Prepare Your Home in Short Notice

The sign is in the front yard. You’ve boxed half of your belongings and put them in a storage unit in order to stage your home to look its best. Now the waiting game begins, wondering if each new interest in your humble abode will become the irresistible offer you’re hoping for.

But soon you’ll likely realize that having your house on the market while you’re living in it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes realtors give you about 30 minutes to make your house show-worthy and head out the door. And that isn’t much time, especially if you have kids, animals or both. However, a few simple measures will help a last-minute showing seem like no big deal.

Start the Day Right The best approach to a last-minute home showing is to be prepared for it before the call comes. Even if you have kids whose playing style may resemble a miniature tornado, you can do a few things that make the clean up easier. As soon as you get up for the day, make all of the beds and open all of the curtains and blinds in the house. This will shave at least 10 minutes or more off of your tidy- up time when a call comes in.

While artificial scents could cause a problem for potential buyers that may be sensitive to smells, it’s better to have a pleasant smell than the aroma that accompanies teenage boys or animals (especially to a potential buyer who doesn’t have pets). Candles or warmers with mild, long-lasting scents are the best. Light them or turn them on first thing in the morning and leave them going all day so that the aroma becomes more natural to the home and less potent than when first lit.

Assuming you did a deep clean right before putting the house on the market, all you’ll need to do from there is maintain. Set yourself a weekly schedule with a cleaning task each day to stay on top of it.Martha Stewart offers a weekly cleaning checklist that will help focus your efforts—simply assign a day of the week to each area of the home.

Martha Stewart also recommends six things to do every day so that “with just a few minutes of work, you’ll easily be able to keep chaos at bay.” Among the tips is cleaning as you cook, so that your kitchen doesn’t become an unmanageable problem area for a last minute showing. Also, wipe up spills when they happen rather than waiting. Finally, sweep the kitchen floor regularly to make mopping much easier. Remember, the kitchen is an important area for potential buyers and should be at its best.

When the Call Comes In

When you receive that last minute call for a showing, don’t panic—you’re already mostly there from your morning prep time. A few quick tasks will give your home that extra charm that could seal the deal.

First, keep an empty tote or two easily accessible. When the call comes, the first thing you should do is load up the totes with the clutter accumulated on the table, the counters and any other clutter-catching places. Conceal them in a spacious closet or attic with easy access. Consider taking the totes with you when you leave if there isn’t space to tuck them away. Once that is complete, do the walk through.

“There are a number of key focus points when you are alerted an agent and buyers are on the way, said Jared Jones, CEO of the Jones Group Real Estate Team”,

  • Be sure to remove all dirty dishes from the sink and wiping the sink down
  • Remove shoes and clothing items from the entry points so that no one trips over them
  • Hide all evidence to the best extent possible of the existence of pets; a portion of the buying public will not be pet owners and they typically are distracted by dog bowls.
  • Minimizing, organizing or disguising the kids’ toys.

So, tackle your morning ritual and hide the clutter, and you’ll find those last minute showings to be less stressful. That is, of course, as long as the request doesn’t come in the middle of baby’s nap time—that’s a whole other challenge.

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