Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home "showtime" ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets. Showings & Open House checklist • Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months. • Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations than pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people. • Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location. • Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage. • Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table. • Have a family plan of action: Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about. • Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh. • Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is. The Essential Five-minute Clean-up for Showings Everyone gets their baskets and cleans up clutter. Check for hazards, like toys left on the floor. Make sure all toys, including bicycles, are put away. • Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you: In the listing instructions, there should be a warning if there is a big dog on premises. Buyers with allergies also may appreciate knowing in advance if you have pets. • Turn on lights: Open the drapes, turn on lights so buyers can really see. • Give the buyer privacy: The buyer can not come to your home without being accompanied by an agent. The buyer can assess your home more honestly without your presence.