In a perfect world a home seller wouldn’t need to be living in their homes while on the market, however, the list of reasons why someone sells are endless and in many cases forces the homeowner to stay put when selling. As I’m writing this post my own home is currently on the market in Howard Beach, NY.
The experience can be grueling for sellers when their personal lives become public display to strangers and their criticisms. If a homeowner is going to be living in their home when selling they have to willingly be inconvenienced not only emotionally, but physically.
Most buyers have a hard time seeing past the seller’s stuff unable to visualize living in the home. As a seller it’s your obligation to keep the property to show-ready at all times. It must remain tidy and items must remain in their proper place while the home is on the market, or else you could jeopardize the sale. Here are a few tips I’m using to keep our house in good condition while we live in a staged home:
The first step is to acknowledge the task at hand and making a plan. Do you need to hire a home stager or can you do it yourself? Can you benefit from hiring a cleaning company weekly while on the market? Where will you store your excess belongings in the home or off site? What minor repairs need to be addressed? Who is responsible for what daily chores in the home? Do you need a place to house pets, kids or the entire family while on the market? Try our home maintenance planner to get started.
Keep the entrance of your home clear of clutter. This is the first place buyers will form an opinion about your home – first impressions count. So, corral daily items that are constantly moving in and out the home with your family members including: jackets, backpacks, shoes, important paperwork, keys and mail.
The less a seller has in the home the easier it is to maintain when you live in a staged home. It’s important to make a home look inviting, but not necessarily lived-in when selling. Home stagers recommend removing half of a homeowner’s belongings to make the home look more spacious. Remember buyers are purchasing a home’s square footage not the stuff inside. Start removing items in closets, drawers and cabinets in the main living spaces of the home that you don’t use and store items not needed in the next few months while on the market. Consider this the more a seller packs away while on the market the less they’ll have to pack come closing day.
Control lingering odor when selling. Buyers hate walking into a stinky home and I can promise you they won’t stay long if the home smells. Avoid smoking inside the house at all costs. The smell will stay on upholstered fabric, walls, even in the home’s ventilation system. Cooking foods with strong spices or fish can also provide “stank-face.”
Keep personal items out of sight. Use totes or bins to keep daily toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap products easily accessible and simple to throw in a cabinet at a moments notice. Stash kid toys, collections, personal photos and name plates too. Make sure to store medicine, important paperwork, jewelry, money and other items in safe, secure places that won’t tempt buyers to snoop.
Even if you hire a cleaning professional there will still be daily tasks that a home seller will be responsible for when you live in a staged home. Make sure countertops in each room and cleared and wiped down. Keep crumbs, garbage and dishes under control. Do the laundry as soon as there is a full-load and put clean clothes away immediately. It’s important to make the beds daily and keep the bathrooms clean because you never know when a buyer will want to see the home.
These are crucial tasks that could make or break the sale of your home. So have the whole family pitch-in to do their part (Maybe make a game out of it or have a reward system). Remind them this situation is not permanent, but it could be good practice for when you move into your new home.