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Selling Your Home Part 3: The Etiquette to Follow for Showings

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TLC Moving

TLC Moving

A House Showing Checklist with the Dos and Don’ts of Staging and Showing Your Home

So you’ve put your house up on the market and are getting ready to show it. But did you know there is an etiquette for showing a house? There is a showing and staging etiquette sellers should always follow to secure the sale of their home.

The quickest way to sell a house is to follow the rules for showing a house or having an open house. So don’t risk losing buyers because of things you might have overlooked. Use this guide to intrigue buyers to put in an offer on your home.

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Biggest Offences

Homeowners Who Stick Around

As tempting as it might be to stay during a showing, don’t! This is one of the biggest showing faux pas.

Unless the house is “For Sale by the Owner,” most buyers won’t feel comfortable having you around while they judge your home. They won’t feel free to talk about the house with their agent or family, nor will they want to open cupboard doors and look around.

Buyers need to imagine the home as their own and feel a connection to it if they’re going to buy it. And having the homeowner around only reminds them that they’re walking around someone else’s home.

Pets and Their Mess

While aggressive pets are sure to scare away buyers, having any pets at home during a showing can be a problem. If you leave your pet in a crate, they might cry throughout the entire showing, and this will likely upset buyers.

And if buyers are allergic to your pets, then they probably won’t want to buy your home. So bring your pets with you when you leave, or arrange to have a friend, family member, or sitter take care of them during your showings.

Also, clean up any pet smells and signs of pets before showings. This includes cleaning and removing the litter box, vacuuming pet hair, and hiding pet toys and dishes.

Other Critters Crawling Around

If you have wildlife living in your home, then you have a big problem in more ways than one. Buyers will not want to live in a home that has a pest infestation, insects roaming around, or a family of animals living in your attic.

Bad Smells

Bad smells are sure to turn off potential buyers. These include the smells of cigarette smoke, pets, and lingering smells from cooking things like bacon, garlic, and fish.

Dirt and Clutter

If buyers cannot see your home for the beauty that it is because there are piles of clutter everywhere, then you’ll have a hard time showing your home.

Some of the worst offences for showing homes include:

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  • Piles of laundry and clothes scattered around;
  • Unmade beds;
  • Dirty dishes in the sink/on the counter;
  • Overflowing trash cans;
  • Unflushed toilets; and,
  • Dirty AC filters.


Personal Items and Info Left in Plain Sight

Leaving personal items and documents laying around means you don’t mind having strangers look at these. So if you don’t want your privacy invaded, then put away anything private and personal.

Let There Be Light

Dark and dimly lit homes won’t be shown in the best light, so keep all your lights on and replace any burnt out light bulbs.

Loud and Distracting Art and Furniture

Some people are sensitive to provocative art and loud colours/patterns. So if you have anything that could distract buyers from appreciating your home, consider hiding the art or draping a blanket over loud furniture.

Things You Should Do Before a Showing


Clean every nook and cranny of your home. You never know what the buyers will look at or touch.


Declutter your home to make it look bigger, brighter, and cleaner. Decluttering will also help when it comes time to move since you’ll have less stuff to pack and take with you.

Remove clutter from bathrooms, countertops, tables, and floors.

Make It Smells Fresh, Clean, or like You’ve Just Baked

Open windows to air out your home, but don’t spray air fresheners in case the buyers are sensitive to smells. If you want to make your home smell better, cleaning (or replacing) carpets and repainting will help, as will putting out fresh flowers, baking cookies, or simmering cinnamon and water on the stove.

But if you’re going to bake, make sure to leave out the freshly-baked goods for the buyers to enjoy so they won’t be disappointed.

Leave the House, Leave the Lights On

Go to a coffee shop, movie, or a friend’s house. But whatever you do, make sure you leave the house before the buyers show up and only return once they’ve left. As mentioned before, buyers won’t feel comfortable or connected to your home if you or any of your family members are home.

And when you leave, make sure to leave all the lights on. The lights will brighten up the space, showcase your home’s features, and prevent buyers from fumbling for light switches.

Make the Temperature, Lighting, and Noise-Levels Just Right

You want buyers to be comfortable in your home. So adjust the lighting, temperature, and noise levels. Turn up the heat if it is too cold, or the air conditioning if it’s too hot. This will also prevent these appliances from turning on and making noticeable noises while the buyers are in your home.

Try to reduce any other noises as well, like closing the windows if there is too much outside noise. And make sure all curtains are open to let in as much natural light in as possible. If you have undesirable views outside, then keep the blinds partially closed to block these views.

Turn on every light in the house. And add lighting to darker rooms that don’t get much natural light. Consider adding spotlights on the floor behind furniture to brighten up these darker rooms.

Turn off and Put Away All Electronic Devices (Ensure They’re Password-Protected)

Turn off any screens in your home, and put away electronics, like tablets, laptops, and iPods.

Be Flexible With Showings

Most showings are scheduled for an hour and happen after work hours, so expect buyers to schedule showings during evenings and weekends. While this may seem inconvenient, if you aren’t flexible with showing times, then you’ll be missing out on many potential buyers. And fewer interested buyers means a lower selling price for your home.

Before Every Showing, You Should:

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  • Make the beds;
  • Tidy up;
  • Clean the kitchen;
  • Clean the bathrooms;
  • Take out the garbage;
  • Put away cash and valuables;
  • Sweep, vacuum, and wash floors; and,
  • Hide personal items and used items (e.g., towels, slippers, paperwork, etc.).


Easy Ways to Sell Your House Faster

To make your home stand out from the rest, take the time to:

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  • Fix the little things around your home that you’ve always been meaning to fix;
  • Paint your home with a neutral colour;
  • Store personal items, like family photos, cards, and your children’s artwork;
  • Boost your curb appeal by tidying up the outside of your home, including your garden, landscaping, and painting your front door;
  • Keep it clean at all times—you never know when you’ll have a last-minute viewing with a buyer who could be the one!


By following this house-showing etiquette, you can please buyers, help them make a connection to your house, and be more likely to get an offer. So keep these house showing tips for impressing buyers in mind each time you’re getting ready to show your house.