Home Buyers start forming an opinion about your home the minute they drive up. In most cases, the longer the buyers stay, the greater their interest. As a Home Seller, your goal should be to keep those buyers interested and engaged in your home for as long as possible.
The most effective way to accomplish this is by having your home in what we “show-ready condition”. Show Ready means the home is clean, staged, and prepped in order to create the most favorable impression possible.
The path to “Show Ready Condition” starts with a complete de-cluttering, deep cleaning, and finally, staging. You should get help on staging either from a professional stager or your Realtor.
Pro-Tip*- Once the home is staged, take pictures in each room of the results, you will use this as your baseline. Use these photos before each showing in order to make sure everything is in the right place.
You’ve spent time and money staging the property, so you don’t want the buyers to be distracted by a simple housekeeping mistake. In addition to making sure your staging is executed correctly, you will want to give the entire house a good once over to make sure you haven’t missed something that could reflect poorly on your home.
Here is our “Show Ready Condition” checklist. Use this before every showing to make sure you don’t miss something important. You can download/print this checklist here!
- Open drapes, shades, blinds. If the view is of something like your neighbor’s A/C unit, just open enough to let light in while obscuring the A/C unit.
- Turn on lights to make your home look bright and cheerful. This is something you can cover with your stager, you want to create a feel, not light a runway.
- Pick up shoes, toys, and any other items that might be scattered around.
- Put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher and close it. Maybe even run it, especially if the unit is quiet.
- Empty all trash. Nothing turns off a buyer more than smelly trash.
- Wipe down all countertops and tables.
- Make all beds.
- Run the vacuum.
- Put away all clothes.
- Make sure all dirty clothes are out of sight.
- Make sure rooms smell good, spray a deodorizer if necessary. Be careful on this one, you don’t want to mask nasty odors, you want to eliminate them. Like trash, nasty odors kill sales.
- Make sure any medications are out of sight.
- Pro Tip* Turn oven on to 250 degrees. Put a small amount of vanilla extract on a piece of foil into the oven. This will simulate the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Yummy!
- Turn off all televisions. You can play soft music at a low volume in the background only.
- Make sure all papers, mail, bills, and any other confidential materials are out of sight.
- Secure any jewelry, cash, or other valuables.
- Adjust the temperature; make sure your home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
All of this adds up to a lot of work but the good news is that if you follow this process you should have your home “Under Contract” no time at all. Once under contract, you can certainly relax your showing prep routine but don’t completely abandon it. You are going to want to have the home in show-ready condition for both the Home Inspection and again for the Appraisal. Remember these are both contingencies to the contract and opportunities for the buyer to back out of the contract. Don’t drop the ball in the home stretch, it could cost you significant time and money.
Getting your home in the show-ready condition is a lot of work but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Studies show that property condition affects the price a seller can expect to get from a home sale. Remember that when you put your home on the market you are no longer a homeowner you have become a home seller. This means your focus should switch from comfort to profit as well.