8 Steps to Preparing Your House to Show

In our last post, Paul provided a general overview of preparing your house to sell. In this post, I will cover a few helpful ways to prepare your home to show.

The homeowner must take steps to make their house presentable and attractive to potential home buyers. Following are 8 steps to preparing your house to show. These steps help you get top dollar from the sale of your home.

1. Make a punch list.

Have a real estate agent walk through your property with you and point out areas that need to be updated or fixed. Make a thorough “punch list” and prioritize items. Budget your time and money to get them completed.

2. Reduce clutter.

Remove knickknacks and personal photos. Purge unwanted items from your house. Pack up as many personal items as possible to create open space. Fewer personal items also make it easier to keep your home show-ready at all times. Services like Pods allow you fill up a container and then store your items off the property until you are ready to move into your new home. It’s wise, however, to leave some furnishings in place so the future homeowner can picture themselves in the house.

3. Complete your punch list.

Knock out your “punch list” as quickly as possible. The more you can repair before the showing, the better results you’ll have. A good real estate agent will help you prioritize the necessary repairs and eliminate the unnecessary ones.

4. Eliminate smells.

Every home has a unique aroma. If you cook ethnic foods, smoke or have pets, the interested buyers may find the scents to be off-putting. It is important that every house on the market maintain a neutral, clean smell. In some cases, simple deodorizing spray may work. For stronger odors, however, a professional cleaner may be necessary.

5. Remove pets.

Ideally, your pets should be temporarily removed from the home while the house is on the market. We know this isn’t always possible, but even the most passionate animal-lovers may not like the pet odor in the house. We recommend safely crating your pets, preferably outdoors, during all showings, as well as keeping all traces of the animals at minimum.

6. Deep clean.

A deep top-to-bottom clean of the home is always beneficial to both the sellers and buyers. You can do this on your own with a little elbow grease and sweat equity, or hire a cleaning service for a pro-level cleanse.

7. Set the stage.

Our staging expert, Dianna Howell, may suggest staging your home. This is a free service that The Howell Group provides which allows us to temporarily swap out some furnishing, update decor, and rearrange items. Our clients are always surprised at how a little tweaking from Dianna can make their house shine.

8. Tidy up.

If you have cut the clutter and completed a deep clean, then keeping your house tidy each day will be much easier. Keep a box or suitcase handy to toss items into each morning. This is especially convenient for families with kids. Make sure the house is ready to show daily by keeping the kitchen sink empty, counters bare, bathrooms clean, beds made, trash cans empty, blinds/curtains open and the house smelling fresh.

Following these simple steps will simplify the process of showing your home, and buyers are more likely to make an offer on a house that is move-in ready.


Your goal is sell your house. Helping buyers fall in love with the home is your best method for reaching your goal.

We want to hear from you! What insights or short-cuts have helped you when selling a home?

Call me if you are thinking about selling your home and I will walk you through the process.

-Dianna Howell

If you have any questions about house showings in the Birmingham, Alabama area, we would love to help you! Please contact Dianna Howell with The Howell Group at 205-568-5435 or email her at dianna.howell@kw.com

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