Stress Free Tips For Getting Your Home Show Ready
Wednesday Apr 03rd, 2019
There are many reasons why people list their homes for sale. Some are lucky to have control over the timing in which they put their house on the market, while others may be forced to list quickly due to a relocation, a new baby on the way, aging parents moving in, etc. Timing is often a critical component related to the speed of a sale. The spring and fall markets tend to be the busiest and most active markets. This may lead to many showings over a short period of time, while the summer months may result in fewer showings with days between appointments and a longer listing period. Whatever the situation, showings can be very stressful to prepare for, especially for busy families with children and pets. A "clean" house is one thing, but a "show ready" house is an entirely different thing altogether. Here are a few tips to help alleviate the anxiety felt by many when a showing is booked.
1. Start packing. While this may seem a bit premature, once you have listed your home for sale, it is effectively not yours anymore for all intents and purposes. If you list in the spring/summer months, pack away your winter coats, sweaters, boots, etc and store them somewhere. Perhaps consider visiting a consignment shop to free up some space and get rid of some items you don't plan to use in your new home while making a little money as a bonus. Kids can be a bit tricky since they rarely like to part with their toys and belongings so this may take some creative incentivizing. Perhaps a special treat for every few toys they agree to donate or a reward of 0.25$ per item so they can fill their piggy bank. Either way, the less around to clean, store and organize, the better.
2. Get rid of the garbage. Not surprisingly, the smell of garbage can be a deterrent for potential Buyers. Come up with a plan that saves time and effort and make sure the whole family is on board. In the bedrooms and bathrooms, a plastic shopping bag can be hung on a door knob and quickly tossed when there's a showing ensuring nothing is left behind in the trash bins. In the kitchen, the same rule applies. Use smaller bags so you don't have to wait to fill a larger bag and simply toss it when preparing your home. Don't forget to put out the compost as well.
3. Designate a junk zone. We all have junk drawers which are great for stashing away pens, loose change, and other various items that accumulate around the house, but larger items, such as stray toys, books and newspapers, random articles of clothing, etc, require a home as well. Consider a tall hamper or storage bin that can be tucked away in the front hall closet. As you move from room to room and pick up these items, you can quickly toss them in where they are out of the way and easy to retreive once the showing is complete. In the bedrooms, a suitcase works brilliantly. You can put dirty clothes, and anything else that needs to be hidden, put it in a roller bag and take it with you in the car when leaving.
4. Decide which bathrooms to use. Bathrooms can be time consuming to clean so if at all possible, come up with a plan to use only a select few so as to keep others clean and sparkling. Encouraging kids to share a bathroom will save you precious time when preparing for a showing as you will only need to clean a single tub and sink. Putting a towel on the vanity can be helpful as well as it will catch makeup, hair, and an assortment of other things. Simply roll it up and put it under the sink. Also keep a bottle of Windex or other glass and surface cleaner under the sink with a roll of paper towel so you can wipe off any toothpaste marks from the mirror and make sure the countertops and faucets are gleaming.
5. The 3-5 minute rule. Once the house is show ready, you'll need to determine how many minutes you'll need to spend in each room to get it back to that state once it's been used or lived in. Generally 3-5 minutes should suffice. Set a timer on your phone if needed the first few times and you'll have a routine down in no time flat. This is a great time to allow the kids to watch their favourite show so they won't be distracting you or making a mess in a room you've tidied up. Make sure throw blankets and pillows are in their correct positions, curtains and blinds are open, remote controls are tucked away, floors are swept or vacuumed, counters are tidy and cleaned and turn all the lights on. If you have an audio system in the home, some ambient music can make a nice touch and create a great first impression.
6. If in doubt, book a holiday. If your home is coming during a particulary busy market and you expect to have a flurry of showings, consider taking the family away for a long weekend or a holiday to avoid being continually kicked out of your home. Take the pets, or have them boarded so the home can be shown around the clock and open housed on the weekend with the hope of a speedy sale. In an ideal world, this requires only 1 good clean and ultimately less stress. If this is not feasible or a likely scenario given market conditions, make sure there is enough notice given for showings so you're able to manage without too much anxiety.
7. Consider having a staging consult. Often times a realtor will cover the cost of this consultation. The stager can really help minimize stress by going from room to room and highlighting which items should stay, and which should go. The less items per room, the larger a room will seem to potential Buyers and it makes it easier to keep clean. They can also provide tips on moving around existing items in your home to showcase certain features and repurpose some items to create a fresh, updated feel which should be easy to maintain with little effort. They may recommend where to positon plants or flowers, where to add a mirror, and how to store all your kitchen gadgets and toiletries to keep surfaces clean and tidy.
If you want to chat about any of these items more, don't hesitate to reach out and I'd be happy to help. I have an extensive list of Stagers, Interior Decorators, Painters, Organizational Specialists, Movers, Storage Facilities, and much, much more! We all work together to ensure everything goes smoothly from the moment you decide to list your home, to the moment it closes and you start your next chapter. Moving may not be the most fun thing in the world, but it doesn't need to be stressful!
Time to go show some houses....
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