Tips for a Positive Showing

We’ve all heard the old adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression” and showing your home to potential buyers is no exception. There are many things to think about and your eyes might very well look beyond some things that have been in need of repair for awhile. Try looking at it your home through the critical eyes of a potential buyer, someone who’s never been there before and is looking carefully for issues. You could even go so far as to hire a qualified Home Inspector to complete an inspection for you. Then you’ll have to decided what, if anything, to do about them. To assist you, here’s a list to help you prepare your home for showings.

- tidy up out front, clean debris, sweep, shovel snow, anything to optimize your curb appeal
- repair cracked or broken window panes and glass and touch up paint on trim if needed
- wash windows inside and out and repair screens if needed
- turn on exterior lights if it’s dark out (consider using a timer)
- ensure the house number is easy to find and read
- mow the lawn, weed, cut back overgrown shrubbery, trim dead tree branches, rake leaves
- consider planting some seasonal flowers etc
- ensure your eavestroughs and down spouts are in good shape
- check your roof for broken shingles and any repair needed
- fences, decks and sheds should be in good condition, repair and paint if needed
- check siding for holes, cracks, etc. and repair if needed
- if the exterior could use a cleaning, grab yourself a pressure washer and do it up
- ensure front door is in good shape, paint if needed

- create a warm and welcoming entrance
- tidy up everywhere, make the beds, make sure nothing is impeding the viewing in any way
- open all the drapes
- set the heat at a comfortable temperature
- consider putting out fresh flowers or baking something
- repair any chipped plaster and touch up paint where needed (we usually don’t recommend doing a full paint job as buyers have their own tastes when it comes to colours, etc.)
- ensure all doors and cupboards are in good working order, use WD-40 for squeaks
- repair any leaky taps and toilets
- replace any burned out lightbulbs
- check seals around showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and repair where needed
- clean mirrors, floors, inside of cupboards
- put your valuables somewhere safe and out of sight
- clean countertops, appliances, bathrooms, etc.
- declutter and remember, less is more
- an empty room looks smaller than a furnished one, if the house is vacant, you might want to consider having it staged
- be cautious of air fresheners, overpowering smells can be very offensive (don’t assume everyone loves fresh car scent as much as you do). Try baking cookies instead and even leave some out with a note for the buyers to enjoy :)

Pets require special consideration. If you have a dog, regardless of size, it should be out of the house or in a kennel. Even your sweet little Fluffy, who's super cute and would’t hurt a flea, might be a turn-off for some people. Keep in mind that while you may love them more than you love your sister, many people do not share your sentiments and don’t want to see or hear them as it will taint their experience. If you have a barker, you should consider making arrangements to have him or her taken out of the house during showings. Even if he’s not running free, the sound of him could very well offend some people. Not to mention it’s not fair to the dog to be stuck in a kennel all day, just for a possible 30-minute showing.

Cats are a different story. Generally, they aren't so easily contained and not nearly as anxious to go for a walk during a showing. However, you need to take precautions if they're not allowed outside and are prone to dash for the open door. No one enjoys chasing someone else’s cat down the street or trying to coax it out from under the deck, it’s not fair to leave that up to anyone else and is not safe for your beloved babies. That being said, maybe don’t put them in a room with a sign on the door, that counts as impeding the showing in my view and more often than not, that room will get overlooked and someone will get their panties in a knot over it, especially if the cat is unhappy in there. I’ll never forget the angry orange cat behind the bathroom door (with the sign that said “open with caution, cat inside”), hissing and howling, who flew at us with his claws and teeth out when I opened the door. Needless to say, they did not make an offer, even though the house was perfect for them, and we’ll never forget that poor cat. 

Click here for Tips for Potential Sellers on when to sell and how to price your home.