Tips to Keep Your Home Ready to Show
The Goal - Ready to Show at All Times
When your home is for sale, the most significant challenge is keeping it ready for people who want to drop in on short notice. I’m not talking about a neighbor that might pop over unexpectedly to borrow a cup of flour. She won’t think twice about the dirty dishes in the sink and your unfolded laundry occupying prime real estate in the living room.
But those other people will care. They will look in all your corners, open all your cabinets, peer into your closets and they will judge. They are picky and often quick to find fault and not shy about voicing their opinions about the condition of your home or your housekeeping habits. They are called buyers.
Before you listed your home, you developed a plan for preparing for this event with your Realtor. You got rid of clutter, you organized, and you cleaned. You repaired, refurbished and recycled. You gave up a month of precious weekends, your book club night, and Netflix to get it done and never hardly ever did a complaint escape your lips.
Now you have to do one thing. Keep it tidy, clean and show ready until you find a buyer. That is the one request your agent will make while your home is on the market. I know you have kids. You work. You have a dog who thinks it’s his job to leave copious piles of fur on every surface he touches. It’s not easy. I know too well. But, I also know it is not forever and can be done.
First Engage the Entire Family
Don’t, I repeat, do not attempt to keep your house in tip-top viewing condition without the help and cooperation of your entire family minus the pooch. He was born to shed, and you know it. Discuss the importance of Project Clean and Ready with your husband/wife/partner and kiddos. Make it a team sport.
Keeping tabs on each other will help everyone to be focused. Get everyone to own up to their messes, grownups, and kids alike, and take responsibility for cleaning them up as well. You have to adjust your expectations to the age of your children while still having hopes that everyone takes part in the effort.
Devise a Plan
Good intentions are not enough to guarantee a successful outcome. You need to implement a plan and follow through on it. Decide what chores need to be done daily to keep your home clean and tidy. Assign specific tasks to each member of the family every day and keep them simple. Designate a time of day to accomplish the assignment.
Morning Chore List Example
Here’s an example of what chores you may want to incorporate in your morning routine while your home is for sale.
- Make the bed
- Hang up clothing
- Put dirty clothes and linens in the laundry basket
- Leave bathroom counters clear
- Clean the bathroom sinks
- Wipe down the bathroom counters
- Place the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher
- Clean and wipe down the kitchen sink
- Wipe down the kitchen counters
- Pick up any clutter
Nightly Chore List Example
To be prepared for the next morning and avoid rushing or skipping tasks, do as much as possible in the evening before going to bed. Here is a general list of possible twilight chores.
- Pick up toys
- Fluff the sofa cushions
- Straighten the sofa pillows
- Place dinner dishes in the washer
- Clean the kitchen sink
- Wipe down kitchen counters
- Remove clutter
- Run the vacuum to pick up pet hair, crumbs, and debris
- Run the dishwasher
- Do laundry
- Leave the bathrooms tidy
Work It with Some Tricks and Tips
Each home, each family is different. What works for the Browns may not do for the Jones. Different lifestyles also are a factor. Here are some tips that you might be able to incorporate in your plan with adjustments.
Limit Your Living Space
Keeping the family gathering spot confined to one room or area will mean less to clean. If you have a lower level family room that might be perfect.
Dedicated Kid’s Space
A specific play area is especially helpful when your kiddos are young. If you have one space where they can pull out their toys, it will be easier to pick them up and store them.
Don’t Let Chores Pile Up
Do the laundry more often. Empty the dishwasher promptly. Instead of dropping dirty dishes on the counter, put them directly into the washer. When you use something, put it back where it belongs instead of unloading it on the most convenient landing spot.
The Family Pet Situation
If at all possible, the best option is to find temporary digs for your pets until you sell your home. If that is not possible, confining them can make life easier. If that is also impossible, throwing covers over the furniture to catch their fur will help with clean up.
Feeling overwhelmed? That’s understandable but once you do this drill for a few days, the routine will become more comfortable, and you will accomplish it faster. Who knows, the cleaning habits you develop may follow you into your new home!
If you start feeling down about the whole process, adjust your expectations and do not expect perfection. Life continues until one day a buyer falls in love, and you have an offer. Keep your eye on the prize which is selling your home and moving on to your next adventure!
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