It’s the old double-edged sword. Your real estate agent calls out of the blue to let you know you have a showing. Great! On the other sword edge, your agent calls out of the blue to let you know you have a last-minute showing. Not great! Oh, and they’ll be there in 15 minutes.
Panic and chaos immediately ensue. Stop. Breath into the paper bag that’s waiting for a moment like this and start playing the “Lone Ranger” theme song (in your head). Most importantly, follow the plan. This is your mantra.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take prior to this exciting, yet frightening moment. Preparation is the key to preventing you from freezing like an ice sculpture, only to be discovered by potential buyers.
- First, have a place to keep plastic bins filled with cleaning products, bottled water and snacks, fresh hand towels, new garbage bags, a candle, lighter, and any props needed to make your home look its best. Things like a new mud-less doormat and nice accent pillows can be swapped out for the used ones on display. You will also need to have a few empty tote bags or laundry baskets on each floor ready for action.
- After your agent calls, open all blinds/curtains and turn on lights in every room.
- Next, declutter. Grab the handy dandy totes and fly like an eagle through the house, putting all the stuff that shouldn’t be out, but is, in the totes. Prime clutter locations include kitchen and bathroom counters, tables, and chairs. Also, if you have every appliance from a toaster, to a freeze-dry machine out, put a few of the bigger ones in a cabinet. This will create a more spacious look.
- Move on to any beds that aren’t made. Use another pre-placed tote to pick up toys, shoes, etc., that the kids are supposed to pick up, but predictably, did not. Stay focused. Work now, gripe later. Repeat the declutter process on every floor.
- Use disposable wipes to quickly clean kitchen and bathroom counters. Check toilets for grossness and clean with appropriate supplies. Make sure there’s toilet paper ON THE HOLDER. These tasks are easy-peasy since you have a cleaning product bin on standby. Switch out used hand and bath towels (in your magic tote) with fresh ones.
- Vacuum floors next. A pre-charged, quality cordless stick vacuum is highly recommended for this task.
- Empty trash cans.
- Use paper towels and window cleaner to quickly clean windows near the front door.
- Fluff sofa accent pillows and put blankets away.
- Hide pets and all signs of them. Some buyers don’t like animals or homes they have lived in. Accessories such as bowls and leashes can go straight into your car trunk. Have a pet plan already in place, whether–they go with you, or to a friend’s house during showings.
- Have a bin (not the cleaning supply one) filled with an attractive bowl or tray, bottled water, and individually wrapped snacks. Leave on the kitchen table or counter.
- Spray a lightly scented air freshener or light a lightly scented candle.
- Turn off TVs and ask Alexa to play pre-selected tunes at a low volume.
- If time permits, do a final walk through, from the potential buyers’ perspective, as if you are seeing everything for the first time. Make any necessary adjustments.
- Put the bins filled with clutter and cleaning stuff away in a pre-chosen inconspicuous spot.
- Load up the kids and pets, lock doors and flee the scene.
- Finally, exhale and stop worrying about it.