Once we put your home on the market and set our sellers marketing system into action, you’re going to start receiving showing requests on your home. You probably know the drill, you likely did the same thing when you purchased the house. REALTORS® and our team, with active home buyers will connect with your agent to book a showing of your house with their clients, and that could end up keeping you on your toes. Many of our sellers still have to juggle the everyday tasks of life and showings to view your house can be unpredictable. If you have children or pets, it is likely to become a harder job to maintain your home in pristine show ready condition, than you may have anticipated.
However, there are always ways to make your clean-up more efficient and keep your home show ready at all times.
We break down a few ways to help keep your home ready and in its best form for showings!
Create a checklist that helps you compartmentalize each aspect of your house, divide work, and set a time for clean-up.
Make sure these priority areas are always taken care of
Have a miscellaneous / clutter basket, when a last minute showing is requested you can quickly put anything lying around into it and store it away in a closet or in your garage and remove it later.
Floors - Utilize a catch all laundry basket if necessary and keep items off the floor, vacuum or sweep every other day and mop / wet swiffer as needed.
Bathrooms - Keep surfaces free of toothpaste stains, hair, debris, empty toilet paper rolls.
Kitchens - Surfaces need to be open and spacious, consider staging this area (see our staging hints below) dishes in the dishwasher or cleaned and put away, sinks empty and clean.
Laundry Room - Should be well kept, clothes in closed hampers or put away, keep the area spacious and inviting.
Windows - Clean off fingerprints and stains.
Light Switches - A prime area for collecting dirty fingerprints, make sure you look over and clean as needed throughout your home.
Bedrooms - Beds made, nothing on the floor that doesn't belong there, closets closed and organized in case they take a peek inside.
Kids Zone - Designate a play zone for your kids, keep a storage bin nearby and when it's time to wrap up and leave, you can quickly place everything inside and store it away for your upcoming showing.
The little things - Make a list of all the little items that you might forget to clean up or put away, from pet bowls and food, to turning the lights on, removing safety locks or knobs, etc.
Click here for a copy of our Deep Cleaning Checklist
Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh!
Often buyers ask us if they should have something delicious smelling inside, like cookies (freshly baked out of the oven) when potential buyers are coming to visit your house. Our take, that can be time-consuming for all showings, if you have the energy to put in that effort, it may add a nice homely feel to your potential buyers, but note this isn't a catch all for everyone, consider your audience and target buyer, it may not be appealing or worthwhile in some instances. Never go over the top, overly strong candles or scents can be just as jarring for viewers who are sensitive to smells as the odors you're attempting to mask.
This does not mean your house shouldn’t smell good. Here's a few quick DIY tips and suggestions to keep your home in tip top fresh smelling condition.
Before the showing, put a small pot of water simmering with some lemon slices, vanilla, and rosemary, but for all these suggestions, please keep it subtle! We don't want it to appear that you’re trying too hard to mask any unpleasant smells.
If you have a diffuser utilize citrus based scents, subconsciously this will provide the viewers with a feeling that the home is clean and fresh.
Ensure your trash is taken out regularly, especially anything with a bad odor.
Litter boxes, or other pet items that may give away smells should be cleaned or removed for the showing.
Avoid cooking with any spices or creating aromas that may be off putting to others. You might be craving a nice spicy meal - but we recommend avoiding those cravings for days when you have no showings booked.
Homes tend to take on their own unique scent, open your windows and air out your home as much as possible, have an honest friend or family member pop by and let you know if there's an area or general smell that could be off putting for others.
Flowers add depth, color, life and pleasant smells to a room, be mindful of the flowers that are overly strong or high pollen creators.
DID YOU KNOW: It's believed that the more pleasant the aroma is, the less likely a buyer perceives the duration of time that has passed. That means they're spending more time in your home without realizing it, one of the key ingredients to having someone warm up and mentally move and fall in love with a home. The opposite occurs with strong odors, buyers will feel like they're under a nose ticking time bomb and will look to leave sooner rather than later.
Clients who don't have a lot of space, and who also have a lot of clutter or too many things filling up their space (we're looking at you mover uppers!), the minute you decide to put your house on the market, one of the smartest and most efficient things you can do to avoid any last-minute clean-ups or decluttering, is packing up everything that you wouldn’t use on a daily basis and getting it into a storage unit. Remove nonfunctional items and find a storage unit or mobile storage solution. This helps your house look more organized, open, and the house showings are going to be less anxiety inducing.
If you've really outgrown your current home but don't want to look into storage options, we recommend utilizing an unfinished space in your basement, the garage, or designated storage areas to load up on. It's far more appealing for home buyers to see a busy / packed garage than a main room / space with boxes stacked up.
Mentioned throughout the blog, rubber totes or baskets are essential for families with kids and pets, these nifty clutter corralers (say that three times fast!) will help you store day to day items quickly.
Add Character By Staging Your House
This might seem like a bigger investment than you anticipated when you considered putting your house up for sale, but it doesn't have to be complex and can be rather simple. Adding small decorative items or creating intimate nooks in rooms will make the house more welcoming.
Add a bowl of fruits, or a vase of flowers on the kitchen counter-top, adding color and depth to the space. This helps draw attention away from spots that you might have been unable to clean and makes your house all the more charming.
Photography books on the coffee table are always a nice finishing touch.
