How to Prep Your Home For Last-Minute Showings in Under 20 Minutes

Part of the home-selling process includes preparing it for potential buyers to tour. When your home is for sale, keep in mind that last-minute notices for home showings are always a possibility. How can homeowners prep in advance so they are ready if they are contacted by a REALTOR® for a last-minute home showing?

Start with a deep cleaning

Begin by deep cleaning and decluttering your home prior to listing it, and you will be well on your way to being prepared for home showings. In order to make the best first impression on home buyers, here are some basics to tackle prior to listing your home:

  1. Deep clean your home from top to bottom, inside and outside. Better Homes and Gardens provides a comprehensive plan for deep cleaning a home.
  2. Declutter all your rooms and closets.
  3. Wash all the windows – inside and out.
  4. Tighten any loose door knobs.
  5. Replace light bulbs in all fixtures.
  6. Depersonalize your home by taking family pictures off the walls and keeping them out of view.
  7. Remove oversized furniture that is disproportionate to the space it occupies in order to make rooms look bigger.
  8. Deal with “dumping zones” within the home – from the shoes at the entryway to the closet or spare room that may be a multipurpose dumping zone.
  9. Give every room a single defined purpose, including the spare bedroom.
  10. Place some healthy live plants throughout the home.
  11. Add lamps to rooms that are dimly lit.
  12. Paint your walls with a fresh coat of quality paint in neutral colors.
  13. In general, choose classic or traditional art for your walls.
  14. Dust all ceiling fans, window sills, and furniture surfaces.
  15. Clean any leather furniture with premium leather cleaner.
  16. Clean and revitalize wood cabinets in your kitchen with restoring oil.
  17. Clean your oven.
  18. Change all of the air filters throughout your home.
  19. Finish the odds and ends left on your to-do list.
  20. Get rid of spiders and pests in the home.
  21. If you have any root causes for bad odors in the home, deal with them.
  22. Spruce up your front door with a beautiful wreath.
  23. Touch up the exterior paint where needed.
  24. Weed the garden and landscaped areas of your yard.
  25. Add some fresh potted flowers to the porch or front walkway.
  26. Trim the bushes and shrubs throughout your yard.
  27. Edge the grass with a clean margin between where it ends and the sidewalk begins.
  28. If you have a pet that has soiled your carpet, deep clean it professionally or replace it.
  29. Hire a professional cleaner and a landscaping business if necessary.

Once your home is listed

In addition to deep cleaning prior to listing your home, require yourself to do the following on a weekly and daily basis, and you will be well prepared for any last-minute home showings.


  1. Clean or vacuum all floors.
  2. Disinfect all bathrooms.
  3. Refresh all linens.
  4. Dust all surfaces.
  5. Mow the yard and edge walkways as needed.

Every morning

When your home is for sale, take 10-15 minutes every morning to do some basics just in case you have a potential buyer contact you on short notice for a home showing. 

  1. Make the beds.
  2. Declutter and straighten the house. No one wants to trip on an unexpected toy or pile of shoes.
  3. Plug in your pleasant smells – because scents make sense when it comes to selling your home. People love fresh smells.
  4. If odors concern you, and weather permits, open the windows for about 10 minutes on each floor to bring in some fresh air.
  5. Do a batch of laundry to keep up with the needs of your family.
  6. Do a light cleaning of the bathrooms, including placing guest towels out on the sink for beauty and functionality.
  7. Put dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
  8. Verify the key to your door is in the lock box.
  9. Keep your mail and office work in a drawer or cabinet  – not in open view on a counter where a potential buyer may see them.
  10. Leave the house at a comfortable temperature – if it’s cold, leave the heat on, and if it is hot, leave the air on.

The rewards of preparation

Now that you have prepared for your potential home buyers to see your home by completing your deep cleaning before listing, faithfully finishing your weekly chores, and implementing a daily cleaning routine, it should only take you 20 minutes or less to get ready for a home showing.

How to prepare your home for a showing in 20 minutes or less:

  1. Turn on all the lights in your home.
  2. Open all of the curtains in your home to brighten up each room.
  3. Take out the trash.
  4. Bag up anything on the counters in the kitchen and take it with you.
  5. Wipe down all kitchen counters.
  6. Clean the kitchen sink.
  7. Place preplanned delicious snacks out on your kitchen island for guests. (Microwave prebaked chocolate chip cookies straight from the freezer onto an attractive plate for potential home buyers).
  8. Leave the house. Buyers are generally not comfortable seeing your home with you in it.
  9. Take your pet, their bowls, and their litter box with you. Your potential buyers don’t want to hear your dog bark, your cat meow, or smell a litter box.
  10. Flush all toilets and close their lids.

Get your home sold in a timely fashion for the best price

If you would like to learn more about selling your home in a timely fashion for the maximum price, the experienced professionals at McGraw REALTORS® are ready to assist you. Download the free Seller’s Checklist from our homepage and then schedule a free consultation to strategize concepts on how to stage your home to sell fast.

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