There can be a lot of stress involved when trying to sell your home and one of the biggest factors that is always on a seller’s mind is showing process. While your home is on the market, you never know when a showing is going to be scheduled and therefore sellers must be on their toes in making sure their home is tidy and looks its best to potential buyers. However, with so many things to organize before a showing, it can be easy for a seller to forget to do something essential before an agent brings a potential buyer through your home.
We’ve reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers – a panel of RE/MAX Sales Associates throughout Canada – to narrow down a list of the top things that sellers often forget to do before showing their home.
Lighting & Blinds
When it comes to showing your home, lighter is brighter! For daytime showings, opening up those blinds and curtains and turning off all artificial light will allow the natural light to flood your home. Walking into a bright, airy space is going to give a much better first impression to potential buyers than walking into a dark space.
“For showings after dusk, you want to showcase your home right from when a potential buyer pulls up to your property. Having all exterior lights on will help guide the agent and clients to the front door, as well as reduce the potential for any injuries if it Is winter and there may be a slip hazard on the driveway. All lights on in the interior will give a better first impression of the home if the potential buyer has just come from looking at a property where it was dark upon entering,” says Cheryl MacIsaac, RE/MAX Baughan Realty, Wainwright, AB. “This will also help the showing agent as they will not need to search for light switches to turn on lights. It also lets the seller know if the showing has occurred as most agents will turn off the lights upon leaving each room, if instructed to do so.”
Clean & Tidy
One of the most important things that a seller must do when selling their home is keeping it clean and tidy. While sweeping floors and vacuuming the carpets will speed up your cleaning process, sellers often forget to tidy things that they may be accustomed to, such as pet items, which may end up turning buyers away.
“Sellers often forget to make sure that family pets and their bedding, toys and litter boxes/yards may not be clean or out of the way. It is so important as some buyers are allergic, don’t have pets or if they smell pet odours it may turn them off from buying,” says Sandra Benz, RE/MAX Performance Realty, Delta, BC.
Another important thing to remember when preparing your home for showings is to open a window or two and allow some fresh air into your space! As Ray Yenkana, RE/MAX Little Oak Realty, Surrey, BC says, “Sellers are used to their smells, but those smells may be an instant turn off to potential buyers!”
Close that Lid!
A simple, yet easily forgotten thing that sellers often forget about when preparing to show their home is to put the toilet seat down. As easy as it is to close the lid behind you, many sellers completely overlook this aspect of cleaning their bathroom.
“Sellers often forget to put the toilet lid down. First impressions are everything; you want people to see the room, not the inside of a toilet,” says May Smith, RE/MAX Little Oak Realty, Surrey, BC.
As Shauna Thompson of RE/MAX Fort McMurray says, “It becomes a distraction to the buyer, and the buyer’s agent doesn’t want to have to touch the toilets to put the seats down!”
When it comes to preparing your house for a showing, it can be easy to overlook the little things that may deter a potential buyer, such as displaying personal items. Things like family photos and sentimental items may seem like a good idea, as it can make the space look more inviting and lived-in, but many potential buyers have a hard time imagining themselves living in the space if it is filled with personal items.
“It’s harder for buyers to imagine themselves living in the house with other people’s photos and they waste time trying to figure out if they know the sellers or what the relationship may be/family composition/reason for selling may be,” says Curtus Collins, RE/MAX Crown Real Estate, Regina, SK.
Garage & Driveway
The garage and driveway are two areas that sellers often overlook when preparing their home for a showing, yet these are two areas of your home that potential buyers will be extremely interested in. Whether a new buyer is planning to use the garage for storage or parking, it is important to prepare the garage for a showing so anyone walking through can get a good idea of how much space there is to work with. As Kimberly Graham of RE/MAX River City in Edmonton, AB says, “Leave a way to access the garage. Most often it is a space where sellers store everything they have decluttered, so they can keep their things safe. However, buyers still want to see the garage!”
The driveway is another part of the home that is often not considered but is very important to potential buyers, as it is often one of the first things they will notice when driving up to the property. In particular, potential buyers will be considering their parking situation and how their vehicles and recreational vehicles, such as RV’s and boats, will fit in the driveway. If possible, ensure that your driveway is as clear as it can be to allow buyers to get an accurate representation of just how much parking is available.
“When buyers come to view the home if they are driving along with their agent, or separately, it draws attention to limited parking. This can be particularly challenging for homes in cul-de-sacs or places where parking could be a concern as the driveway will announce it as a challenge,” says Taylor Hack, RE/MAX River City, Edmonton, AB.