Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting My House Ready to Sell–Tips and Tricks

We have been on the market now for almost 3 weeks and we have had 6 showings.  After every showing, we receive feedback via email.  There is an 8 question multiple choice form the realtors fill out that gives us an indication of how the house showed, if the buyer is really a potential buyer, and if there is anything we can do to improve our home.  Every response has been excellent.  Our house shows perfectly –from curb appeal to cleanliness.  The only problem is the schools and the neighborhood.  Big inner city school system is not what most home buyers are looking for.  But we’re hopeful that the right buyer will come by and love our home and buy it up quickly.  We’ve been in the top three for 2 different showings, so I’m sure it won’t be too long now.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I’d love to show you some of my little tips and tricks on how I keep my house show-ready or at least easy to get show-ready in no time at all. It’s things that I will keep doing whenever we move to our new home, since it leaves your home spotless and beautiful in just a few quick steps.  Who doesn’t want that?


No one wants to see your dirty trash when they look through your home.  I’ve come up with some quick tips for keeping our trash tamed.


I have put all of my little trashcans from the bedrooms and bathrooms in the basement crawlspace.  I’ve always been bad at emptying those things on a regular basis anyway, so I got rid of them for showings.  Now, I just hang a Kroger bag over the handle.  When the showing comes, I take the bags with me and either throw them out in the outdoor trashcan or throw them in the van to bring back later.

My recycling days are on hold for now.  I used to hang a trash bag in my laundry room (which is right off of my kitchen) to hold our recycling trash.  We don’t have to sort our recyclables when we take them to the recycling dumpster.  Everything goes in the same dumpster, which makes it really easy on me.  But, now that I have to keep my rooms clean, I stopped recycling.  That’s one last bag I have to worry about grabbing before a showing, and one less hook I need to have on my laundry room wall.  I can’t wait to start recycling again. 


No one wants to see your dirty laundry when they look through your home.


On a regular basis, I keep two laundry baskets on my closet floor (one for darks and one for lights) and one in my son’s room.  On a showing day, I will grab those three baskets and put them in the back of my van.  I’ll then make sure to vacuum the floor where the baskets were to get the marks off the floor.

The other bit of laundry we have is towels.  On my master bathroom door, we have three hooks over the door with three towels hanging there.  I take those down (hooks and all) and plop them in a wicker hamper that is slightly hidden beside my dresser.  After the showing, I put them back up to make sure they don’t get mildewy


This picture reminds me that I also run through the bedrooms and make sure all the dresser drawers are completely shut before we leave. I think I have a disease.  I leave dresser drawers open just a little all the time. 

Makeup and Bathroom supplies

No one wants to see your hairbrush, makeup, or shaving cream when they’re trying to picture themselves in your space.

I have a big problem with having too much STUFF.  One area where this is evident is my makeup and hair supplies.  Who knows why I need to have so much to choose from, especially since I use the same few items every day.  Getting my toiletries wrangled was probably my most rewarding cleaning/de-cluttering project in this whole house-selling adventure. 


I now have a basket under each sink for my daily items and figured out a way to store the rest neatly.  I organized and de-cluttered my hair stuff (like bobby pins, ponytail holders and clips) and organized my machines (like flat iron, hair dryer and hot rollers)  Thanks Pinterest!


My makeup was a bit trickier for me.  Included in my ‘makeup’ was my lotion, deodorant, and many makeup supplies.  They used to sit on my dresser, but after getting rid of some of my clothes (we donated a LOT last month) I ended up having a free drawer in my dresser.  I put my supplies in little baskets and they all fit neatly into that one drawer.  Now, I can take them out when I need them and hide them away when I’m done.  It makes me just a little giddy each time I hide my baskets away.  I really do love being organized.

Finishing Touches

I change out the bathroom and kitchen towels for ‘show towels’.  I bought two kitchen and three bathroom hand towels that look new and fluffy.  It cost me about $10 for all of them.  I put them under the sinks or in a cupboard in between showings, and my family knows they are not to use the new towels for their hands.  Ever.


Before each showing, I make sure I have one or two nice bouquets of flowers in my kitchen.  I buy the $5 bouquet from Kroger.  These things last weeks if you take care of them.  I re-clip the ends after a few days and put them in fresh water.  I may crush up an aspirin someday too.  My mother says it keeps flowers living longer.


One of my friends recommended baking some cookies before a showing so your house smells like freshly baked cookies.  I did that for the first showing, but now I find that it’s too much work for me to do that every time.  Instead, I leave out a bowl of candy.  So far it has been jelly beans (thanks Easter candy sales!)

I leave every single light on in my house (downstairs) when I leave for a showing.  I also open all the blinds and let as much light in as I possibly can.  Besides the obvious reason for leaving all the lights on (getting it as bright as I can in here), I have another reason for leaving the lights on.  All the lights in the living room are on a remote control switch, and I don’t want there to be any confusion trying to get the lights on when they come in the house.  


Another reason I leave all the lights on is to show off my under-cabinet-lighting in my kitchen. If they don’t look, they might not know that it’s there. (oh, and we’ve fixed the dangling cord, so it doesn’t dangle anymore)P2270634

When everything has a place, cleaning up before a showing goes quickly and smoothly.  It doesn’t stay clean and spotless every day, but it can get clean and spotless in just a few hours (including mopping the floors) when a showing is scheduled. I just hope someone makes an offer soon.  I’m noticing the diligence with which I used to keep the place clean is starting to wear off.  If I go 4 days without a showing, it may take a bit longer to get it back into tip-top shape, but it’s still doable. 

What other tips do you have for keeping your house ‘show-ready’?  Do you live in a house that is always ‘show-ready’? 


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