How To Prepare For Last Minute Home Showings in Columbus Ohio

Planning to sell your home while you still live in it? Preparing for last-minute home showings ahead of time will make your life much easier. You will absolutely need to know how to get your house ready to show with short notice – possibly as little as a few minutes.

If you haven’t done so already, start by getting your home ready for sale. Pre-pack, purge, and deep clean your home so it is easier to prepare for home showings. Keeping your home show-ready (along with preparation and correct pricing) is a big part of selling your home faster for more money. The faster you can sell your home, the less time you have to spend stressing about showings. 

It is much easier to get ready for last-minute showings if deep cleaning, decluttering, and repairs have already been done and are maintained daily. It’s impossible to clean out the fridge or wash windows with an hour's notice, so the big stuff should be done BEFORE you are dealing with last-minute showing requests.

I've been in your shoes and sold homes with kids and pets. Use my tips to get your Columbus home show ready within an hour (or less). These are best practices, but I know it's not always possible to follow them to the letter.

As you're selling your home, keep repeating that the faster you can sell, the faster you'll be done. There are 3 key things to selling fast for more: correct price, preparation, and stay show-ready. This post will help you keep your home show-ready.

Table Of Contents

💬Communicate Your Needs

Talk with your agent about your schedule and the best time for home showings. Let your agent know how much warning you need for showings. Last-minute showings may still happen, but having guidelines in place will help.

It is extremely important that you be as accommodating as possible to potential buyers. After all, any showing could be the one that results in an offer. If you never show your home to buyers, it won’t sell. 

✔️Home Showing Plan & Pre-Showing Checklist

Put a plan in place to quickly get your home ready for home showings, and do practice runs to work out any kinks in your plan.

Identify the common clutter spots in your home, and think of ways to not only keep the clutter down but to clean them within a few minutes. For instance, a common clutter spot may be the kitchen table. Address the area ahead of time, and have places to quickly put away the items that typically accumulate there. Manage the clutter daily, so that when a last-minute showing request comes in you can clean more quickly.

Sample Last Minute Home Showing Plan

Turn on air conditioning or heat as needed to have the home at a comfortable temperature by the time of the showing.

Sweep the front steps and clean the front door glass.

Have a laundry basket or storage bin that you can carry around the house to pick up any clutter. The goal is for counters and other surfaces to be completely clear and clean. Have a hidden place set aside where you can stash the basket/bin, or take it with you when you leave for the showing.

Put together a cleaning caddy with some basic cleaning supplies: cleaning towels, glass cleaner and/or nice smelling household cleaner, disinfecting wipes, feather duster, fresh trash bags etc… whatever you use for basic cleaning. Use this caddy and a broom and/or vacuum to go room by room throughout the house wiping down surfaces, emptying trash, and then cleaning the floor. Make sure to leave the light on and open the blinds in each room. The idea is to move quickly through the house making sure each room is spotless.

Room By Room Cleaning Checklist For Home Showings

  • Turn on Lights
  • Open Blinds/Curtains
  • Clear Clutter
  • Straighten books, throw pillows, blankets, etc
  • Wipe Down and/or Dust Surfaces
  • Empty Trash & Replace Liner
  • Clean The Floor As You Leave The Room

Get Full Checklist


Tips For Cleaning Bathrooms With Short Notice: Keep a toilet brush behind the toilet in each bathroom. When you clean the bathroom just before a showing, use some cleaning spray and the toilet brush to quickly clean the toilet. MAKE SURE TO PUT THE TOILET LID DOWN when you’re done cleaning the toilet.

It can also be helpful to keep sanitizing wipes in each bathroom’s cabinet. This will help you quickly wipe down the bathroom at any time.

If you leave towels out in a bathroom, they need to be neat and tidy.

Clean mirrors and faucets so they shine, and put personal items such as shampoo bottles, loofahs, and toothbrushes away in a cabinet. Or, have a bin to stash personal items. Hide the bin or take it with you.

The goal is to leave a blank slate with only staged items such as an orchid, a nice candle, or a clean fluffy towel. Think minimalisticly.

Tips For Cleaning Bedrooms With Short Notice: Make beds neatly. Resist the urge to move bedroom clutter into the closet. Buyers will open the closet, so it needs to be clean. In fact, less is more in the closets (less stuff looks like more space). Under-the-bed storage bins are great for quickly stowing items from the bedroom and bathroom (as long as people can't see under the bed).

