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Preparing your home for showings

So now your home is listed on the market and buyers are beginning to take notice. Soon they will want to take a tour of the house to see if they want to make an offer. This is your time to shine! Here are a few tips to a great showing:

Check the Exterior/Curb Appeal: first impressions are extremely important. The saying “You’ll never have a second chance to create a good first impression” is very true when it comes to a prospective buyer looking at your home. The first impression that a buyer will gather of a home is the exterior and the homes “curb appeal.” Depending on the season, make sure that the lawn is freshly cut, leaves raked, or driveway shoveled. There is nothing pleasant to a buyer that has to walk through two feet of snow to get to the front door! If it’s not winter, make sure the lawn tools and toys are picked up. In addition to the tools and toys, if you have pets, please pick up after them.

Check for Clutter: One of the most noticeable things to a prospective buyer is clutter. Some areas that often collect clutter that should be checked are stairs, entry ways, and closets. Make sure the stairs are clear and that all shoes, coats, hats, and mail is put out of sight.

Check the Kitchen: A homes kitchen is traditionally the biggest selling feature. Ensuring that the kitchen is prepared for a showing is extremely important. Take a general look at the kitchen, are the kitchen counter tops free and clear? Making sure those granite or quartz counter tops are not only free and clear but also “clean enough to eat on.” Is the refrigerator door clear? Some buyers have a very difficult time looking past “personal” belongings. It’s great to show off your child’s “A+” on their spelling exam, but not when your home is on the market. The exterior of the refrigerator should have virtually nothing on it. Is the kitchen floor clean? Making sure that it is clean is also very important. A potential buyer is not going to be impressed when they “stick to the floor” when they step onto a spot where something was spilled earlier.

Check the Bathroom: Bathrooms are often times the second biggest selling feature of homes. Many things that have been addressed in the kitchen should be considered in the bathroom as well. Is the vanity top clean and clear of clutter? Is the floor clean? Another area to look at before a showing is the bath or shower. Is this tub or shower clean? Most prospective buyers are going to look inside the tub. Some buyers will refuse to make buy a property solely because the bathtub is filthy. Also, inspect the linen closet. Make sure the linen closet and the items inside are organized neatly. Take a couple new bath towels out of the linen closet and make sure they are hanging nice and neat. A clean bathroom appearance can go a long way with a potential buyer.

Check the Bedrooms: Bedrooms can be a deal breaker for a buyer. If a home's bedrooms are on the “smaller” side, it’s critical that a buyer can see that they are practical and someone is able to comfortably fit their belongings in the room. There are a few things to inspect before a showing. Are the beds made and decorated with some nice pillows or a throw? A messy and unmade bed most often is a negative impression on a prospective buyer. Are all personal items and valuables away in a safe location? While it is uncommon for personal belonging to be missing after a showing, it certainly can happen. Make sure any personal belongings and valuables are stored in a secure location or removed during a showing. Are the closets organized? A prospective buyer is almost always going to open the closets in the bedroom. They want to see how much storage room they will have for their “stuff.” An unorganized and messy closet is going to take away from the true space of the closets!

Check the Floors: Like mentioned above with the kitchen and bathroom floors, all floors throughout a home should be checked before a showing. If there are carpeted rooms, are they vacuumed and free from stains? If the carpets are heavily damaged or severely stained, consider getting them replaced or cleaned.

Check the Windows: Drapes and blinds are often a part of a home that is neglected for general cleaning and maintenance. Make sure the blinds and drapes are clean but also that they are functioning. A buyer is often concerned with the quality of the windows in a potential home and will be inspecting them so make certain the windows are clean and sparkling! Finally, open the blinds to let the natural light in and if the weather allows, crack a window to allow some nice refreshing air to flow through the home.

Check the Temperature: Depending on the time of the year, make sure your home's temperature is comfortable. While it’s hot outside, set the thermostat between 70-74 degrees. You want the buyer to feel instant relief from the heat once they enter your home. While it’s cold out, set the thermostat to 72-76 degrees. You want the buyer to feel they are entering a nice warm and cozy home.

Check for Odors: A foul odor in a home maybe the largest turn-off for a potential buyer. Like the importance of replacement or cleaning of carpet before listing a home, if possible, it can be very helpful to remove odors prior to listing. It’s common that an overwhelmed buyer who walks into a home with an overwhelming odor will turn back around and walk out of the home. Whether it’s an odor from pets, smoking, cooking, or others, make sure to check for odors! Often it is a good idea to have an opinion from a person who is not living in the home. Homeowners often become “immune” to odors within their own homes.

Set the Mood: Crack or open the blinds and turn on every light in the home. A dark room can be a turn-off to a prospective buyer. Before the showing, if you have time, brew a fresh pot of coffee or bake a fresh batch of cookies so that the aroma is permeating the home. Boiling cinnamon sticks can also provide a nice aroma as well! Turn on the radio or TV and set it to a classical or jazz music station.

Preparing for a showing the correct way can make a major difference on whether a home sells or not and also the time it takes for the sale. It can also effect the price a seller receives for their home. The above tips for preparing a home for showings should not be taken lightly.