When your home is for sale and you’re living in it, it can be difficult to always keep it in show-ready condition. After all, you, your family and your pet are living there day-to-day.

But, you have to think of an Open House as opening night for a really fantastic show and present your home in its best possible light.

Assuming you’ve cleaned thoroughly, made necessary repairs and upgrades, and implemented the expert advice and recommendations of a professional home stager, these are the “last minute” things to do before you show the house in order to make the most out of your potential buyer traffic.

You can use this checklist for both Open Houses and scheduled showings.

Curb Appeal

  • Garage doors should be down and the front door wide open
  • Remove any debris, toys, trashcans, pet items etc.
  • Park cars down the street and away from driveway and front of house in order to give buyers clear picture of home




  • Excess toys should be packed up and stored; each child will choose a basket or bin of favorite toys to play with
  • Quickly go through home and pick up any extraneous stuff i.e. toys, clothes
  • Create a junk drawer or basket where last minute clutter (today’s mail, newspapers, etc.) can be stashed at a moment’s notice
  • Remove make-up, shampoos, hair dryers and toiletries from bedrooms and bathrooms, and store (a handled shower caddy is a fast way to transfer shampoos from shower/bath to bathroom vanities or linen closets)
  • Securely store personal items and anything small but valuable
  • Turn ON every light in the house and light some candles (only in safe areas when you know your Realtor will be around)
  • Turn on interior lights in china cabinet or shelves
  • Open all blinds and window coverings for maximum light (unless there are privacy or view issues)
  • Ideally have windows open but make sure the home is a comfortable temperature
  • The house must be spotless, however, if not enough time, at least spray and wipe bathroom and kitchen counters
  • Vacuum high traffic areas (if time)
  • Fluff couch pillows, place throw strategically, organize coffee table
  • Fire in fireplace if appropriate
  • Close TV cabinet doors
  • Close closet doors except for walk-in closets
  • If time, set out “Emotional Connection Points” in each room i.e. set out kitchen place settings, patio trays etc.
  • If time, make arrangements for pets outside of the home (e.g. day care or friend)
  • Remove any pet dishes, litter boxes, leashes, dog cages, etc.
  • Empty all garbage cans (especially in kitchen and bathrooms)
  • Set out dress towels in bathroom
  • Toilet seat lids should be down
  • Keep music on low (use TV cable music station in order to keep uniform in every room)
  • Fluff and straighten beds and pillows in all bedrooms
  • Place fresh flowers in vases in strategic locations (but don’t overdo it)
  • All ceiling fans should be on low

Can you think of anything else I may have left off my list?