

  Faucets -repair leaks
  Appliances -check bulbs, replace parts
  Wall and ceiling cracks -patch and paint

  Walls -use neutral paint and wallpaper

  Clean or replace reflector plates
  Add a new throw rug
  Add green or flowering plants


  Counters -clean, pack and store
  Vanities, medicine cabinets and linen closets organize, pack and store

  Vanities-clean inside, scrub and polish outside
  Sinks, tub and shower -remove stains and mold
  Mirrors and chrome -polish to a sparkle
  Floors and walls -scrub clean and deodorize

  Toilets and plumbing -make needed repairs
  Grout and caulking -patch as needed
  Wall and ceiling cracks -patch and paint as needed

  Walls-use neutral paint and wallpaper
  Shower curtain and towels -use basic colors

  Add scented soaps or a candle
  Purchase or borrow "show" towels and accessories

Entryway/Living and Dining Room/Family Room

  Coffee and end tables -remove papers, etc.
  Furniture -rearrange for openness, remove and store as needed
  Plants -remove extra or unhealthy plants
  Bookshelves/office areas -straighten, pack, store

  Carpet -spot clean, consider professional service
  Furniture and woodwork -polish
  Lighting fixtures -clean and polish to a sparkle
  Hardwood floors -wash and shine

  Wall and ceiling cracks -repair and paint

  Walls -use neutral paint and wallpaper

  Use logs and fireplace accessories
  Put linens on table and server
  Use flowers and potpourri
  Drape an afghan over a chair or couch
  Rearrange pictures to highlight special areas



  Children's play areas -straighten, store extra toys
  Closets -straighten, box and store
  Furniture -remove extra items and rearrange to enhance space

  Carpet -clean and deodorize in nursery
  Drapes and curtains -wash or dry clean
  Lighting fixtures -wash and clean bulbs

  Wall and ceiling cracks -repair as needed

  Walls-use neutral paint and wallpaper
  Bedspreads -use basic colors and patterns
  General decor -remove distracting posters, etc.

  Arrange toys to look fun and inviting
  Open a book on a night stand
  Add a flowering plant
  Add curtains or valances to rooms without them
  Arrange decorative pillows or shams on bed


  Tool, shop and laundry areas -straighten, box and store
  Rec room -straighten play areas, store extra toys
  Garage -store lawn/garden tools and equipment

  Floors -sweep, clean grease spots
  Walls and ceilings -remove cobwebs
  Windows -clean
  Pet areas -clean thoroughly and deodorize

  Appliances -be sure furnace, water heater, etc. are in working order
  Pipes, laundry connections -check and make repairs as needed

  Walls and floors -consider spray painting and throw rugs

  Arrange laundry supplies to suggest ease of work
  Arrange games in play areas
  Display a project in work or hobby areas

The final check of the details that can make your house memorable.

  Open shades and drapes
  Open windows to freshen rooms
  Arrange fresh flowers throughout
  Turn on lights
  Prepare a fire for open houses
  Set out a game, a book, a hobby project
  Set tables with flowers and linens
  Set out "show" towels
  Make sure rugs are clean and straight
  Empty wastebaskets
  Pick up dirty clothes
  Deodorize pet areas
  Play soft music and turn off television
  Set a comfortable temperature
  Do a "once-over" cleaning -vacuum, sweep and dust
  Final check every room

  Pick up lawn tools and toys
  Pick up after pets
  Remove obstructions from curb view
  Clear driveways and walk areas
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