Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home "showtime" ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets.
What you need to stay organized is a handy checklist so you can be ready to show at any time. When you get the call that buyers are on their way, give everyone in the household a basket and assign them each to a room to pick up clutter quickly. Set a timer and tell everyone to grab up any toys on the floor, clear tabletops and countertops of junk, and quickly Swiffer-sweep the floors. Check for hazards like dog chews on the floor.
Turn on all the lights, and get ready to skedaddle. You have to let buyers have privacy so they can assess your home honestly. Take the kids for an outing. Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you:
Keep your home show-ready with these nine tips:
Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it's time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.
Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You'll receive more in tax benefits for your donations that pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It's faster, more efficient and you'll help more people.
Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.
Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.
Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.
Have a family plan of action: Sometimes showings aren't convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.
Remove prescription medicines: Despite qualifying by the buyer's agent, some buyers have other intentions than buying your home. It's also a good idea to lock your personal papers such as checkbooks away. Do not leave mail out on your desk.
Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.
Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.