Think of a time when you were a guest in someone’s home. What were the things that you appreciated? What were the things that you didn’t like? Use your experience and our checklist to optimize your home for company.
Written for Redefy Real Estate by Thomas Jepsen
Creating a good first impression can be important, and no one likes criticism. But ultimately, your goal should be creating a comfortable and safe atmosphere for all your guests. There’s no need to panic over these items. You can perform most of these tasks with plenty of time to spare before your company arrives.
1. Inspect your walkway
It doesn’t matter what season it is. You should set aside some time to closely inspect your walkway. Check for cracks, protrusions and similar issues that can lead to accidents. Make sure to have them fixed or at least patched.
You should also clean your walkway. Rake the leaves. If it’s winter, shovel the snow or scrape/salt the ice. You can also take this time to decide if your walkway is due for a future upgrade. It’s one of the things that improves curb appeal.
2. Look at your home from your curb
Head out to your curb and take a look at your home from an objective point of view. Is the siding okay? How about the roofing? Does your home require a fresh coat of paint? Does the yard need a cleanup? Some of these tasks may take more time than you have right now, but take note of issues for future maintenance. Do your best to at least clean up the yard and make sure the front step area is tidy (no cobwebs, etc.).
Do your best to at least clean up the yard and make sure the front step area is tidy.
3. Declutter your home
A cluttered home is a chaotic home. Clutter looks bad, but can also lead to accidents. For example, loose cords can cause your guests to trip. You also wouldn’t want anyone to step or trip on your kids’ toys while going up or down the stairs. You get the idea. Walk around the house and look for objects jutting from shelves and tripping hazards on the floor.
An uncluttered home is a also more comfortable home for guests. Your visitors won’t need to move things around to find space for their suitcases, etc. Is there adequate closet space for clothes to be hung? Is there counter or cabinet space available in the bathroom?
4. Clean your home
Dirt and germs are a turnoff, not to mention a health hazard. Imagine staying in a home with a dirty bathroom. Eww. Cleaning is essential for a positive guest experience.
5. Light it up
Make sure that all lights are functional and accessible by walking through the areas your guests will go. There should be night lights in all the rooms that your guests will be using. These include the guest bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and hallways. Remember that they’re not familiar with your home. You wouldn’t want them feeling their way around in the dark on their way to the bathroom.
Make sure that the walkways and entryways are well-lit as well. This is especially helpful if they’re arriving and/or leaving at night.
There should be night lights in all the rooms that your guests will be using.
6. Secure carpets and rugs
For those unfamiliar with your home, carpets and rugs can be causes of accidents. Company can easily trip or slip on unsecured floor coverings. Secure carpets and area rugs with double-sided rug tape so they’re attached to the floor. If you’re concerned about using tape, consider natural rubber pads. Clean rugs according to their type.
7. Test the integrity of your stairs
As the homeowner, you probably know the areas in your stairs that you shouldn’t step on because of damage. That could be a problem for company. Do repairs as soon as possible, or replace broken treads. A stair rug could be beneficial for slippery wood stairs. Also check railings to make sure that they’re fastened tightly.
8. Improve bathroom safety
Non-slip mats are a must, especially in the shower. Make sure that all fixtures are working and that outlets near water have safety circuits (GFCI). If you’re having guests with small children, make sure cabinets with cleaning products have safety latches. Also check the water heater temperature is set to 120 degrees or less to avoid burns.
9. Make your home smell good
Walk out of your house, wait a few minutes and walk in. What do you smell? Remember that even if your home smells okay to you, it doesn’t mean that it smells okay to others. You could have just gotten used to the smell. Throw open the windows while you clean, light candles (make sure your company isn’t allergic to certain smells), use a fabric refresher. Take out the trash. Clean litter boxes and pet beds. Give Fido a bath, too.
Remember that even if your home smells okay to you, it doesn’t mean that it smells okay to others.
10. Check the doors and windows
Check windows for leaks that would make the room drafty. A little caulk can solve that issue. Do the door and window locks work? You want your company to feel safe and have a sense of privacy.
11. Check your entire home
The home maintenance tasks to do before you have company listed above are very specific. There may be other tasks that need to be done, depending on your home: patio area, pool/hot tub cleanup, yard toys, gates, etc. Is there room for improvement? Other damage in need of repair? How about broken things like furniture that need to be repaired or replaced? Is your kitchen and bathroom well-stocked?
These home maintenance projects can be accomplished with minimal stress if you set aside a few hours to make a checklist and do a few tasks each day before guests arrive. If you have a bigger problem, make sure you have enough time to get a contractor in. When you’re done, you’ll feel comfortable that your company will enjoy being in your home.
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Thomas Jepsen is the owner of Contractor Quotes, helping homeowners save time and money by putting them in contact with screened contractors in their area.