Did you know well-placed furniture can open up rooms and make them seem larger than they are? Or that opening drapes and blinds and turning on all lights make a room seem bright and cheery? These are just some things to consider when you prepare for showings.

It’s a fact: acquiring the highest market value and elevating your home above others in the same price range often comes down to first impressions.

Checklist to Prepare For Showings and Photos


prepare for showings exterior
  • Keep the grass freshly cut.
  • Trim trees and brush away from the house. Nothing can touch the house or roof exterior.
  • Remove all yard clutter and trash cans.
  • Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
  • Paint the front door.
  • Weed and apply fresh mulch to garden beds.
  • Clean windows inside and out.
  • Make sure ALL lightbulbs work.
  • Wash or paint home’s exterior.
  • Powerwash the house, sidewalks and driveway.
  • Put hoses and other equipment away, organize patio/deck
  • Tighten and clean all door handles.
  • Ensure gutters and downspouts are firmly attached.


prepare for showings interior

  • Remove excessive wall hangings, furniture and knick-knacks (consider a temporary self-storage unit).
  • Remove magnets, photos, kids artwork etc. from the refrigerator
  • Clean or paint walls and ceilings.
  • Shampoo carpets.
  • Clean and organize cabinets and closets.
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
  • Make sure all drains flow freely.
  • Make sure ALL lightbulbs work and are the same type and color.
  • Clean all light fixtures and mirrors.

Prepare For Showings

  • Turn on all the lights.
  • Open curtains/drapes in the daytime and twist open blind (not pull up).
  • Keep pets secured or take with you.
  • Play quiet background music.
  • Light the fireplace (if seasonally appropriate).
  • Infuse home with a comforting scent like apple spice or vanilla. * more details below*
  • Vacate the property while it is being shown.

Prepare For Photos

For the listing photos follow this checklist plus the exterior and interior lists.

  • Turn ON ALL interior and exterior lights, including ceiling fan lights, lamps, under-cabinet lighting, stove-top lighting.
  • Turn ceiling fans OFF.
  • Open curtains/drapes in the daytime and twist open blind (not pull up).
  • Remove all non-decorative items from counters (dish soap, paper towels, cleaning supplies, chargers etc.)
  • Remove toiletries from bath/shower area (curtains are often opened to show off tiling/fixtures)
  • Lower all toilet seats
  • Keep pets secured or take with you.
  • Put away pet supplies, including food/water bowls, crates, toys, etc
  • Ensure that no vehicles are in the driveway or on the street in front of the home

Add the unexpected touch.

This checklist to prepare for showings is to make sure you appeal to ALL the buyer’s senses. Put out some fresh flowers or plants. (Hint: orchids are not expensive and they last a long time.) Avoid candles, which could create a fire hazard. Instead, use essential oils with scents that create a mood. Lavender is relaxing, rosemary is stimulating, and jasmine elevates the mood. Citrus scents are always fresh and clean. Of course if you want to pull out all the stops, bake some chocolate chip cookies and leave them on the counter. But please, no onions or fish smells left over from last night’s dinner and overflowing trashcans.

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