Home showing checklist

Real Estate Agent with Taking a break










How to effectively 'show' your home.

Showing a home does not have to be an overwhelming, costly process. Regardless of your home's size, age, style, and location, there are ways to spruce it up and effectively showcase its assets. So grab your paintbrush, carpet cleaner, lawn mower, and Lysol -- the four ingredients to a great first date -- and get to work on your house. A clean house will sell.  People need to picture themselves in it and feel at home , this will make a prospect fall in love with your house. Does it take work? YES!   If you can not do the work yourself, hire it out, in the long run the increase in offers will be enough to make you a true believer.

Home showing checklist - do within Three to a week  of putting up the sign:

Outside = Curb appeal (many people drive up to see a house and are turned off and drive away, canceling their appointment). First Impressions are VERY important:

  • Remove peeling exterior and touch up with fresh coat.
  • Plant flowers to brighten front walk.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Ensure all lights operate.
  • Remove any moss from the house or walk.
  • Remove weeds in beds or against house.
  • Mow and trim grass.  Seed and fertilize if needed.
  • Prune overgrown plants/trees.
  • Remove or replace dead or diseased plants, shrubs and trees.
  • Clean grease and oil stains from driveway. 
  • Clean and stain decks.
  • Remove weeds/grass in walkway cracks.
  • Check fences for loose/missing posts, clean fence, make sure gates work smoothly.
  • Shine front door hardware. Paint door.  This is the first impression of your house itself and well worth it.
  • Lubricate all doors to eliminate squeaks.
  • All Doors - clean the glass, repair screen, ensure doorbells function.
  • Clean all windows-in and out.
  • Touch up window trim paint. 
  • Make sure window screens are secure.  If they are torn or unattractive take them out or clean and repair them.
  • Clean up or discard outside or indoor plants that are brown or losing their leaves.
  • No project cars, RV's, figurines, plastic decorations, or boats in the yard.  The yard should be green and manicured - all natural.
  • Keep lights on at night so prospects can see the house


Inside: Immaculate and uncluttered.  What is the move in condition?

  • No clutter!  No clutter!  Pack some decorations and personal photos away so the house has an airy feel.  Hide CD's and videotapes, they do not make a nice decoration.  A few hard cover books, a nice throw, some candles, and interesting artifacts will give it the perfect touch.  No ironing boards or other signs of work.  Clutter makes your house seem small, like you are bursting out of it, and gives some people an almost claustrophobic feeling.  Think open, spacious, tasteful and clean.
  • Make sure your house smells good.  Clean with a lemon cleaner before a showing, burn a candle - cinnamon works well, but don't try to mask odors.
  • No pets - many people are turned off or allergic to them, so why lose a prospective buyer.  Hide them as best you can, and remove any pet hair and odors.  A house that smells like cats will likely be a harder sell.  You may not notice it if you are used to it.
  • Pack away about 1/2 of what is in stuffed closets and cabinets so it looks like you have plenty of closet space.  You should be able to see the wall in back of 1/2 the closet or cabinet.
  • Make sure lights operate and are clean.
  • Give living areas a fresh coat of paint if necessary.
  • Spackle cracks and holes in ceiling and walls with no-sanding-required spackle, caulk cracks along baseboards and crown molding where they meet walls.
  • Glue peeling wallpaper seams.
  • Ensure blinds and curtains open and close. Clean them and open them fully to maximize light when showing home.
  • Steam-clean carpets. No stains or odors on floors.
  • Throw pillows should look new.
  • Replace attached items, such as lighting and window treatments that you wish to take with you.
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • Clean the refrigerator, microwave, oven and range thoroughly.  
  • Replace cracked tiles & missing grout.
  • Make sure all seams are caulked in bath and kitchen..
  • Install a new fabric shower curtain.
  • Hide all bathroom supplies.  Make those bathrooms sparkle and - no clutter!
  • Put away toys and clothes in bedrooms.
  • Make beds neatly. Throw pillows or shams look nice.
  • In basement remove dampness or water stains, rid of odors, clean, make sure lighting works, organize.(this does not mean you do not have to disclose the fact that there has been issues with the dampness or water stains if you state has this in the listing rules) 
Christopher Smith
TREGO REALTY - Cedar Rapids, IA
Great List Timothy, thanks for sharing!  I'm really picky when it comes to cat urine, or cigarette smoke in the house.  There are air purifiers that you can buy that will permanently remove these odors so your potential clients don't walk in and walk right out of your listing.   Go to   I use the Fresh Air if people are still living in the home, and The Blaster if the house is vacant. 
Sep 06, 2006 11:20 PM
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

AWSOME and I agree.  GREAT comprehsnsive list.

This is just the type of thing any realtor... heck any stager... could put in thier marketing kit to show they know and are thinking.

GREAT post.

Sep 07, 2006 12:38 AM
Timothy Butterworth
Taking a break - Portland, OR
I make a rule of having a portable office file in my vehicle at all times. This way I carry all the forms I needs and If one is taken out I replace it in that night from my home office. I carry cards on me, in my briefcase, in my vehicle and extra in my file. I never want to be in a situation and have to say, I don't have one with me. That was a great reply because I have had other agents say that to me when I have asked for their card.
Sep 07, 2006 04:58 AM
Eddy Martinez
Nationwide Funding Group - Highland Park, CA
This is excellent  and ver helpful as i am considering doing realty very soon. Thanks a bunch
Sep 07, 2006 06:42 AM
Gary De Pury, ESQ.
Bay Vista Realty - Land O Lakes, FL
Wow, great list......and yes to the air purifier.  I own and use a Ecoquest fresh air machine.  It is great.
Sep 08, 2006 04:04 AM
Timothy Butterworth
Taking a break - Portland, OR
I have looked into one since reading the blog and have come up with an idea. Buy an air purifier, and use is as you need it, rent it out to your coworkers during the down time. I have not figured out the rental price yet but I think $25-35 range might be fair.
Sep 08, 2006 04:38 AM
Gary De Pury, ESQ.
Bay Vista Realty - Land O Lakes, FL

Or you could just join Bay Vista Realty and use mine.  Sorry, this offer is limited to agents in my area.. 


That is a great idea and I swear by mine.

Sep 08, 2006 04:57 AM
Timothy Butterworth
Taking a break - Portland, OR

Our office does not own one yet, all the agents rent or hire a company to come out to do the work. I thought the idea might work. Also for some of the brand new agents on a limited budget, I thought i could just loan it to them.

Sep 08, 2006 05:22 AM
Joan & Greg Cook
The Cook Team at Keller Williams Partners Realty - Plantation, FL
Thanks, Great List
Sep 08, 2006 11:26 AM
S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL
United Realty Group, Inc. - Davie, FL
Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist
Thanks for sharing this list, Timothy.  I'm always revising/adding to a similar list and always like to see what others include in theirs.  I plan on adding mine to my site soon.
Sep 09, 2006 07:19 AM
Great list, thanks for the time you put into this and passing it along. I personally would have to leave out the very last line about removing basement dampness and water stains. There is a disclosure here that needs to be made. I don't want to go to court for making such a suggestion.
Sep 29, 2006 02:47 PM