Are You Show-Ready?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

Are You Show-Ready?

We were out showing homes and began wondering why so many occupied homes are not properly prepared for showings. The sellers knew we were going to show their home several hours in advance and yet most of them were not "show-ready" when we arrived.

What is "show-ready"? Here's a little background before we answer the question.

Homes sell on either emotion or price. Homes that create emotion with buyers sell faster and at a higher price. Many sellers hire a professional stager to help create that warm and inviting atmosphere. While professional staging is a great idea, we've seen staged homes that would look even better if they were "show-ready."

Most sellers know in advance that their home will be showing. When you get that call, it's almost show time! Have a plan of action to get your home in show-ready shape:

• Open all the blinds and turn on all the lights including the garage and walk-in attic. Homes that are light and bright appear larger and more inviting. If you have ceiling fans, turn them all on low.

• Have some soft music playing. If you have a media room, leave a movie playing with the sound turned down low.

• Scents are important to creating emotion. In years past, we would leave a drop of vanilla on a light bulb. When the agent turned on the light, the heat would release the vanilla fragrance into the air. Times have changed and now we can simply purchase small air fresheners. While some fragrance is good, too much can be overpowering. If you can, burn a candle until you have to leave. Candles often smell more natural than the artificial air fresheners.

• If you have time, run the vacuum cleaner over the carpets. Buyers notice when the carpets look like nobody has walked on them.

• While you may love your pets, many people are afraid of them and they often get in the way. Taking your pet with you during the showing is the best idea. Some dogs are crate-trained and sit quietly in their crate. However, there's nothing more annoying than listening to a dog bark the whole time you're viewing a home.

• Don't be there when the agent and buyers arrive. It's awkward and makes the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers want to be able to peek into closets and kitchen cabinets. They want to be able to discuss what they like and don't like with their agent and each other. If you're there, it will be a short showing! Leave the selling to the agent.

Many sellers assume the showing agent will arrive ahead of time to get the home show-ready. If I'm only showing one home, I often arrive early and get the lights on. However, if I'm showing 10 homes, I have the buyers with me and we both walk in at the same time for that important first impresion.

Buyers decide in the first 60 seconds if they like the home. Get your home show-ready and make the most of that minute!



Posted by


Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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Re-Blogged 18 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Herb Johnson 08/04/2010 02:56 AM
  2. Michael Lissack 08/04/2010 03:23 AM
  3. Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent 08/04/2010 04:06 AM
  4. Dee Bundy 08/04/2010 06:20 AM
  5. Brad Rachielles 08/04/2010 07:08 AM
  6. Susan Doig 08/04/2010 11:14 AM
  7. Erica Ramus 08/04/2010 12:23 PM
  8. Josh & Julie Hambarian 08/04/2010 12:37 PM
  9. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 08/04/2010 01:18 PM
  10. Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528 08/04/2010 01:24 PM
  11. Connie Winstead 08/04/2010 01:34 PM
  12. Don Wixom 08/04/2010 04:48 PM
  13. Shirin Sarikhani 08/04/2010 07:44 PM
  14. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 08/04/2010 09:51 PM
  15. Donna Yates 08/08/2010 01:46 AM
  16. Barbara Martino-Sliva, Top Producer 08/08/2010 02:03 AM
  17. Maya Thomas, Broker 08/09/2010 03:22 AM
  18. Kari Battaglia, PA 08/09/2010 03:28 AM
  19. Steve and Jan Bachman 08/09/2010 04:07 AM
Home Selling
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Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Tom, this is such good advice.  Many sellers lose a sale in the first few seconds of the showing. 

Aug 04, 2010 03:57 PM #46
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

All about first impressions that happens in seconds.  You have to get all the senses right... I could not agree more

Aug 04, 2010 04:37 PM #47
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Tom, excellent advice! Great, simple post & so very true! I love the vanilla idea...

