|A seller's nightmare: keeping your
home clean, tidy and ready to show
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
It's a common lament of sellers this time of year: "How much longer do
we have to keep this house in showing shape? It's driving us crazy! It's like we
can't even live in our own home."
Don't fear. It'll be well worth the effort--which you'll realize when you
get the check from the proceeds of the sale in your hands. But in the meantime,
here are some tips to make things go more smoothly and help you maintain your
First, make the house as easy-maintenance as possible. This means removing
anything that's non-essential from rooms, shelves and--especially--walkways
through the house. The less there is, the less there is to maintain. This
applies especially to any collections or memorabilia you have on display. You
certainly don't want prospective buyers' eyes to stray from viewing your home.
So box up non-essentials in preparation for moving.
Second, delegate chores to each member of the household. Yes, you may get
some initial resistance here. But be sure to remind family members what they
stand to gain (like a larger bedroom in the new house) in return for their
contributions now. Make a checklist of the essential "to do" items
before a showing. For example, if you're notified at 10 a.m. about a noon
showing, what are the minimum activities that need to be done? They could
include a quick flick of the broom across the kitchen floor, a vacuum of the
entry hall carpet, and a double-check that dirty dishes are neatly tucked away
in the dishwasher rather than sitting in the sink. Think of it as triage used in
medical emergencies. What can you do that will have the biggest impact in the
shortest period of time?
What if you get a call to show the house and it looks like a hurricane just
hit the living room? Do the best you can, but always allow the house to be
shown. If a buyer is truly interested in the house, she'll be willing to look
beyond a little clutter. The watchwords for showing your home should be
patience, simplicity and organization. That buyer could be just around the