Putting your house on the market? Check out these tips for showing your house as well as this printable showing checklist to make prepping for a showing easy!
This post is sponsored by Simply Self Storage through an activation with HireInfluence . All opinions and ideas are 100% honest and my own.
Our house has officially been on the market for about a month and while living in your home while it’s on the market isn’t easy, it’s not impossible either.
Based on our experience, I’ve put together some tips for showing your house – things to do before it goes on the market to make showing easier AND tips for when you get actual showings, once your house is on the market. Want moving tips? I’ve got 26 brilliant ones here!
I also put together a house showing checklist, which I’ll be honest was really for my own benefit, but I thought it might be helpful to some of you as well! I can’t be the only one who is constantly trying to remember to take out the trash, make all the beds, and put away the kid’s toys right before a showing right?
Let’s get started with my best tips for getting your house ready to show!
Tips for Showing Your House: Before You List
First Things First
Curb appeal is huge. Make sure your house looks nice from the moment someone pulls up to the house – not just when they walk in through the front door.
This could mean adding flowers, getting the yard weeded, or removing kids’ toys depending on the season. We put our house on the market in the middle of winter so for us it was basically adding mulch, getting rid of an old toddler slide, and cleaning off our patio area.
Store Your Stuff
One of the biggest things you can do to prep for showing your house is to get rid of the non-essentials. If you want to go all KonMari on your stuff, have at it and actually get rid of it. But if you’re more like me and don’t want to actually part with everything – I separate my belongings into three categories.
First, things I want to get rid of. If it’s junk, broken, or trashed in any way – I just put it in the trash. If it’s something that I think people might actually want or use, I donate it. Or if you’re more ambitious than I am, you can totally sell it on local marketplaces as well. I just prefer to get things out of my house as quickly as possible.
Second, things I want to keep but won’t need before we move. This is a huge category for me, especially since we have a new baby on the way (and want to keep all of those baby things) and there are currently tons of clothes I don’t fit into.
You can also go through and pare down your toys, your office supplies, your kitchen, your seasonal items, and more! If you know when you’re going to move and won’t need it, store it. And if you’re not sure when you’re going to move but it’s a full season ahead, store it anyway and just switch things out when the new season hits.
Instead of just putting all of those items into our attic and cluttering up the attic even more than it already is, we decided to go ahead and box them up and store them instead.
If you’re looking for short-term storage until you move out of the house, Simply Self Storage is a great option for local storage. They have various options for all budget and space requirements – so it works great for someone looking to sell a condo or a four-bedroom home! And with over 200 locations nationwide, there’s bound to be a local facility near you.
Best of all – you can sign up and reserve space right now online and your first month is free! Or if you’re not ready to reserve space, they have tons of great year-round promotions for whenever you’re ready.
Worried about your belongings being safe? They have 24/7 camera surveillance, individual access keys, climate controlled units (so necessary here in Texas!) and knowledgeable staff that can help ease any other concerns you may have. They even offer packing supplies to make storing your items even easier!
Finally, the essential things you want to keep in the house while it’s on the market. This should hopefully be the smallest group of things since your goal is to declutter and minimize what’s left in your home.
This should be things like small appliances you use on a daily basis. Shoes you wear all the time. The toys that end up off the shelves on the playroom floor more often than not. If you can live without it for a few months, live without it.
Make the Clutter Cute
After you’ve gone through your stuff, I can almost guarantee your home won’t be clutter free. I mean you still have to live and function in the home after all. One of the best ways to make that stuff still work for you is to do what I call make the clutter cute.
Buy some cheap matching buckets, baskets, and containers and store all of that clutter out of sight in the baskets. I did this for my office, all of our linen closets, the pantry, and even the bathroom cabinets and it’s worked wonders.
Not only do those spaces now look neat and organized, I actually know where things are for once. I’m definitely planning to do the same thing when we move into our new house in Kansas in a few months!
These are just a few of the things you should work on before putting your house on a market. Work with your individual realtor or a real estate professional for more specifics for your house! Now it’s time to talk about once your house is actually on the market and you have a showing scheduled – yay!
Tips for Showing Your House: Before a Showing
If we’re being honest, living in a home that is on the market is its own type of personal purgatory. Seriously. Not only do you have to be on someone else’s schedule if they want to come see your home, you also have to live in a home that is pseudo-ready for a showing at all times. Our home has been on the market for about a month now and I can’t tell you the number of times I had other plans for a day only to have a last-minute showing pop up and throw off all of my plans for the day.
I literally got a call while laying in bed resting (pregnancy and all) asking if we could show the house right now. When I walked out of my bedroom, the people were already sitting in their car outside of the house. Thank goodness we’d already had two showings early that day, so I just had a few things to do before leaving ten minutes later.
You really can’t sell your house without showing it to buyers. And it only takes one showing – one person – to fall in love with your home. So for us, we take every single showing we can even if it disrupts our day and plans.
I’ve put together some tips below along with a house showing checklist that you can print out and use to get your home showing ready every time you get that exciting call. The showing checklist is at the very bottom of the post but read through the tips before you get there because it’ll help explain the checklist a bit more!
