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Easy Guide To Prep For Viewing In One Hour


It’s one thing to do all the hard work to get your home ready for photos, but what happens next? Here’s how you prep for viewing in one hour. 

Media Room - Presentation Sells

Now it’s really important that you don’t drop the ball when the agent has an interested party waiting to view your home in one hour. Follow these rules to make your one-hour prep less of a stress…

1. The 3-Month Rule

The secret to being show-ready in one hour in an occupied home-for-sale revolves around planning for home presentation from the start of your marketing campaign.

From the get-go, think of your campaign as being of three-months duration.  It might take longer or it might take less time to sell your home, but thinking in a three-month time frame gives your campaign start and end-dates. It also helps you to manage your own expectations and avoid some of the highs and lows of the selling process.

Keep it simple

Avoid over-styling. Keeping things simple will mean half the battle is won when you have to style in one hour.

If you’re worried you can’t keep on top of it all, here’s a couple of great bonus reads to get you ready to prep for viewing in one hour:

12 Ways To Keep A Clean Home

Pack First Then Sell

One season

In nature, three months is one season. In your home for sale this is one season of clothes, of bedlinen and of toys, etc.  Therefore, everything that will not be used in one season can be packed away beforehand. 

Kid friendly

As somebody wise and famous once may have said, “I can do anything for 3 months.”  Unless they were the mother of young children of course!

Young Kid's Bedroom

We’ve actually designed the prep in one hour to make it easier for mums too.  If possible, involve the kids. Ask each to choose what clothes, toys and books they can’t live without (for the next 3 months). Pack away everything else.

Pack first, then sell

Pack up early in the home selling process, rather than later. Aim to have only two-thirds to three-quarters or less of the shelves in your cupboards, pantry and wardrobes stocked and neatly stacked. Label storage boxes or tubs and store them in the garage if you need to access the contents or can’t store them offsite. 

2. The After 8 Rule

Have you heard of the ‘AFTER 8’ rule: That living or working spaces should be recreated as adult spaces by 8pm each evening? As an adult, this rule gifts you a couple of hours of much needed respite each evening.

Kids boxes

Using only what the children have identified as their ‘must-haves’, designate a storage box or cupboard shelf per child. Everything must go back into storage by 8pm in the evening. This makes it easier to clear living areas of toys, etc. in just a few minutes.

After Eight Rule

Office spacious

Place into storage unused files and paperwork. Create a ‘working’ documents cupboard or container.  Clear the desk and put all paperwork in the cupboard by 8pm. If they’re confidential papers, safeguard your privacy and make sure they’re under lock and key during open for inspection viewings.

Plastic containers can also work but don’t keep them on display, store in the garage or in the back of the car during inspections.

3. The Picture-Perfect Rule

Your home never looks better than in that sweet spot between where the preparation for viewing ends and the professional photos are taken.  This is the moment that you are trying to capture and recreate in your one-hour prep for viewings.  Here’s how to have your home looking like the real estate photos at every viewing.

Photo styling

Take photos of your freshly styled home just before or after the professional photos.  Focus on bedrooms and living areas where scatter cushions and accessories are likely to be moved around between viewings. Now that you have a picture of each room on your phone; view them or print out and keep in the room so you can quickly see where everything should go.

Master Bedroom - Presentation Sells

Cushion bags

The ‘for show’ scatter cushions, throws and doonas or bedspreads can be placed in a large bag – one for each room.  It’s best to attach a photo of the how the styled room looks to the front of the bag. Ideally, show cushions should only be resurrected just before an open home or private viewing so they don’t get wrecked or dirty from overuse.

Note: You may need a cupboard, garage or spare room to store the ‘Prep For An Open In One Hour’ items when not in use.

Blinds, Curtains and Lights

Make sure all the blinds and/or curtains are open and the lights are on prior to viewing.

4. Bonus: Room-by-Room Rules

Okay, the agent has just called. They want to bring a prospective buyer through in one hour. Let’s get started!

1. Front Entry

First Impressions. Does it look clean and clear, inviting and friendly?

2. Living Areas

If you have prepared from your photos, this should be and easy prep. If necessary, sweep the carpets with a clean soft broom so the pile goes in one direction in the heavy traffic areas.

3. Kitchen

The bench tops and floor needs to be clean and clear. Make sure appliances and cupboard doors are free of sticky bits and finger prints. Remove foodstuffs from view and empty bins.

4. Dining Room

Don’t be tempted to over-stage the dining table. A vase of flowers or tall ornament will make it much quicker to be show-ready than a full dining set.

5. Bedrooms

Cover your ‘working’ doonas and pillows under ‘show’ pillows, doonas or bedspreads. That way you’re not remaking the bed from scratch each time. Doona inserts and pillows can be bought cheaply.

6. Bathrooms

Empty bin, freshen towels and put the toilet seat down. Keep personal toiletries in a plastic tray which can easily be put away in the cupboard.

7. Rumpus

A heavy use room like the games or rumpus room should be kept simply styled while on the market so it’s quick and easy to tidy up when required.

8. Outdoor Living

Again, clean and simple wins the day. Animal bowls and litter should not be on display.

9. Garage

If necessary, pile up boxes neatly in one part of the garage so you can still see the majority of the floor space.

Do your best with the time allocated.

Respect Your Buyers

Once the prep is completed, it’s time for you, your family and pets to get out of the house before the prospective buyers arrive. Do not under any circumstances be tempted to stay, even if the agent says it’s okay. It’s not. ‘At home’ owners make it really uncomfortable for buyers to inspect properly and can cost the seller dearly.

Light Art Media
Caco Photography

A two-hour home staging consultation with Tracey starts from $350 and helps you see your home more clearly through ‘buyers eyes’. Contact Tracey

Tracey McLeod

Tracey McLeod, Visual Marketing Specialist, Presentation Sells

About Tracey

Tracey McLeod is an internationally recognised award-winning interior decorator and home stager; a visual marketing specialist in home presentation that sells.

Combining her extensive experience in interior decor with a strong background in marketing; Tracey helps home sellers, property specialists and real estate agents to maximise sale price by creating ‘fall in love factor’ for buyers through home presentation.


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