It is important your house be pleasant and accessible to allow as many showings as possible to increase the likelihood of an offer.
But, you also have to live your life. How do you keep a happy medium? Let's see what we can do!
[Continue reading below or check out this video instead]
It's important to get started before you are ready to list your house for sale. So, if its winter, now is when you should be working on this list to sell your home in the Spring. It can take a few months to get your clutter under control and be ready to show your house to the world!
1) Get rid of stuff!! Otherwise, you will have to move it later. Use your garage to store the boxes of what you plan to move. Allow a path to the utilities and closets so buyers and inspectors can get to where they need to. Keep it simple and focus on three categories:
Donate: whatever you feel is usable but not something you have used in awhile
Recycle: check if there is a junk site or someone who likes to reuse in the area to recreate
Trash: what can't be donated or recycled
2) Start packing before the home is listed. Think of what you can live without for awhile:
Off season clothes /décor--keep some for staging
Breakables / personal pictures--the agent will be taking pictures of your walls and you don't want the family photos on the internet
Declutter everything: closets, fridge, cabinets; Buyers will open doors and look thru them to get an idea of storage available
Less is more: the less stuff in a room, the more spacious it feels
3) Clean, before the home is listed
Do a VERYDEEP clean – like you just saw a roach or maggots!
This makes it easier to maintain with a light cleaning while listed
Your Goal: Spotless!! Don’t forget cowbwebs, mildew, rust and dust
Figure on a 15 minute pick up; this is all you'll need before a showing
Focus on 5 star hotel quality!
4) Valuables – Keep them safe and locked up or with a key on your person. This way you can be certain your belongings are safe and not slipped into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, not everyone who comes to look at your house has the best intentions.
documents and mail
5) Ask your Realtor for notice. Usually a buyer will make plans to visit an area and schedule a visit to your home. However, there are often surprises, and some will ask to see with little notice. Sellers always have the option to turn down any showing, but you never know if that is going to be the one to make an offer!
Be prepared for less than one hour but request whatever time period you are comfortable with, usually no more than 24 hours.
Follow checklist for showing preparation and get out. Buyer's feel more comfortable viewing a home when the seller is not there watching over their shoulder. This gives them an opportunity to discuss the features they like, and questions can be asked later through their agent.
6) Have a To do list: Make a list of what to do when notified of a showing
Light – natural is best so open curtains but also have lights on
Soft music, cookies and candles- think of all the senses and try to enhance them. Don't make it overwhelming with strong scents but something usually universally pleasant.
Quick pick up of belongings and a quick sweep or vacuum to remove pet hair or dirt tracked in.
Leave before the buyer arrives to better allow them to picture themselves living in the home
7) Have a pet plan so your pets are comfortable while your house is shown, too
See if your pet sitter or neighbor can let them out during the showing or take them on a walk
Take your pets with you; probably what they are most comfortable with.
Declutter their toys and dishes along with the rest of your house. Have a basket you can throw all their toys when someone is headed your way
Be aware of allergies some buyers may have and try to keep hair to a minimum. Barking can be very distracting during a showing, even if they are outside in the yard. Buyers want to see the yard and the back of the house--also reasons to remove your pets if at all possible during any showings
8) Get Feedback from your agent, their agent and potential buyers
And listen to what they say. Fix what is recommended or pointed out.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than expected – markets can change quickly with seasons or the economy.
The best way to sell your home is while it is vacant, but many people don’t have the opportunity to do so. An occupied home can be sold quickly by following these tips. If you happen to be home during a showing, stay out of the way. Don’t linger around so buyer's don't feel like you are watching them like a hawk. Do any answer questions directed at you, but stay tight lipped as to not give away your motivation to sell.