Fact: If you live in the home you’re selling, then sometimes your home looks “lived in”. So what do you do when the phone rings and a potential buyer wants to come through and all you can see are dishes in the sink, sports equipment and kids toys on the floors and laundry waiting to be done? Assuming you don’t have a live in cleaning person (we can dream, right?) then do a few quick pick me ups that won’t take too long to complete and will provide your prospects with a positive experience.
Important to Remember
If your home is too far gone, then try and give yourself some extra time to get it ready. Let the prospect know you can accommodate them in 2 hours (instead of in 45 minutes) and that you’re excited for them to view your home. You don’t want to miss out on a showing BUT the reality is even though; when you say, “please excuse the mess” and the buyer says, “oh that’s ok”…. IT’S NOT. Keep in mind, to a buyer, your obvious mess implies that there is probably an even bigger hidden mess under the stove, behind the refrigerator, etc. Purchase some stackable opaque storage bins that you keep empty so you can thrown in items that need to disappear at a moment’s notice. They can then be closed and neatly stacked in the basement, garage, or storage room during your showing while giving you easy access to those items once your ‘guests’ leave.
First Impressions Are Lasting! Move any clutter or shoes from the entryway. Even if you have a coat tree, take the coats off and put them in the closet. Perhaps put a great looking hat & scarf on the tree for style but a pile of coats minimizes the viewable space. DON’T throw everything on the floor in the closet. This will cause the closet to appear smaller than it is and buyers definitely will open your closets. Dirty laundry? Throw it in the washer or dryer. Just get it out of view.
Focus on Main Living Areas: Your top priorities should be the Kitchen, Living/Family Room, Master Bedroom and Bathrooms.
Kitchen: Empty the dishwasher daily so it’s always ready to be filled quickly. Clear your counters stashing everything except maybe your coffee pot. Remove stuff from the top of your refrigerator to reveal the cabinets above and take EVERYTHING off your refrigerator door and sides (might be special stuff to you…to your prospect it’s just clutter). Wipe down your appliances and floors (good to keep a swiffer type product handy…dry and wet for a quick swipe).
Living/Family Room: Vacuum carpets (just the areas that can be seen is fine) or wipe down wood/tile floors. Especially important if you have pets. Floating pet hair is not a good look and might be a problem if your buyer has allergies. Swiff away! Stash photos, magazines, etc. in one of those handy storage bins or if you have sofas with skirts just slide it all under the sofa and loveseat.
Master Suite: This is a very important room. If they love the Master, the other bedrooms become far less important. Let them see how much they’ll enjoy this private retreat. Get in the habit of making your bed every day so all you need to do is refresh the floors, hide the clutter (good reason to have a bed skirt….under the bed is a great hiding place)and give your table and dresser tops a quick wipe. Make sure your Master Bath is fresh, luxurious and reveals all its special features. Clear vanity tops and shower shelves, shine shower doors and mirrors. Add a lightly scented candle.
Bedrooms: Same as Master. Let your kids know that they need to make their beds every day as well. Toys, videos, books and clutter can be either put under their bed or thrown in a bin.
Baths: Clear vanity tops and shower shelves. Make shower doors and mirrors shine…no fingerprints or grime. Neatly hang fresh towels. Light a scented candle or give the room a fresh spray of something light with a linen or ocean scent. Toilets need to be clean, fresh and make sure the toilet seat cover is DOWN!
Make it Smell Fresh! Nothing feels more like home that the wafting aroma of baking bread. No time for that BUT it only takes a moment to place a tbsp of vanilla, almond or pumpkin extract on a piece of aluminum foil and put it in your oven at 250. Within a very short time your home will smell like you’ve been baking all day! Don’t use a lot of candles as that might imply that you’re trying to hide pet or other odors.
TIP: Enlist the whole family to help keep your home buyer ready and save yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Make a habit of swiffering your floors & dusting off tables daily as you walk through a room, loading and unloading the dishwasher, keeping the laundry up to date and put away, beds made and clutter in bins. Keep the front and top of the refrigerator clear. Put off season clothes in bins allowing for a more spacious view of your closets. Yes, you still live in your home but there are ways to make the spontaneous showing experience less stressful by keeping on top of things that can remain ordered.