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  • Ross Cardwell

13 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing to Show Your House

Updated: 4 hours ago

Getting your home ready to sell? Here are the top things not to do when you prepare to show your “for sale” property to potential buyers.

Getting your home ready to sell? Here are the top things our experts say you should NOT to do when preparing to show your “for sale” property to potential buyers.

Our team of real estate professionals has seen hundreds of houses on the market over the years that could have made a better impression during viewings. Simple, easy-to-fix mistakes have led to lower sales prices and longer market times again and again.

When you’re selling your house, you want to maximize your profit and close the deal as soon as possible. Whether you’re more interested in selling your house fast or getting top dollar for your home, there are some preparation steps you don’t want to miss.

What Not to Do When Preparing Your House for Showings

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of organization. Decluttering is essential to your house showing at its full potential. For anything you can’t get rid of, or move out of the house, organize, organize, organize. Put things neatly into bins. Consider a shelving unit to keep things looking neat and off the floor.

  2. Don’t leave unnecessary furniture and decor in the house. When you show your house to potential buyers, you want it to look as spacious and open as possible. Minimize the furniture to just the essentials, and get your real estate agent or Realtor’s advice on what decor to keep or pack away.

  3. Don’t stuff things in the closet. When company visits, it’s easy to just shove unattractive items in the closet so the main parts of the home look tidy. However, buyers are going to look in your closet to see how much storage space your house has, so don’t leave them full. The emptier your closets are, the more spacious they seem. Put items that aren’t essential into storage.

  4. Don’t show your personality. The potential buyers viewing your home want to be able to picture themselves in the house – they’d rather not be reminded that someone else lives there now. Take down any photos and personal mementos. Clear your fridge of magnets and children’s artwork. Put away small appliances and food.

  5. Don’t think you can get away with a quick vacuum. If ever there were a time for deep cleaning, it’s now. Before listing and showing your house, do a thorough cleanse of every room. Make sure all toilets, sinks, mirrors, and showers are as sparkling as possible. Kitchen countertops should gleam, and any appliances that stay should be wiped down as well. Don’t forget the windows! P.S. We have a pretty thorough checklist for your pre-listing deep clean right here.

  6. Don’t forget the nooks and crannies. We see people at house showings scowling about this all the time – no one wants to see a dusty ceiling fan or greasy baseboard when the rest of the house is clean. Make sure your deep clean doesn’t leave any dust bunnies high or low. And wipe down walls where you can!

  7. Don’t add scent. Nothing is a quicker turn-off for potential buyers than viewing a house with a nasty smell. Address any odors that may plague your home – even faint ones can make or break a buyer’s interest. And while it’s tempting to add strong scents you like via candles or air fresheners, it’s much better to stick with a neutral, fresh smell for showings.

  8. Don’t neglect the exterior. Your house’s curb appeal is its crucial first impression. Make sure landscaping is neat and attractive; any outdoor equipment or possessions are stored away, and everything looks as tidy as possible from the driveway. Fix any broken lights, clean the gutters, and consider pressure washing.

  9. Don’t assume the buyer will ignore the small stuff. Leaky faucets, broken light switches, some missing siding. These may not be alarming barriers to selling your house quickly, but even minor cosmetic issues and easy fixes will start ‌potential buyers making mental lists of how much work your home will need if they buy it.

  10. Don’t ignore major repairs if you want top dollar. Speaking of repairs: maybe you’ve decided to show and sell your house “as-is,” and that’s great. If selling your house fast is your priority, you may opt not to make any major repairs. However, if your priority is to get the most competitive offers on your house, you may want to consider what repairs you can complete to maximize your profit.

  11. And don’t try to hide those major issues. If your home needs major repairs, don’t try to get creative and hide the problem. Sure, potential buyers might not notice it during viewings, and you might go under contract quickly. BUT – the home inspection is sure to reveal the issue. And at that point, you very well may need to start all over with the listing process if the buyer isn’t happy.

  12. Don’t skimp on ‌listing photos. We’ve all seen them: photos of a home for sale that are dark, blurry, or obviously taken on a smartphone. Nothing gives potential buyers the “ick” like seeing the photographer staring back at them in the bathroom mirror picture. Don’t let these distractions prevent you from getting maximum traffic – opt for professional real estate photos.

  13. Don’t stick around to meet the potential buyers. When viewing time comes around, let your real estate expert handle the showing. Make a point to remove yourself, your family, and your pets from the home during these appointments to help the buyers feel free to consider everything buying your home would offer them.

The Bottom Line

If you’re selling your home and want to see the offers pouring in as quickly as possible once you list, heed these warnings well. These are the top mistakes we have seen countless sellers make when preparing their homes for listing and showing.

Free Seller Resources from CGP Real Estate:

  • Preparing to list your home for sale? Download our free pre-listing checklist to make sure your house is in ship-shape when potential buyers come to see it.

  • Still debating if you should sell your home? Download our home sale net profit calculator to better understand how much you will make from selling your home.


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