Give It 90%
My first and probably biggest tip is to try to keep your house 90% ready to show at all times. I’ve included some other tips and the house showing checklist below to get you through that final 10% but my biggest tip I can give you is to try and keep it 90% all the time.
Some of my favorite tried and true tricks for doing that include:
- Rinsing dishes and putting them in the dishwasher as soon as you use them – not in the sink or on the counter
- Putting things away where they belong instead of making piles to put away later
- Having your kids do a quick pickup before dinner or bedtime every night
- Creating a drop zone for the things you use most (purses, coats, shoes) and actually dropping things there
- Wiping down the bathroom counter after you use it
- Hanging up or putting away up your clothes instead of throwing them on the ground or in a laundry basket
- Rinsing out the shower after every use
- Doing a load of laundry once a day to keep your laundry baskets from overflowing
- Making meals (like this zuppa toscana soup or this almond chicken) that make leftovers you can eat throughout the week instead of cooking every night
If you can keep on top of the mess, it’ll be a heck of a lot easier to get the house ready to show at a moment’s notice.
Space it Out
When it comes to clothes and shoes, less is more. Try to keep few enough clothes and shoes in your closet so that it looks like there’s plenty of space for things. No one wants to see a jam-packed closet – it just highlights that there isn’t enough storage.
If you can’t part with shoes and put them in short-term storage at Simply Self Storage, put them in a storage bucket that you keep accessible like in your attic or storage space. You’ll be able to get them if you need them without adding more clutter to the closet.
Make the Bed
This should be a no-brainer but make sure to make all the beds. And if you’re like us and have kid-centric comforters or multiple blankets you sleep with, switch the bedding with something that looks more neutral, less personal.
We actually have a white bedding set that we basically roll up and roll down for all of our showings. We don’t use it for actually sleeping – our actual bedding gets folded up and put in the closet – we just use it to make the bed look nice and neat without having to deal with washing our bedding.
Same thing with my kiddo’s room. He has a dinosaur comforter and pillows that he loves, but we switch it out for a neutral black and white down one along with gray pillows. His stuffed animals go with the dinosaur bedding out of sight in the closet.
I’m a big sucker for homemade cookies and fresh flowers. We actually bought our current house, or at least I say we did, because the builder always had these fresh chocolate chip cookies on hand.
Since cookies aren’t really an option for most people, go with fresh flowers instead. They add a pop of color, warmth, and life to a house that can otherwise often feel a little cold and empty. Just make sure they aren’t dead or wilting, which can have the exact opposite effect!
Put It Away
If you’re wondering what to do with something like the remote controls, your kid’s latest art project, a book you’re reading, I stick with this rule of thumb – when it doubt, put it away.
Take things off surfaces. Put away bathroom products. Move your kids’ favorite stuffed animals from the bed to a basket in the closet.
I’ve watched enough HGTV shows to know that personal belongings don’t sell – people want to be able to imagine themselves in your home. Pretty sure the family with a little girl isn’t going to be super excited about making my son’s bedroom her own with his dinosaur comforter and pillows. Help them imagine their life in your home by giving them a blank, okay maybe not quite blank, but a neutral slate to start from.
Let In the Light
When we were looking for homes, we specifically were looking for homes with lots of light. I’m guessing we’re not the only ones.
Open your blinds and turn on the lights to show off all the light your home has to offer. This is a good chance to make sure all of your lightbulbs not only work but match as well. If they don’t replace them and help show off your house in its best light.
Finish it Off
Right before you leave the house for a showing, do one quick sweep – literally. Sweep or vacuum any last-minute areas that get regular foot or food traffic.
For us, it’s right along the edge of the dining room rug, where we put our shoes in the mud room, and right inside the front door. If you’ve had a showing recently, you likely won’t need to sweep or vacuum the entire house but make sure to hit the hot spots for sure every time! If it’s been a while, you may want to run a quick vacuum through all of the rooms.
We have a cordless lightweight vacuum that I absolutely love – I just keep it plugged in all the time and run it through the house quickly before we walk out the door.
House Showing Checklist
As promised, below is the house showing checklist that I put together. I created a version that has both generic items (e.g., wipe down counters, turn off TVs) and also has blank spaces for you to fill in with specifics for your own home.
For example, we had this crazy cardinal that hangs out by our back windows all the time, and we keep a plastic owl on the patio to scare him away. So under the other section, I added a line item for “hide owl” to remind us to hide the owl under the BBQ grill before we leave the house. I also added a note to take down the blackout shades in our bedrooms since as I mentioned above, we want all the light!
This house showing checklist is meant to be something you can use for that last 10% to get your house ready to show. If you keep your home at the 90% ready I recommended earlier, you should be able to get through all of these things quick enough to get out of the house within less than an hour tops.
Download the House Showing Checklist
Enter your first name and email address below to get the printable house showing checklist. You’ll be sent directly to the PDF as well as receive an emailed version to your inbox. If you can’t see the form, click here to get to it.
I highly recommend printing on white card stock then getting the checklist laminated after you’ve written in your home’s additional items. Use dry erase markers to cross things off when you get a showing and then once the showing is over, just wipe the checklist clean and repeat the next time around.
Way easier, not to mention environmentally friendly, than reprinting the checklist every single time!