Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Practical Tips for Showing Your Home

These are practical tips that will hopefully be helpful. I am new to this and have appreciated any advice I've received so I thought I'd compile it. I have a toddler, but the thought of having my house immaculate at any given moment, ready for potential buyers to come look in every corner and closet has been a little terrifying

Here are some tips I've found helpful:

I received a great, practical tip from my mother-in-law, who has much experience in this department with several moves under her belt.

1. Don't be afraid to shove anything and everything (papers sitting out, that half-eaten cake sitting in the pan with a fork in it and tin foil on the top, dirty dishes in the sink) into your dishwasher and oven. (Hopefully they won't be that nosy and look in their, too!)

In order to do this, we have to do all we can to keep our dishwasher empty. So keep those dishes moving!

As far as the stove goes, don't forget about whatever you put in there... I already learned this from experience. I shoved previously mentioned half-eaten cake in there yesterday before the Realtor came for his walk through and when I opened the preheated oven to put the cookies in today, I found the cake... reheated... surprise! That could obviously cause a problem if it was something plastic or... paper! Eeek. Maybe we should just try not to put anything highly flammable in there.

2. Start packing and moving stuff out... immediately.

Even if you aren't moving for months! We have a shed out back we are going to put our packed boxes in. The easiest was to keep a clean house is to keep it as empty and clutter-free as possible. If it's summer, pack up all your winter clothes. Pack up those kitchen gadgets you never use, and anything else you think you can live without until you move. If you don't have a shed or another space, consider a friend who may have extra space, or even a storage unit.

3. Declutter and depersonalize.

Decluttering is an extension of number two. Cleaning (when you're in a time crunch) will be so much more manageable with as little "stuff" lying around as you can possibly manage. Clear most things off the counters (appliances, decor, picture frames, etc). Empty, clean counters make them look bigger. Take all magnets/papers off the fridge. Clear out everything atop cupboards/fridge, if possible. Put appliances you normally keep on the counters in the cupboards (it.... will.... fit!!!).

Take down most personal pictures and items. You want the potential buyer to be able to picture themselves in your home. Make it neutral. I took down all my little banners, religious pictures, and photos except my one little gallery wall. It looks really bare to me now but it also looks bigger and cleaner. Walls and decor should, ideally, be as neutral as possible (embrace the taupe).

The most personalized part of our house right now.

4. Leave some windows open and some closed.

If you have a nice view outside, pull the blinds up or open them so they can see out. This will let natural light in, make the room feel bigger, and they will be drawn to the view. If you have a less desirable view (the bathroom window of the neighbor's house, complete with man washing hair and all), leave those blinds half closed, facing down. This will still allow a little light in but will keep the view to the imagination.

I don't mind watching the seasons change while I do dishes...
leave windows like this wide open and squeaky clean!
5. Turn all ceiling fans on low and turn every light on (tips from my Realtor).

Turning on the ceiling fans will draw their attention up so they notice them. Everybody likes a ceiling fan! Also, turning every light in the house on makes the spaces seem bigger. Make sure every light bulb is functioning, and ideally, uniform (we have normal bulbs and one and squiggly in the other... it doesn't look great). Maybe opt for a softer white so it doesn't feel like they're in an exam room.

6. Have a babysitter on standby.

You will undoubetdly (but hopefully not!) get that call asking if you can show your home in thirty minutes. (Expect this more if there are other houses in your neighbor for sale. People will go to look at that one and then see yours and want to see it, too.) This is when your emergency babysitter comes in handy, especially if you have a toddler! Run them over to the neighbors and clean like crazy! Even if you try to stay on top of it, there will always be little last minute to-do's. Unfortunately, they will look in every closet and cabinet, so you have to have like, everything, organized! This is when you will be thankful you already boxed up the 50 hotel shampoo and conditioners and half of your little one's toys. If you can, always vacuum/sweep and quickly mop over the high-traffic areas. Clean floors make a big difference in the overall feeling of the house. Also, don't forget about the outside of the house. Make sure all trash is gone, shoes are put away, lawn is mowed, weeds are wacked, and everything looks as warm, fuzzy, and inviting as possible.

7. Pick it up and put it away, right away.

This has always been a challenge for me. Needy baby wants me, dishes can wait. Diaper needs changing, putting laundry in hamper can wait... not anymore! Baby can wait. He'll survive. An extra minute here and an extra minute there to take care of things right away saves an hour or two later. I am working on this but I have a long way to do. Anyone out there honed this skill? How do you do it?

I am not the cleanest or most organized person by nature, so I have been fretting over this. It will definitely be a challenge for me to keep the house "ready," but I'll do my best! My hubby helped me get the house in tip-top shape yesterday before the Realtor came so my challenge now is just keeping it this way. I am trying to do a couple "sweeps" a day to just make sure nothing is falling below par.

Any tips or other words of advice from the wise out there?! I'm all ears!!