When you’re doing something as important as selling your home—your big investment, your number-one asset—being prepared to do everything necessary is, well … really important.

That’s why being ready for last-minute showings (pain in the neck that they might seem to be) can make the difference between selling your home for the price you want and selling it for the price you were quietly dreading.

To be ready, start with staging your house. True, it might cost you a little extra time and money, but staging your home to show well to anyone and everyone who might come through will pay huge dividends. Staged homes sell for an average of 7 percent more than non-staged homes, and it’s easy to see why: Preparing a well-scripted, well-tended path for visitors to walk through and see your home in all of its toned-down, symmetrically-decorated glory makes a very good impression.

Next, just keep the place picked up and clean, for crying out loud. Nothing says, “Go away, come back later” quite as loudly as a house with a pile of dust in a corner and a pile of unwashed clothes on the floor to match. Cleanliness tells visitors that the house has been well-kept; dirt and dust say just the opposite.

Lastly, make sure major repairs have been done: doors, windows, appliances, ceilings and roof. Glaring disrepair makes the buyer beware.

Don’t be caught unprepared. That last-minute showing your agent is asking for just might be the party you’ve been waiting for.