Aug 04, 2010 04:45 PM #48
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Tom -- you went out and showed today? Goodness, it must have been 110 degrees. I hope the sellers all had the AC on! You made a point that struck me as funny....."sellers assume that the showing agent will arrive early...." It's a good reminder to tell sellers that most agents are showing a number of homes, usually on a tight schedule. So the one hour showing window means that the seller should have the dishes done and carpets vacuumed 30 minutes ahead of time, and probably be out 15 minutes ahead of time. Sellers also need to be warned that the agent and buyer could run late, and so waiting in the driveway 5 minutes toward the end of the window is awkward. I list more than I sell, so this is a helpful reminder to talk to sellers about what a buyers agent does and how they work..

Aug 04, 2010 05:19 PM #49
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It's so true that emotion sells a home.  Staged homes can make such a difference in what people see.

Aug 04, 2010 06:32 PM #50
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

applause applause...not so much on the candles...have seen almost tragic ...whoops forgot kinda thing that almost left no house to sell !

Aug 04, 2010 09:50 PM #51
Jennifer Dulmaine
Keller Williams Realty - Spencer, MA
Seth Campbell Realty Group

Tom, Great points on how a seller can be show-ready.  I provide my sellers with some tips and hope they follow them for showings...

Aug 04, 2010 11:10 PM #52
Noah Levy
Coldwell Banker - Highland Park, IL
Coldwell Banker Highland Park IL


Great tips!!! I also suggest a bouquet of  fresh flowers - there are so many inexpensive varieties that can really enhance a room!!!

Aug 05, 2010 12:40 AM #53
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I like Maureen's comment about the citrus scent.  I hate the plug-ins and they are usually somewhat overpowering.  Music....essentially elevator a great mood-setter and the flowers that Noah mentioned are also a nice touch and a great mood-lifter for the seller who has spent hours getting the house clean enough to be "SHOW READY". 

Aug 05, 2010 02:03 AM #54
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador

Wow.  I took the day off (from ActiveRain anyway) and came back to find a featured blog with 50 comments.  Today is packed so it may take a while to get back. 

Noah #53 - Stargazer Lillies are wonderful

Suzanne #54 - Plugins can be overpowering so you have to be careful with them.

Sally #51 - Never leave candles burninh when you leave the house!

Leslie #49 - I was out all day between showing and a regional RE/MAX event. It was only 105...

Don #48 - Old tricks but we did have much of a choice 25 years ago.

Bill #45 - 70% of our business is short sales.  We have them get the homes show ready. Time is not on their side.




Aug 05, 2010 02:14 AM #55
Shirin Sarikhani
Seattle Staged To Sell - Seattle, WA

What a wonderful blog, I had to re-blog it. As far as Plug Ins go, the French Vanilla is great and I would avoid the rest. It smells very artificially. I hope this helps.

Aug 05, 2010 04:45 AM #56
Bryan Spann
SYSNE LLC - Houston, TX

Love the post. Being prepared is very important. Hope to see more.

Aug 07, 2010 07:44 AM #57
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

I just saw your post on another member's blog where it had been re-blogged and the post is so smart that I had to re-blog it too.  I just wanted to let you know.  This is the first post I've seen that draws a distinction between staging and "show ready".  Thank you.

Aug 08, 2010 02:05 AM #58
Nancy Timberlake
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portland, ME
REALTOR - Southern Maine

As a stager, I agree with all these tips, especially the no pets and their odor. I usually say no artificial scents though as people think you are covering an odor and often times that is the case!

Aug 08, 2010 02:09 AM #59
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

A list of showing tips is always helpful for home sellers, Tom.  And good point about agents not arriving before their clients to turn on lights, etc.  The seller has to assume that won't happen because the agent and buyers usually arrive together.

Aug 08, 2010 02:51 AM #60
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Wonderful must-read for sellers!

Aug 09, 2010 03:21 AM #61
Kari Battaglia, PA
PalmerHouse Properties - Nokomis, FL
Buy Sell Love Florida

Great list for sellers.  I am going to reblog for my outside blog too!  Thanks for sharing.

Aug 09, 2010 03:27 AM #62
Janet Sebile
Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors - Rowlett, TX

Sometimes it makes you want to ask "Do they know they're selling?"

Aug 09, 2010 03:32 AM #63
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Great post Tom! RE-Blog!

Aug 09, 2010 04:07 AM #64
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Tom, I really agree with your post. Having a showing of your house is performance art. Some are ready for the show and some aren't.

Aug 10, 2010 02:32 AM #65
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