The housing market is heating up again, which is great for anyone who has had the “For Sale” sign out a while, but with this good news comes the need to be ready to show your house on a moment’s notice.
A lot of us struggle daily to keep our homes ready for unexpected guests, and listing your house means being ready for inspection 24/7.
“When selling your home, you want to just live a little tidier during that phase of your life because you might have to show your home on a moment’s notice and want to be able to clean up quick and be out of the house,” said Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder.
“We want it to feel like – when a buyer walks in – there’s nothing to do. There’s no bills to pay, there’s no dishes to wash, there’s no floors to clean… nothing,” said Gavin Frost, a real estate agent.
There’s no shame in gathering up the clutter and taking it with you.
“Grab an empty laundry basket or a hamper. Start throwing everything in there. We’re talking dirty clothes, toys, the daily clutter, all that stuff. We want to put it in there and work our way through the house. That is going to go into your car when you leave,” said Frost.
Some areas need more than a quick pick-up. Your kitchen and bathrooms need to shine.
“No water left over from your morning shower because we don’t want to be thinking about that. Make sure that the lid on the toilet is shut. It’s a good rule across the board – all lids on everything in the house should be shut. Then the sink – same deal. Wipe it out real quick and then put out some fresh towels,” said Frost.
It’s great if you love your pet, but consider the buyer who may be allergic. Take your pet and all evidence – including toys and litter box – away before the showing.
“Don’t forget the little things when showing your house. Things like fresh flowers or live plants can really warm up your home and make it very inviting,” said Hicks.
The goal is to make buyers comfortable – making them feel “at home.”
“When you walk around, you feel invited into this home. If you can match that as close as possible to your own home, you’ll be nailing it,” said Frost.
Angie recommends storing family photos and other personal knick-knacks, and removing about half the items in your closets to make them look roomier.
She also suggests hiring a pro. Homes that are staged spend 70 percent less time on the market. For more information on hiring and home staging, you can visit angieslist.com.