Remove all clutter from the house.
• Are countertops clean and free of clutter (almost everything off the counters)?
• Has any unnecessary furniture been removed?
• Have you removed pictures, coupons, and extra magnets from the refrigerator?
• Are the family room and bedrooms picked up, with beds made?
• The kitchen trash should be emptied before a showing.
• Vacuum the floors every morning.
Check the bathrooms.
• Are all surfaces clean and free of clutter?
• Are shower curtains or doors hung properly?
• Is the floor clean and fresh?
• Are towels clean and neatly hung?
• Are the plumbing fixtures drip-free?
Check the garage.
• Try your best to keep it organized and free of clutter.
• Leave the cars out of the garage when the house is to be shown.
Check the closets.
• Clean out the closets, removing as much clutter as possible, so the closets look roomy and spacious (the same applies to cabinets)
Check the walls.
• Is the paint and wallpaper fresh and clean?
• Are the walls free from holes?
• Are there any colors or objects on the walls that need to be removed?
• Have you removed family photos from hallway and living room walls? (These are ok on dressers or entertainment centers, but it’s better to let the buyers imagine their own pictures on the walls).
Check the floors.
• Are the carpets and hard floors clean and free from stains?
Check windows and window coverings.
• Are all the windows clean?
• Are draperies and blinds clean?
Check the appliances.
• Thoroughly clean all appliances inside and out, even if they are not included with the house.
Check for odors.
• Have you removed any strong or unpleasant odors?
• Try to air out the home prior to showings.
• Don’t use any strong air fresheners or potpourri, as some buyers may be allergic.
Check the lighting.
• Make sure all bulbs are working and in place.
• Before the house is to be shown, turn on all the lights.
Remove pet clutter and debris.
• Is the litter box clean, and has any stray kitty litter been removed?
• Are the pet toys put away?
• Is the pet bedding clean?
• Have you removed pet hair from furniture?
Check the fireplace.
• Clean out the fireplace and surrounding area.
• If it’s a cold or gloomy day, have a fire lit.
Set the mood prior to showings.
• Open all window coverings.
• Flowers placed throughout the home can do wonders, and help buyers remember your house.
• Let the radio play a classical music station at a low volume.
• If you know the day your house will be shown and have time, buy a loaf of frozen bread or a batch of cookies and bake them before the showing (for the aroma). If you don’t bake, a cookie sheet sprinkled with cinnamon in a warm oven for a while does the trick.
• The master bath should also have a pleasing aroma. Some cheap scented bubble bath, and half a tub full of water leaves a pleasing atmosphere (be sure to drain the water before the showing).
Remove controversial items.
• Animal heads on the wall, any books or magazines the may be provocative or controversial could turn buyers off. It’s best to play it safe.
If possible, you should leave the premises when the house is to be shown to potential buyers. Your presence makes the buyers uncomfortable and the may not linger long enough, or be honest with their agent if they think you can overhear their conversation.