Being on "this side" of the home selling process is, in a word, brutal. I much prefer the comfy, cushy, driver's seat as Your Friend in Real Estate, Stacy.
The Hubby and I have sold two houses in the last 6 years. Both sold within 3 days of listing. Neither required more than two showings. Tonight, we're five weeks into the process and on the eve of showing #6.
And, though I'm SO thankful to have showings-- especially this time of year-- doing all of this with two kids in tow is totally and utterly exhausting.
That said, here's my formerly professional opinion of how to prepare for a showing.
1. Mow or shovel- or employ someone to do it for you. Approaching a house with knee-high grass, or having to shovel your way to the front door is unacceptable. (And, yes, I have had that experience!) While you're at it, sweep off your front porch.
2. Do your laundry. I know, I know, you have 100 million other things to do. Well, throw some wash in while you do the other chores. Piles of clothes all over is unattractive, and covering the piles with a sheet or towel is just downright goofy.
3. Empty your trash. It's that simple.
4. Clean out/organize your closets. Yes, they get opened. It's horrifying when a pile of junk falls out, and the buyer has to cram it back in.
5. Clean your oven, microwave and refrigerator INSIDE and OUT... this is especially crucial when the appliances are being sold with the house. Lets get serious, if you can't take care of the thing that holds your food, that you look at daily... why would I think you're taking care of the thing that's hidden underground holding the food that has left your house... ifyouknowwhatimean.
6. Spritz a little Windex on your front and back storm doors. Hasta la vista, finger prints!
7. Want to know how serious the buyer was as they walked through your home? Vacuum. Footprints in your carpeting can give a pretty good indication as to how in-depth the buyer looked at your home ;) A little stalker-esque? Perhaps, but they're the ones walking through your home!
8. For the love of all that's holy, please DO NOT LEAVE CANDLES BURNING! Do you ever leave your home with candles burning? Why would you do it now? It was, and still is, a fire hazard! It's also a major distraction to the agent showing your home... who is now more concerned with blowing out candles than they are selling their buyer on the features and benefits of your home!
9. Wipe down your kitchen sink. A little Comet goes a long way. If you have a garbage disposal, run it and stick a quarter of a citrus fruit (think lemon, orange, grapefruit) down it to let out a fresh scent.
10. Lights on! Any and every light you have should be on. Switches! Lamps! Pull strings! The agent will do their best to turn most- if not all- of them off, but it's not their top priority. You want your buyer to see everything they can... closets (see #4), basement storage areas and crawl spaces, attic, etc.
11. If you're able, get all vehicles out of your garage. It makes it look bigger. Go park the extra car at Walmart, or in your neighbors driveway-- but help that garage look as big as possible!
12. Scrub your toilets, and then leave the cleaner in without flushing. Makes for a nice, fresh smelling bathroom.
And, while I'm at it, here are the things I would say NOT to worry about:
1. Putting away allllllll of your family photos. It's still your house. Let it have some personality.
2. Setting your table. It looks nice for photos, but it's unnecessary for showings.
So there. I've said it. I feel much better. Six years of pent up steam ;)