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I'm Moving...Now what? Getting your space ready to show, sell fast, and stress free!

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Getting ready to showcase your home for potential buyers can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. But don't panic, with the right approach and a well-structured plan, you can breeze through the process without feeling overwhelmed. To ensure a successful home showing, it’s essential to create a checklist tailored to your timeline and enlist the support of your family and friends. And remember, to make the most of your efforts, embrace the touch-it-once rule as you are working in each room – streamline your belongings efficiently by packing, donating, selling, or cleaning and staging them. With these valuable insights at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way to presenting your home in the best possible light, leaving a lasting impression on potential buyers, and often sell for more $$$. Let’s dive into the essential steps that will make your home shine!

Show-Ready Checklist:

1. Declutter and Clean: Remove unnecessary items to make your space look spacious and tidy. Deep clean the entire house to leave a good impression on potential buyers.

REALTOR Tip: Take a good look at often overlooked areas like: grime on on light switches and windows, stained grout and carpet/flooring, degreasing kitchen areas and appliances, air vent returns, etc.

2. Depersonalize: Minimize personal items and decor to help buyers envision themselves living in the house.

REALTOR Tip: As you go to each room, make a list. Think about walking into an AirBnB; fresh, clean, well attended to, and ready for all to enjoy. Everything you need and nothing that you don't. That's how each room should look upon entering.

3. Curb Appeal: Spruce up the exterior with fresh paint, well-maintained landscaping, and a welcoming entryway.

REALTOR Tip: First impression time! This is one of the most impactful areas with buyers and you can loose them right here. To ensure you have their attention, fresh flowers or a new plant, nice clean light fixtures, fresh paint on the front door, and clean walkways are all noticed right away. It demonstrates to buyers that your home is well cared for from the very start. Power spraying entryways and windows twice a year, after spring and fall pollen season, to stay on top of things is a great habit to adopt. I update our front porch planters with fresh flowers at the beginning of each new season too.

4. Repair and Maintenance: Fix any visible issues like leaky faucets, chipped paint, or squeaky doors to present a well-cared-for property.

REALTOR Tip: Here's where you may want to phone a friend or call in a favor if you aren't familiar with the ins and outs DIY. If you are handy, most small repairs are easily doable with a few YouTube lessons. If you are at a loss for what to do, call a professional. Chances are your REALTOR has a short list of handymen for a variety of challenges that can help with these small jobs and it will pay for itself once you reach closing.

5. Neutral Colors: Repaint bold-colored walls with neutral tones to appeal to a broader audience.

REALTOR Tip: This is a small investment for a big payoff. You might love red in the dining room, but you limit your buyer pool when you talk about strong colors. Choosing something that might look great in multiple rooms helps to simplify and unify your space.

6. Good Lighting: Ensure each room has adequate lighting to create a bright and inviting atmosphere.

REALTOR Tip: It's not often that I am asked to show a home after dark, so use that natural daylight to your advantage. Open curtains and tilt shades to allow light to fill your rooms. This brings the open feel of outdoors, indoors and creates a feeling of space. This is especially true in lower levels like a basement. If you have no windows, maybe move some light sources from other areas as you pack up. This is where good staging comes in.

7. Staging: Consider staging your home with furniture and decor to showcase its potential and functionality.

REALTOR Tip: Remember when we talked about thinking AirBnb? Let's do that again. As you do your walk initial through, think about how a new buyer might use your room. If it's an unused bedroom a new owner might need an office or craft room. Think outside the box and give used space an identity that adds value in the mind of the buyer.

8. Highlight Selling Points: Showcase unique features and selling points of your home to attract buyers. This portion goes hand in hand with good staging.

REALTOR Tip: This is where the money is for you the seller! Have a fabulous fire pit, or a pool, play these areas up with staging. Even an unfinished basement can be staged in a variety of ways to maximize value as temperature controlled storage, or a gentleman's tool room, a home gym, or kid's indoor play space/flex room. Get creative to style spaces potential buyers.

9. Ask yourself, "Does it smell nice in here?": Eliminate any unpleasant smells by airing out the house and using air fresheners if necessary.

REALTOR Tip: Opening the house up is a great option if weather permits and can add value too. It invites the buyers to explore beyond the doors to see how a space can be enhanced with the option of more space. This makes a huge impact with entertaining spaces, porches off of a bedroom, or walk-out basements. Often times air fresheners can be off putting to those sensitive to strong smells. I recommend using them sparingly if at all.

10. Organize Closets and Cabinets: Buyers will likely check storage spaces, so keep them organized and clutter-free.

REALTOR Tip: Buyers love space! The more roomy and tidy your storage areas are, the more likely a potential buyer is to be able to envision their stuff in there. This really counts in pantry spaces, laundry rooms, and kitchens/baths. Keep it simple and staged to show. To take this a step further, I suggest that buyers use paper plates. This really counts if you have a last minute show request. You may only have an hour before buyers arrive. Trash cans fit into this category too. Empty bins just before you exit if possible.

For closet organization ideas click HERE.

11. Hide Valuables: Keep valuable items, personal documents, and sensitive information out of sight during showings.

REALTOR Tip: You want to make sure that your personal things are secure before a showing. I recommend a tidy up box to make sure that everything is out of sight. These pretty boxes can be placed on a shelf in a closet just before you exit. This is helpful to tidy up and secure lots of items that must not be left out during a visit with buyers. Depending on the room these boxes are perfect to hide toiletries, razors, chargers and cords, pot holders and that random can of cooking spray you use by the stove, etc.

Ideas for boxes click HERE.

12. Photography: High-quality photos of your well-prepared home are essential for online listings.

REALTOR Tip: Your agent will have resources to help guide you in photographs of your home. In addition to beautiful pictures of your space, be sure to include pics of your neighborhood amenities. If you have a picturesque feature on your property like a stream, a walking trail, nearby parks or playgrounds, local attractions, or a highly sought after school district all add value to your home. Drone footage is a new selling feature that sets the scene! This gives buyers a guided tour and can be used in online searches to prompt a showing request. Recent statistics reflect that over half of buyers begin their search for their next home online. Good photos draw in the audience that translates to offers.

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a commission through links provided on this site at no cost to you.

Final Thoughts: You can do this!

These tips give a full spectrum of what to expect when you market your home. Your REALTOR is your wing-man to help you realize your dreams of selling for the highest value sales price. Breaking up your prep and check list into a timeline based on your projected sell date will help you not only to stay on track, but also assist in lowering the stress factor and achieve success. It's important to remember, showing is temporary and so worth the effort! It's okay if it's not perfect, just do your best to prepare, stay ready, and it will pay off!

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