How do you keep your home in showing condition, while you live there comfortably? AHRN.com has the organization, cleaning and showing tips you need!
Your home can sell in anywhere from a day to a year – most land somewhere in the middle. You want a lot of interest, but that means people will be coming to inspect your house, often on short notice. To turn interest into offers, they need to see it clean and empty enough to imagine their own things there… but practically speaking, you might have just had a kids sleepover, a dinner party, or were about to enjoy a lazy Sunday morning sprawled out with the paper.
GET INTO SHOW SHAPE
Yes, you have to sort and toss all you can, do a garage sale and donate what’s left. But take heart, this is what should be done before a move (Read our Prepare Your Home for Sale guide and 5 Steps to Organizing Your Garage). The next step is key: edit what’s left. This can seem hard, but it’s imperative. The less personal items potential buyers see the better, from toothbrushes to family photos to the kids fridge art to collectibles. Store extra chairs, dressers, bookcases, art, rugs, and lamps. Pack up all non-essentials like small appliances, excess Tupperware and cooking utensils, books, toys, tools, sports equipment and off season clothes. The good news is this creates space in cabinets and drawers for easy stashing of the things you DO use daily when a prospect is headed over.
You don’t want these things to go in your garage, basement or attic. Keeping those areas spacious and organized is an important selling plus. Put it all in a storage unit and see it as an investment! Read our blog post on insuring the contents.
KEEP IT CLEAN
If your daily routine makes it difficult for your home to look in showing shape, adopt these few new habits and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Hire a housekeeper to do a thorough cleaning of the corners, get under the big stuff, dust every centimeter and scrub bathroom and kitchen grit, making it far easier for you to do surface upkeep for regular showings. If you can afford monthly upkeep, that’s icing. Clean the windows too. You want all the light and any views maximized. Be sure to spot clean around all door handles and light switches. You tend to not see the fingerprints – but your seller may.
Create new habits if you didn’t have them before. It can be difficult to get teens to do their part here, but the more you clear out of their rooms, the easier it becomes.
- Everyone in the home needs to make their bed each morning. It should take 2 minutes, max. If you have too many decorative pillows or it’s too close to the wall and this holds you up, change that to make it easier.
- Tuck your clothes away immediately as you take them off. Have a neat, attractive laundry bin with a top. Hang wet towels so they can dry and be folded on the rack again, take up bathmats when not in use so they don’t collect dirt. Get nice garbage cans (especially the kitchen)– or better, hide them!
- Sort mail over a waste basket, tossing the junk rather than putting it on the counter for later. Stow bills and any personal items neatly on your desk, then don’t let that pile up!
- Stock a few select supplies where it’s easy to reach to make quick work of wipe downs. Rags or paper towels, a general all purpose spray cleaner, and a charged dust buster is all you may need!
When a showing is imminent, here’s your Quick List: hide dishes in washer, get crumbs off surfaces, wipe water spots from sinks, faucets, counters, and the stainless appliances. Erase toothpaste spritzes from the mirror, be sure johns are clean and that the TP rolls are at least filled. Take out bath/kitchen garbage, light a citrus candle if pets are around, and check for their hair.
- PETS: Have a quick remedy for pet smells (NOT perfumed air spray – maybe a citrus candle) and a stock of lint rolls or a good dust buster ready to pick up hair. Keep food bowls and litter boxes out of the way – do not keep them in the kitchen or bathroom for showings!
- TOYS: If your kids need to keep more than you’d like, at least pare down what’s in the house and rotate them in and out of neat bins in the basement/attic/garage. Pick up inexpensive plastic stackables from Walmart or the Dollar Store and create a stowage system where they can be stashed quickly and neatly. If needed, have a barrel in the yard or garage for outside toys.
Plan a series of well-timed open houses with your agent, one for other agents and a few for the public, so as many people as possible can see it at once.
You’ll want to be as flexible as possible about showings, but if you have kids or are caring for parents, you might have to agree with your agent on some off-limit time frames. Usually you want 24-hour notice but often there can be requests to visit within that day or hour. It can get taxing but if you really need to sell, it’s a concession you may need to make.
It’s worth telling your agent that you will make last minute showing exceptions for qualified buyers – those who have shown they have the cash or the bank loan approval to buy in your price range. Too often you can launch into hyper-clean mode for someone who just wanted to see inside – they should be coming to the open houses instead of inconveniencing you.
If you want to sell, finding a way to keep it in showing shape while you live there is key to your your success. So pare down belongings, store as much as you can, tidy the big areas as you go, and simplify cleaning. Once you develop these few new habits, you may end up keeping them when you move into your new home!
Meet Your Contributor:
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting and buying/selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review,The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at https://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at https://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com.