So your house is on the market, you’ve been biting your fingernails and obsessively checking your email and phone messages in hopes that today will be the day your realtor calls you and tells you that you have a showing request, and lo and behold, it is! So now what? How do you prepare and what can you do to maximize your buyer’s experience? We know you’re busy and time is of the essence, so here are some quick tips that will get you show ready in 40 minutes or less.
Floors = clean
Make sure that your floors look and feel spotless. This applies to everything – carpet, wood and tile in your bathroom, kitchen, entryway, and bedrooms. We know that winter can be hard for Chicagoans; snow and salt get tracked everywhere, and your entryway often bears the brunt of the assault. Keep and mop on hand to wipe up any last minute dirt as you walk out the door and stay vigilant about it! This will be the first part of your home that a buyer sees, and you want it to invite them in to see more!
If it can shine, it probably should
Quickly dust off TVs, computers, tables, sinks, tubs, appliances, anything and everything that can accumulate dust and grime. It will help give your home that extra special pop.
De-clutter your surfaces
Your home has beautiful finishes and you should show them off! Ok, even if it doesn’t, clearing off clutter makes a room look nicer and bigger. If you have small appliances, put them in a cabinet, and small personal knick knacks and odds and ends should be put into storage. Dishes should be cleared out of the sink, toiletries should be cleared out of the bathroom, and laundry into hampers. We recommend buying some wicker baskets that can be easily stored under beds or in cars, so you can get things off of counter-tops quickly.
A word about your pictures: we know that they can mean a lot to you, and it’s nothing personal when we say, “put it away.” Remember, your buyer wants to picture his or her own personal items in your home, so do your best to create a blank slate.
We know your mom nagged you about it, so we hate to do it too, but…
Make your bed(s). Make sure your bedspreads are clean and nice-looking. If they’re not, it might be worth a trip to the store to buy some new ones.
Time to take out the trash
Make sure your garbage cans are empty, and make sure to clean them out about once per week with a little disinfectant. This helps cut down on unwanted odors.
Let there be light!
Open all your drapes (and make sure those windows are c-l-e-a-n) and turn on all of the lights. Dark homes are gloomy and uninviting. Turning on a couple of lights can make all the difference.
Pick up your things
We hate to nag, but it’s important! Everything needs to be off of the floor and off of counter surfaces. You can put them in storage containers and put them under beds or take them with you, shove them in dresser drawers, but you need to make sure that they’re out of sight.
A word about odors
If you have pets, make sure that you’re cleaning up after them carefully and diligently. Nothing says no thank you like a, “what’s that smell?” question, but a word to the wise — be careful about using too many perfumey air fresheners. Some people are hypersensitive to smells and they can set allergies off, and other may wonder what all those fresheners are masking. If you sanitize – mop, clean the countertops, trashcans and sinks, that neutral “clean” smell will be enough.
Ok, we know that’s a lot to do in 40 minutes, but you can do it! Keeping up on cleaning projects can make a pre-showing clean-up a breeze, and getting help from everyone in the household (or a good friend) is an excellent way to cut down on time. If you can’t get it all done for every showing (and believe us, it may happen), it’s OK! Pick your most important battles – make sure your apartment is as uncluttered as possible, get rid of any obvious dirt and throw a duvet cover over that bed.
For more tips, see the article, 10 Ways to prepare for a showing, by our friends at Trulia.