You’ll be talking with your agent about the listing’s “Showing Instructions”. You have several options including “Call 1st”, “Call Agent”, “Call Owner” and “Appointment Only” among others. My recommendation to my clients is to veer toward the “Call 1st” option if at all possible. My reason for this is that you want to remove as many barriers as possible to getting a potential Buyer into your home. While there is often very reasonable rationale for choosing others of those options, the one that makes it easiest for your potential Buyer is “Call 1st”. This Showing Instruction lets the Buyer’s agent know that he or she may call your number, and if no one answers, leave a message with the approximate time of the desired showing and the request for a call back that if that time will NOT work for you. This makes it very easy for the Buyer’s agent and the Buyer…. and that’s what you want! It also gives you the opportunity to say “No… 2PM this afternoon would work better for me.”
Now let’s talk about how you leave your home when you have a showing. Obviously you want your home to he “the one” for the Buyers looking it over. I know you’ve heard all the admonitions before about making things neutral so that Buyers can picture themselves and their “stuff” there; taking down family photos/neutral wall colors/cleared counter-tops etc. I also want you to consider those things that are probably invisible to you as a homeowner… Pretend you have never been in your home before, and walk in the front door. Is the entry open with a clear view to the rest of the home? Is the porch littered with shoes or other “normal” things like miscellaneous gardening objects (trowels, gloves…), dead potted plants, etc? Are your toothbrushes in cups on the counter for visitors to admire? Dentures in a glass? Are your medications out on the counter in the bathroom or your vitamins out on the kitchen counter?? Is there a stinky kitchen sponge decorating your sink? Are those pesky box beetles trying valiantly to get in under your back door & warm up a little? (PLEASE call Orkin…) How about your mud room… is it muddy? If so… transform it into a showplace for cleanliness w/ hooks for clothing & bench-seats for cleaning up…. but leave the mud for peoples’ imaginations. The whole thing is about creating ambiance. I’ll say it: “The way you live in a house is not the way you ‘sell” a house.” Just do a little “I’ve never been here before” exploring around your home… it will probably amaze you!
How to make it all easier?
There are professional organizers who can come in and help you with streamlining your home. I’ve used this method with clients, especially busy ones. It lifts a huge weight off a Seller’s shoulders during the process of sorting and deciding what is staying and what is going into storage during the sale period or to Goodwill.
Once that phase of preparation is complete, I suggest hiring a professional cleaning company to come in and do a once-over on your home. It is more of what we discussed above; things you don’t tend to notice as you live in the house. After this, attempt to keep things the way they are… hopefully streamlined and clean. Then just keep a bottle of window cleaner handy and go through the house lightly touching all the sinks’ hardware so it shines before you leave. Once the initial work is done in preparing your home for sale, maintenance is key, and not as hard as you think.
My main message here? You’ve heard all of the obvious advice on staging, colors etc. Remember to look at the little things. They make a big difference!