The House is a Mess and Buyers are on the Way

Real Estate

The Buyer 60 Minute Countdown

Your listing agent just called. You should expect an agent and her clients to arrive in an hour and the house is not ready to be shown. Here is a list of quick difference making fixes before you get out of the house and out of their way. Warning, if you need to do all of this, you should have started much sooner.

Dust everything..

Edge the driveway, clean up the yard, trim the bushes and put out a new door mat for a fresh updated and inviting welcome. Buyers are developing first impressions as they approach the front door. Pick up the poop. If it ends up on the buyers shoe, well…

Make your bed.

Clean off your counters in the kitchen and the bathrooms. If you do not use it every day, put it away. Hide dish soap, sponges and cleaning brushes.  Now add a decorative item to the kitchen counter.

 Remove clutter to emphasize how much space you have, not the stuff you have.

 Clean your floors and strategically place the throw rugs.

Fold everything nicely in your linen closet. Making it look tidy gives buyers confidence that the space is adequate for them.

Everything in the closets needs to be on a hanger or on a shelf. Nothing should be on the floor. Pack away clothes and shoes that are no longer in season and neatly organize everything left to make the closet appear more spacious. Buyers want to see storage space.

Check for burned out light bulbs, replace them with the maximum wattage allowed and turn on every light in the house. Make it easy to see the house

Take anything embarrassing out of your medicine cabinet or bathroom drawer. People will open them.

Anchor your rugs. A visitor slipping will not leave with a positive impression..

Clean your toilets. People will use them.

Put out fresh towels.

Put the toys away. Gather them into baskets. If that is not enough, remove the ones with which they don’t play. They can go in the trunk of the car until your visitors leave.

What is that smell? If you have been living with the fragrance of cat urine or the aroma of cooking collards, you may be immune to an offensive smell. Start with the biggest offenders, the cat box, sneakers, last year’s fireplace ashes. Spray fabrics with products like Febreze and install plug in fragrance in those spaces in need. Finally, a trick from Lifehacker.com, Put two caps full of vanilla extract (you can use other oils, such as lemon and lavender) in a coffee cup (or oven proof dish), then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour. The smell will start to spread after around twenty minutes and encompass the whole house after the hour duration. It should last for at least a day.

Are all your pictures straight? It is a small thing, but it is also a quick fix of a negative issue.

Fluff your pillows

De-personalize. Personal family photos, mementos and the like are a distraction. You want them to imagine their life in the house, not what you did on vacation

Develop good habits for every day your house is on the market. Clean up after yourself. Have a regular cleaning and de-cluttering schedule, and stick to it. Do this and that hour before the buyers and the agent arrive will be plenty of time to be ready and to leave the house. Understand that buyers can reach negative conclusions from the most innocent of observations, conclusions that mostly reflect on how well the house has been maintained.