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Selling Your Home? How to Keep it Show-Ready

Article by Susan Jensen Smith Published January 20, 2009

It’s that time of year again – if you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, get ready for a bit of inconvenient living. But don’t you think that the payoff is well worth any inconvenience?

However, if you are too bothered about inconvenient living, then you can have a plan B ready to avoid unnecessary stress. For instance, you can plan to move to your second home where you can stay during the period your old house is on sale. In that case, you would need to contact a moving company who can quickly relocate your stuff. That said, if you are a resident of Chicago who is planning to move out and is looking for movers nearby, then you can search for local moving Chicago on the Internet to find firms like RMS Movers.

Anyway, once you have sorted the issues of inconvenient living and have got your home sale-ready, you would need an efficient action plan to accommodate the not-always-convenient showings of your beloved home.

You know how it goes…you get a call from your realtor that a potential buyer wants to see your house…in a few days! So you have to pick up the house, load up your kids (and pets), hop in the car and try to find something meaningful to do for an hour or so.

How you live in your home is quite different than how you sell it. Assuming you’ve already followed your Professional Home Stager’s instructions, you’re a step ahead in preparing for show time. After all, you want to make sure it shows at its best when the curtains come up! Here are some helpful checklists to prepare your staged home for show time.

The first and foremost thing you may want to do is hire professionals for power washing services to clean your deck or patio area so that when buyers come to look at it, they are drawn to the beauty of your backyard rather than the amount of dirt on it. Aside from that, keep your home neat and tidy to make it appear larger and more organized.


  1. Hide liftables – wallets, mail, jewelry, small electronics, passwords, financial statements, etc. Most people are honest, but it helps if you remove the temptation.

  2. Don’t light candles (fire hazard and looks like you’re trying too hard).


  1. Turn on lights and open all curtains – yes, even in the daytime.

  2. Make sure windows are clean.

Pick Up

  1. Toys, clothes, papers, general clutter.

  2. If worse comes to worse, grab a large garbage bag and stuff everything in it and take it with you. You can put everything away when you get home.


  1. Wipe down counters – keep disposable wipes by each counter area to make it quick and easy.

  2. Make sure the sink shines! There is nothing more disgusting than a dirty sink.

  3. Empty the trash – even if it’s not full yet.

  4. Countertops – opt for single large accessory rather than a group of small things – doesn’t have to be out all the time, but “places everyone” applies.


  1. Make all beds, and arrange decorative pillows per your stager’s instructions.


  1. ALL toiletries hidden (keep daily use items in a handy cubby that can be stashed under the sink)


  3. Put your towels in the dryer & bring out “show towels”

  4. Wipe down counters and mirror

  5. Sniff test –air freshener if needed

  6. Empty the trash

  7. Fix all leakages and choked pipes. You might have to hire a plumbing company in your locality to get it repaired.

Pets & Kids

  1. Don’t even think about leaving the pets behind!

  2. Keep the car pre-stocked with snacks, water, games, dog leash, picnic blanket, diapers (if needed), and extra changes of clothes (you never know).

  3. Make up “car games” such as “left, right, or straight” – a game where each kid gets a turn picking which way you turn. Whenever you find someplace interesting, stop and have a car party.

  4. Have a list of fun places you can visit, such as a pet store, local park, library, etc.


  1. Music – Play some classical or jazz music softly to add ambiance and minimize eerie silence. Using a company like means you could link several devices to play music around the house, adding ambiance to every room.

  2. Concession Stand – Candy Bowl – put out some wrapped candy.

  3. Check Thermostats – make sure it’s set at a comfortable temperature.

It’s show time…break a leg!

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