As published in the Savannah Morning News - 21 October 2012
It’s Show Time!
Part I - Showing Your Home and the Pros and Cons of Open Houses ~ We have been through a lot to get ready for this day! If you have followed my previous articles, and your house is now clean, bright, smelling fresh as a daisy, decluttered, depersonalized and staged, this is the time to show off your hard work!
We are going to talk today about how to show you home. It may seem elementary, but I have seen many homes that do not show well, and it’s apparent that some people need a little guidance in this area.
We talked about first impressions, so again, start at the curb. Take away everything that is a negative…dead branches, put garbage cans out of view, and remove the spent flowers and pots from the front porch. A new pot of mums would be great, and hopefully, your grass is freshly mowed and the drive-way, walks and patios have been blown off.
Check your front door and porch for cob webs or mud dabbers. Also, make sure it is clean and free of dust and mold. Use your broom, if necessary, to sweep the porch.
Now, let’s step inside.
Open the curtains and blinds to show the views and let the light shine in. As I stated before, even if you like to live in the cozy, private cocoon with the window treatments closed, this is an important element in the art of showing a home. Many people are light sensitive, and feel claustrophobic with everything closed up, so let there be light!
Take the sniff test. Does it smell fresh? This is very important! Please DO NOT spray room deodorizers and plug in those heavy-duty misters and oil contraptions. Many people are sensitive to smells, and actually allergic. They will RUN out of your house and you will have lost an opportunity to show them your beautiful home and all the hard work you have done for them!
Some tricks of the trade: Toast a piece of cinnamon toast right before you leave the house. Or, if you really want to be nice, bake cookies and leave a platter for your Realtor® and guests. It’s so easy these days, with the wonderfully pre-prepared cookie dough in your grocer’s refrigerator section. I take them to open houses with a cookie sheet and spatula, and serve them on a nice dish with pretty napkins. People love them!
HINT: DO NOT cook fish or other smelly foods the day before an open house. It’s tough to get rid of the smell, and you only compound the problem when you spray the house with another smell.
Okay, okay, I know I have beat that dead horse enough, but it is oh-so important!
Let’s look at the bedrooms
. Do I really need to say this? In over 25 years of selling real estate, the answer is YES. I cannot tell you how many beds I have made before a showing! Make the beds. Okay, now I’ve said it! Pick up and put away all your clothes. Please do not pile them in the closet, since people are very interested in what closets look like and how much room they will have if they choose your house as their next home. So, hang up your clothes or fold them and put them in drawers.
Next, the bathrooms:
I hope the baths are spic and span, and your matching towels are displayed, with no personal items on the counters. Pull the nylons and hand washables out of the shower, because buyers look inside! And, now for my personal pet peeve – please close the lid to all toilets. Trust me, the insides of toilets do not sell houses!
Kitchen: If the oven is not clean, this is NOT the day to do it. Yes, people actually look in the oven. You’ll never get the smell out of the kitchen in time for your showing. Remember when I told you to change out the stove drip pans if they can’t be cleaned? It counts today, as well as the clean appliances, no finger prints on the stainless stuff, and the counter tops wiped clean. Sinks should also be cleaned and all dishes put away or in the dishwasher. Clear everything off the counters, including the brown bananas you are keeping to make bread. Less is best when it comes to small kitchen appliances on the top of your counters. Put everything below that you do not use daily.
Living and dining areas: Fluff the pillows on the sofa and chairs, and take away personal items, stacks of papers, and clean the table tops. If your home has been staged, then you have already decluttered, so you are ready to go. Keeping it that way is important when you are showing your property. Remove anything from the dining room table that is not decorative. Fresh flowers are always a plus!
Remove your pets from the home.
Drop them off to family or friends if you have to work, or consider doggy day care. Putting them in a crate is second best. They are not going to like a lot of strangers wandering through the house, which creates anxiety for pets. Many people will not enter a home if there are dogs running loose, and we all know that cats are escape artists. This is not the time to have an agent and their buyers running down the street trying to round up animals.
Merely putting them on a porch does not help you either, as people see porches as additional rooms and can’t experience the porch if your pooch is bouncing off the sliding door. Additionally, if buyers can’t get to the back yard, the back half of the property is off limits for a showing. This is not a great idea, if you are trying to sell your house.
Next week - Part II. Stay tuned!