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Picture this: You’re watching TV with your family, and suddenly you receive a showing request from the agent of a potential buyer. Is your living space ready to be shown, or do you have to scramble to make the house presentable?
Living in your house while it is being shown to potential buyers can be challenging. Keeping your home “showing-ready” while continuing your normal routines is a balancing act we’ve helped many of our clients navigate. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that will enable you to keep your house ready for last-minute showings. Basically, it is a matter of focus and planning.
Remember, you want buyers to see themselves living in your home when they come and view it. The more distractions your home presents, the less likely they are to see themselves at home in your home.
Making your bed every day, when you get up, is one of the easiest ways to keep your home ready for showings. Buyers want bedrooms to be restful, serene, and pretty. Spalike. A messy, unmade bed does not convey that appearance. This simple practice shows your buyers what the bedroom looks like when it’s put together and tidy. A messy bedroom might imply to potential buyers that you don’t care about your space enough to upkeep other parts of your home. Help potential buyers see that sparkle in your home that comes from it being well-loved and maintained. An unmade bed is a distraction to buyers because it reminds them that you live here.
No one loves doing dishes, but keeping your sinks empty and clean is an important and easy step to make sure your home is ready to be shown at a moment’s notice. Dirty dishes can add clutter, attract pests and cause unsavory odors. Oftentimes, kitchens and bathrooms are what potential buyers fixate on when considering a home, so it’s essential that sellers take the time to keep these areas clean.
This can involve putting dishes away, or sticking them in the dishwasher. At the end of each meal, clean your kitchen, wash your dishes, and run your dishwasher. Store food products and make sure your cabinets are orderly. Also, carry out the trash regularly and do not let it linger indoors. Countertops, appliances, and the floor need to sparkle. And the countertops need to be free of clutter so they appear as ample as possible. Remember, when prospective buyers view your kitchen, you want them to envision wonderful meals and wonderful experiences with family and friends.
If you have young children, keeping a house tidy requires special attention. A tidy home tells potential buyers there is enough room and storage for a family to enjoy living while still achieving a calm and orderly existence. Nicely displayed toys can even work to your benefit by showing buyers “what could be.”
After playtime is over, return toys to the toybox, stack books, and make sure to check all of the rooms for wayward stuffed animals or blocks. Seeing toys strewn about can be unattractive, but adding tripping hazards to the mix is worse. You don’t want a potential buyer to step on a LEGOⓇ!
Also, remember your potential buyers may have children with them when they tour your home. And, if toys are out, the visiting children may play with them. This is another reason to put most if not all toys away for showings.
Now that we’ve covered what to do with children’s toys, let’s talk about everything else. Before listing your home, you should have already completed the bulk of the decluttering. We often say our homes never look better than the day we put them on the market. And deep inside, we know we enjoy the clean, orderly feel of our ‘show ready’ home even though it does not seem normal. With today’s low inventory, many homes sell fast so the owners do not have to maintain ‘perfection’ for long. However, doing so is helpful to all of the routines which may occur with buyers and their agents making repeat visits for inspections and the appraisal, and even the final walk-thru. Remember, it is easier to keep your home tidy and clean and orderly on a daily basis than it is to clean and organize it each time someone visits.
Throw away junk mail and file away what you need as soon as you get the mail each day. For privacy and security concerns, do not leave mail or documents out where visitors to your home can see them. Your financial and personal information is not any of their business. And, they may be distracted from the viewing if you leave them personal, private information to review.
Discard, recycle or put away cups, cans, tissues, and other normal items that end up on common surfaces. Also store medications in a private, secure place. Remember, buyers will open closets, cabinets, and drawers although they likely will not open pieces of furniture.
Put away groceries and other goods as soon as you get back from the store. Anything that you can keep out of the immediate eye line of buyers is good. This includes canned goods, extra toilet paper, etc. You were likely going to put it away eventually, so you may as well do it now!
Giving attention to details like these will keep you from scrambling at the last minute.
Vacuuming and sweeping regularly are essential habits to keep and make a difference when it comes to keeping your house ready for showings. This step is particularly crucial if you have pets. If you see fluff or dirt, run the vacuum and sweep the floors. It’s easy to forget about, but your buyers will notice clumps of pet hair and dirt. Make sure your floors shine. If hardwood floors appear worn and dry, apply a product to refresh them. If the grout in tile floors is dark and dirty, clean it.
We wholly recommend a stick vacuum cleaner for this task, coupled with a mop with a disposable/reusable head. Make it as quick and easy on yourself as possible.
Olfactory fatigue (commonly called nose blindness) is absolutely real. Over time, we become unaware of the scents with which we live. If you have cats, you may not realize that their litter box is giving off a smell, that the dog bed smells a little bit like mildew, or that the garbage disposal is beginning to develop a certain odor. The older your home, the more vulnerable it is to odors. The more humidity in your home, the more noticeable odors may be. The less fresh air that you let circulate in your home, the greater the risk of a musty smell.
You may want to have a trusted friend or family member visit your home a few times and report on the ‘sniff test’. There are readily available household products that will remove excess humidity over time, and in doing so will remove odors. If you feel the need to add some sort of ‘pleasant order, make sure it is subtle and unobtrusive. Select a scent from the “natural” spectrum such as lemon verbena, rosemary, lavender, or other scents that smell like they could be cleaners. Avoid wildly tropical or fruity scents as they tend to give the impression that something is being covered up. And remember, if a prospective buyer smells an obtrusive scent, they will automatically sniff to see what it is covering up. And if it is covering something up, they will likely detect it.
Marx-Bensdorf has been helping buyers and sellers in the greater Memphis area for many years. We have the experience and local market knowledge to guide you through the entire realty process from start to finish. If you’re looking for more information on how to sell your home quickly and at the best price, reach out today and learn what our licensed REALTORS® can do for you.