How to Keep Your Home Prepped for Showings: A jg Seller’s Guide
Selling a home involves a series of steps that include getting your property cleaned, staged, and photographed in order to launch your listing and start marketing your home. During the listing period, you’ll need to keep your home prepped for showings.
If you’re living in your home while it’s on the market, keeping it show-ready is not always easy to do—but it is essential. Home sellers in this position sometimes have to disassociate from their homes. While it’s still your home, it’s also a property for sale. Here are some tips and strategies for walking the line between keeping your property prepared for showings and continuing to live in your home.
Tips for During the Listing Period
1. Keep It Clean
Before you listed your property, you cleaned it top to bottom and inside out. During the listing period, make it a priority to maintain that deep clean. Vacuum, sweep, and dust more often, at least weekly. Establish a daily routine that keeps the kitchen and bathrooms sparkling. Make sure everyone in your household knows what that routine is and pledges to honor it. This should include such house rules as never leaving dirty dishes in the sink or on counters. Develop a maintenance system for every room of the house, including the garage and basement.
2. Keep It Staged
If you spent time or money to stage your home before listing photos were taken, it’s important to make reality match the photos when prospective buyers view your home. That means maintaining the staging in your home. And that means doing your best not to change major elements that went into staging.
By “major elements,” we’re talking about the big picture. During staging, did you remove furniture to make rooms look bigger? Did you change the furniture arrangement to highlight a focal point? Don’t undo that work.
On the other side of spectrum, don’t worry about maintaining every staging detail in your listing photos. For example, listing photos often include a dining room table set for a meal. It would be impractical at best to live in your home with this set-up. Be sure, however, that all rooms are neat and attractively presented.
3. Keep It Impersonal
Staging usually involves removing personal items from rooms. When prospective buyers view your home, they are visualizing living there—not sizing up your collectibles or admiring your family photos. One effective strategy is to pack up personal items before you list your home. Rent a temporary storage locker and move the packing boxes there. When moving day comes, you’ll already have these items packed and ready to go.
4. Keep Out Daily Clutter
Your everyday schedule may include lingering over the paper, but homebuyers don’t want to see copies of the Tribune on the kitchen table. Set up a daily schedule to clear away newspapers, books, mail, and personal belongings like coats and shoes. Staying on top of daily clutter every day will make it easier and faster to keep your home show-ready.
5. Keep It Fresh and Organized
In the kitchen, avoid cooking smells and take out the garbage more frequently. Stay on top of running and emptying the dishwasher.
In the bathroom, assign a caddy to each family member to use to corral bathroom items. Designate a place to stow them that’s easy to access right before a showing.
If your household includes pets, create a place to stow food and water bowls as well as pet gear like dog beds and chew toys.
Tips for Before a Showing
1. Clean the Bathrooms
Make sure toilets are flushed and seats are down. Hang fresh towels and spray-clean sinks and counters. Also spray-clean tub, toilet, shower, and shower doors. Pick up and stow bathroom caddies.
2. Make Beds and Vacuum Rooms
Make sure all beds are made and do a quick vacuum throughout the house. Put away clothing, toys, and sports gear. Get rooms neat, tidy, and ready for company.
3. Lighten Up
Turn on all lights, open curtains, and open all doors that lead to rooms. Rooms show better with as much light as possible. Leave doors to all rooms open to send a clear signal to buyers to enter every part of the house. It’s fine to leave closet doors closed, but when prospective buyers open them—and they will—be sure closets are as empty and neat as possible.
4. Clear a Path
Make it easy for buyers to access your home. Disable all security alarms. Make sure sidewalks and steps are clear of leaves, snow, or ice. Even during the day, it’s helpful to turn on entry lights. Just inside the entry, provide as large a space as possible for homebuyers to remove their shoes. Be sure to add a bench or a chair so people can sit down to comfortably and safely shed their footwear.