Hide cords if possible, if you have gaming systems or other cord spewing electronics or systems, decide if they can be stored away for your move or until your home sale is firm.
Remove personal items - From pictures to PHDs, potentially offensive art, the more you can take down the better. The reasons for this are numerous, from clearing up walls and opening up rooms, to not providing potential home buyers with misconceptions of your financial position.
A nice throw blanket across your couch is bound to invoke a feeling of warmth and comfort to home buyers as they imagine themselves in their new living room.
Setting The Mood
Things to do that will help home buyers.
There are a few minor things you can do to set the mood in your home. Instead of having a big dark black hole cover your wall, turn your tv into an art piece - load up a classy and elegant screen saver.
Setup your Google Home, Alexa, or other Bluetooth speakers to play a relaxing and welcoming playlist, don't overdo it on the volume, this should be a subtle background noise and not a focal point.
Lights should be on throughout the house.
Balanced and consistent lighting throughout is important, having clashing lighting tones can be off putting to visitors.
Showing off your fancy additions like the hot tub and it's lighting if you have it is definitely recommended.
Fireplaces should be turned on in the winter / heating months.
Leaving out bottles of water and small snacks - Picture this: The buyers who have just gone through 5 homes with kids in tow, they're starting to fatigue and your little snack and refreshments not only rejuvenate the buyers, but it distracts their kids and allows the parents to really appreciate and take in your home, it's a small touch that could go a long way, even through negotiations.
Pet Tips & Advice
First and foremost, pets shouldn't be home when you have a showing booked, and it's important you have a good quick exit plan to get your dog / cat out of the home when a showing is booked. While it may seem perfectly normal for cat owners to leave their cats in the home, it can affect the resale value and deter buyers. If a buyer enters the home and it smells fresh, and has no signs of pets but their allergies kick up a bit, they may suspect an animal living there, but it surely won't be as off putting to potential buyers who come across your fur baby, no matter how lovely they are.
Also consider the safety aspects of not bringing your pets with you. Your pets could be nervous, afraid of strangers, which could leave to a number of situations, including bites / scratches to potential home buyers (we mention this because it's unfortunately happened) and even if your pet is good in all those scenarios, if you have a featured area in your home like a walk out patio space off your kitchen, it's hard for buyers to truly experience and appreciate it when they're worried about doors being left open.
One of our clients who is allergic to animals recently made this comment to one of our agents during a showing "If I enter the home and can tell there are pets living there, with my allergies, it becomes a sticking point, and hard to actually focus and enjoy the home". This is because those with allergies stop thinking about designing the home, how they'd live in it, and start focusing on the cleaning, their breathing, and the stresses this home may bring early on for them.
Vacuum daily if you have pets - this will eliminate any trace of them and the dirt and debris they tend to bring in and track around your home.
Make an effort to hide any elements of your pets / have a to go basket / bag with their essentials, and hide / store away the rest, especially the more potent items like a litter tray.
Great neighbors you can rely on? Or Family / Friends who live nearby? If so, you're lucky! One of the biggest challenges our sellers with pets face is the exit strategy for their pets, having someone who can extract your pets that you can trust nearby (on call) is invaluable for the late / last minute showings.
Ask your agent for a PDF copy of our tips for moving with your pets once your home has sold!
Donate and Throw Away to Create Space
One sure-fire way to make sure your house remains clean and clutter-free is to consider permanently getting rid of things you no longer need or have long lost their usability. Think of it this way; you’re already in the process of moving houses, so this is the start of your move. Donate what you can, and throw away items that are useless. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven't used it in a few years and you truly can't see yourself using it again anytime soon, it's probably time to part ways.
Bonus tip: Create three piles, one for what you need, the second for what you will donate, and third with things you need to throw away.
How to book a home showing!
If you're a home buyer looking to explore the real estate market, get started with one of our talented real estate advisors, we'll go through our entire buyers guide, the buying process, partners you can utilize to assist in your purchase, and share valuable market, construction, and industry information so you can make the most out of your home buying journey. Our agents will book showings on any homes available on the MLS® as well as any applicable off market, or private listings that we have access to that match your criteria. Get started with your home search and book a coffee (on us!) with one of our REALTORS®
Final Tips To Keep You Show Home Ready
Don't leave out the tooth paste, razors, and other bathroom items, tuck them away for showings.
Keep the lights ON and replace any that are burnt out.
Paper plates, bowls, plastic cutlery isn't great for the environment, but there are compost friendly solutions, splurge a little here and save time on dish washing and cleaning.
Blinds opened up around the home to show off the natural light throughout.
Give them time, the longer someone is in your home, the more they're likely to be making plans, discussion options, and writing an offer. It's not a good move to rush someone out of your home or make them feel like they're imposing.
Plants bring life to any room, whether it's geraniums or snapdragons in the kitchen, adding plants or flowers is a great addition to your list.
Exterior Maintenance - Lawn care, shoveling, etc not only demonstrates your pride in ownership, but it maintains your homes value. Don't let poor landscaping lower your properties value.
Keep temperatures balanced. Favor warmth in the winter, and cool in the summer.
Don't stay home! This doesn't just apply to pets, nobody wants to view a home that has the owner in it, it's uncomfortable and off putting for a majority of home buyers.
This may seem like a lot, but for every extra mile you go for your house, it's more likely to ensure your home getting sold faster and for more money, which is the goal. No effort goes wasted!