Tanja is one of the realtors I work with. She just wrote this awesome post about getting your house or condo ready to show. Love all the tips and information she has. This will be very helpful for sellers.
To prepare for having their home on the market, Sellers often invest lots of time and energy. The bathrooms and kitchen are scrubbed like never before, before the first Realtor is even invited for the listing appointment. The landscaping spruced up (we all know about the curb appeal!), and in general the property has never looked better than the day the home goes on the market.
And then life happens … and the home is a mess. And the phone call comes: “Can the house be shown like right now, we are kind of already in the neighborhood!?”
Whatever the scenario, if you ever have only 15 minutes to get your property ready for a showing, here is what I would like my Sellers to do with those precious 15 min:
1. Race through the house and pick up ANY dirty laundry. Get it off the floor, off the chairs, off the bathroom sink (wipe any toothpaste/hair off the vanity with a used towel, looks 100% better with 10 seconds of time investment). Put in laundry baskets, if they are full, put in trash bags in the garage, looks like you’re ready for trash day or donations! Nobody wants to see other people’s used undies. EVER.
2. Make all the beds in the house. Straighten the pillows and sheets, put a blanket or throw on it. It is creepy and feels way too intimate for Buyers to view the Sellers’ unmade bed, they will be so distracted that they can’t envision your bedroom as their own!
3. If there are dirty dishes, put them in the dishwasher. Doesn’t matter how you load them in, or if food is stuck to them, just store them in there to get them off the table and counter. If the dishwasher is full or you don’t have one, make sure all the dirty dishes are together in the sink, not spread out all over the kitchen. Buyers are visiting to see the kitchen, not to view an assortment of your used dishes.
4. Take a plastic grocery bag or trash bag and stuff any paper and clutter that’s on your kitchen counter and table in it. Newspaper, coupons, mail, kid’s homework, kids lunch box, grocery list, etc. Hide in pantry, laundry room or worst case your car!
5. As you are racing through the house, open blinds and turn on lights in darker rooms, or bathrooms without windows.
If there is time left:
6. Grab disinfectant wipes. Start in master bathroom, grab a couple wipes and wipe the sink, the toilet seat and toilet rim (don’t forget the space behind the toilet lid, where little boys tend to somehow miraculously splatter!), put the lid down. Buyers and Agents sometimes have to go to the bathroom on tours, if anybody is attempting to use your bathroom while there, your toilet should be appealing.
7. (Sparingly) spray some room freshener or Febreeze, in particular by the dirty laundry, which often has a smell of its own!.
8. Vacuum or sweep the floor (Ok, I know, by now the doorbell is ringing!).
Last but not least:
9. Put a smile on your face, and wave in a friendly manner as you are leaving the property for the Buyer and Agent to view your sparkling home in peace and quiet!
My personal opinion is that kids’ toys and messes are being picked up last. Every Buyer knows that kids make a mess, that’s excusable. Start picking up in the public areas of the house, living, dining, kitchen, then master bedroom/bathroom.
I have tested all of these tricks myself, mostly when friends or relatives are coming over “I’m out and about, just calling to see if you’re home, I’ll be there in a little bit!”. They do work. You will be amazed yourself what impact you made in such a short time. They make a hopelessly messy home look like a home that normal, pretty tidy people live in!
Buyers know you live here, they don’t expect a museum when visiting an occupied property. Good luck, and keep the trash bags and disinfectant wipes ready, you never know when that phone call comes ….!
A House is made with walls and beams …. a Home is made with Love and Dreams!
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