Tips For Cleaning The Kitchen With Short Notice: The kitchen can be one of the most challenging rooms to keep clean and show-ready. Most of us make multiple meals in the kitchen every day. The best thing you can do to keep a kitchen show ready is to clean after every meal or snack. Wash dishes immediately (or load them right into the dishwasher). Wipe down surfaces regularly including cabinets, appliances, and even the shelves in the fridge.

Small appliances should have a home in the pantry or cabinet and be cleaned and put away after use. The goal is wide-open counters with as few items as possible taking up counter space.

Have cleaning wipes on hand to quickly wipe down the kitchen right before a showing. If you’re really in a rush, use a bin or laundry basket to put things like dirty dishes, papers, stuff on the fridge, and any other bits that may have accumulated in the kitchen. Take the bin with you when you leave, or stow it in the garage or attic if you have space.

Ideally, you want the kitchen to be clear and everything to be clean and shiny. This includes the fridge - the goal is to not have anything on the fridge. 

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Last Minute Showings With Kids

Kids can make anything you’re trying to do take longer. If you have kids and you’re preparing for last-minute showings, you must plan for things to take more time. This is especially true if you have young children. If you have a trusted sitter nearby that you can call, that can help make last-minute cleaning and showings much easier for the whole family.

Prepare ahead of time by packing up or getting rid of as much of the toys, clothing, and gear as possible. For the remaining items, invest in clear storage bins. This will allow you and your kids to easily access and put away the remaining toys.

It will also be helpful to think ahead about what you will do during showings. Set aside a little extra in your budget to go out to eat or go to the movies, and scope out free things to do in your area too. Parks, libraries, and museums are great places to find free stuff to do with kids.

If the kids are old enough to have helped you get the house ready for a last-minute showing, the outing can be a great reward for their hard work.

Showings are usually blocked off by the hour, so plan on generally being out of the house for about an hour or two.

When selling a home with young children, it can be especially frustrating to get a showing request at naptime or during a meal. Talk with your agent about your schedule. Make large blocks of time when the house is ready and available for showings. For instance, day trips or getaways on the weekends allow for open houses, when many buyers can see the home at once.

Have A Getaway Bag Ready

Have a bag ready ahead of time so you can quickly leave the house with your kids. This is for snacks, drinks, an umbrella, jacket, small toys, books, a first-aid kit, or whatever you need to leave the house for an hour or more with kids. For older kids, each may want to have their own getaway backpack with things to do. I had a bag that I kept in the car.

🐾Last Minute Showings With Pets

Getting a home ready for showings when you have pets can be challenging.

When selling a home with pets, you will need to plan for where the pets will be during showings, as well as what you’re going to do with their stuff. Ideally, potential home buyers will not even know pets live in your home. Pets, their odors, and their things can be a big distraction for buyers. Pet items need to be put away out of sight, or taken with you when you leave for the showing.

At the very least, pets need to be secure while the home is being shown. Take them with you or to a neighbor’s house during the showing if at all possible. Try to avoid keeping pets in a specific room and not allowing buyers access to that room. Buyers will want to see the whole house and the garage. If pets have to stay home, crate them and put a blanket over the crate to help keep their own stress levels down. This will help them feel more secure.

If you have cats in the house, clean the cat boxes frequently. This will reduce cat box odors. Nobody wants to see or smell a dirty cat box when looking at a home.

Talk With A Pro

Dealing with last-minute home showings can be stressful, but if you focus on presenting a spotless home inside and out for each potential buyer, you are more likely to get better offers faster. Once you’re under contract with a great offer, you won’t have to stress about last-minute showings any longer.

The absolute best thing you can do to limit the stress of home selling is to call a professional. An experienced real estate agent will have the knowledge and resources to make your home sale as painless as possible. Contact Central Ohio Realtor Rita Boswell today at 614-830-9767. Rita is the go-to expert on selling a home with less stress in Columbus.

Get A Cash Offer

If you can't or don't want to deal with everything that goes along with listing your home traditionally (repairs, cleaning, staging, showings, etc), you have other options. We can help you get a fast, fair cash offer on your home allowing you to quickly move on to your next adventure.

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