by Anita Raushel, Broker, Iron Country Realty
Don’t you just love it when you’re in the middle of a big project and your Realtor calls to let you know she is bringing a potential buyer over to see your home? Your kids are working on an art project with stuff scattered all over the room, the dishes haven’t been done, and there’s a load of laundry waiting to be washed.
You look around the house in a panic, and consider asking her to reschedule the showing. Don’t do it!
In today’s market, you can’t afford to miss a single showing. Instead, follow these simple steps to get your home ready to show in a flash.
1. Enlist some help. If anyone else is at home with you, assign each person a duty and get them off to work. The job will go much faster if everyone helps out.
2. Check for smells. A funky smell is a lightning-fast way to turn off a buyer. If you’ve been cooking anything other than a sweet-smelling dessert, open the windows and turn on some fans.
If you have a cat, check the litter box and attend to it as necessary. Light a few candles or sprinkle the carpets sparingly with a bit of carpet freshener if needed. (1 minute)
3. Clean the kitchen. Clear all the dirty dishes and quickly put them in the dishwasher. Wipe off the counters. Spray the faucet with window cleaner and give it a quick polish. (3 minutes)
4. Pick up the mess. Zip through the house with an empty laundry basket, gathering up stray newspapers, magazines, kids projects, and any other obvious clutter. Stow the basket in the garage or other out- of-sight place. (3 minutes)
5. Polish the bathrooms. Put down the toilet lids. Scoop brushes, combs, bottles, etc. into a basket under the sink that you’ve stored there just for this purpose. Spray the mirrors and faucets with window cleaners and give them a wipe until they shine. (3 minutes)
6. Run the vacuum. If the carpet needs attention, quickly vacuum the main traffic areas. (3 minutes)
7. Attack the bedrooms. Nothing makes the house look unkempt faster than unmade beds and clothing scattered around the bedroom. Quickly make the bed and shove any stray clothing or other items under it. (5 minutes)
8. Lighten up. Pull the curtains back, open the blinds, and turn on all the lights throughout the house. Flip on the stereo tuned to an easy listening station. Take one last look around for any little disasters you might have missed. (2 minutes)
And voila! Your house is ready to show in 20 minutes or less. Now pack up the kids and the pets and get out of the house while it’s being shown. You want your potential buyers to be able to relax and have a look around without feeling like they’re intruding on you.
It’s a great idea to have a plan of attack in place at all times when your house is on the market. Have everyone in the family agree to pitch in and help keep the house in tip-top condition. Assign everyone a zone they’re responsible to keep clean.