Once your home has been listed for sale, you won’t want to turn down any buyer requests to view it, even though most will probably ask your agent to bring them in the early evenings after work or on weekends – that is, at precisely those times when mess seems to multiply, especially if you have children and pets.
This calls for an “emergency action plan,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, “with everyone in the family having a room to tidy up as soon as you get the call from your agent that they are on the way with a prospective buyer.
“This is the time to rapidly gather up any clothes, toys and school gear lying around, clear counters and tables of any plates, cups and glasses you were using, fluff cushions, check bathrooms, give floors a quick clean and generally “stage” your home for the viewing.”
However, he says, if you want to make it even easier to be show-ready in a flash, you should do the following before putting your home on the market:
Have a proper declutter. Take the time to go through all your belongings and assign them to one of three categories – keep, donate and throw away. If you still have a lot of things left to move after this exercise, consider packing some of them immediately and renting a small storeroom until your home is sold.
Clear out the garage, shed, cottage and any other space where unused goods have accumulated. Buyers want to see for themselves how much space and storage your home really has.
Get in the tidy habit. Wash dishes immediately after meals. Keep countertops clear. Make beds in the morning. Put dirty clothes in the wash-basket. Put toys, shoes and sports equipment away after use. Keep pet beds washed and smelling fresh. This way, there won’t be any need to panic when a buyer is due in a few minutes.
Remove valuables and breakables. Jewellery and collectables should be kept offsite in a safety deposit box, and your heirloom china and crystal should be carefully packed up and put away in storage. And while you’re at it, lock away any prescription medicines and personal papers, just to be safe.
Set the stage. While buyers love clean and tidy, they also love seeing how homes work. So if it’s a sunny weekend, open up all the windows, set the table on the patio and put up the umbrella. If it’s a chilly evening, dress your living room to be warm and welcoming. If you have a chef’s kitchen, make sure it sparkles so your agent can show it off.
“With just a bit of forethought and imagination, there’s really a lot you can do to make your home memorable for all the right reasons,” Everitt notes.