The home stager has left. Your house has never looked better. How on earth are you going to keep everything looking so flawless for showings—especially if you have children and pets?
There are plenty of things you can do to make your life easier during the selling process. Here are some helpful tips for keeping a well-staged home in tip-top shape, even as you’re still living in it.
- Place a decorative wicker basket in the entryway. Use it as a daily catch-all for mail and loose items. Tuck it away in the closet during showings.
Furniture and accessories
- If you're living in your home while it's on the market, there may be occasions where you'll need to move a few items around.
- Start by taking a few photos of each room. This will serve as a good reminder of how each space was set up.
- Try to adapt the changes you make to the stager's initial design. If you do some rearranging, don't get too carried away. Keep the changes to a minimum. Then, when you get those last-minute notifications of a showing, you'll have less work to do.
Family room and living room
- Unplug and remove unsightly cords from gaming consoles, TVs, etc., in preparation for showings.
- Be sure to put back any throw blankets and pillows that were placed on the sofas and chairs.
- Designate one space in your home as the playroom, where children's toys can be kept. Make sure no toys are left in any other areas of the house.
- Keep a couple of large storage bins on hand. Fill up the bins with clutter before showings, and put them away in your storage area.
- This is the first impression that potential buyers will get of your home. Make it a good one.
- Nothing screams neglect like cobwebs. (Not to mention, they're also downright creepy!) Remove them on a regular basis.
- Sweep pathways.
- Keep the driveway and porch free of debris.
- Make sure windows remain clean.
- Water, weed, and mow the lawn on a regular basis. If you're away, hire a lawn service.
- Make sure all plants and flowers are well-cared-for.
- Keep shrubbery manicured. Ensure all entrances and exits to the house are not blocked, and don't let overgrown bushes obscure the windows. Let as much natural light into the house as possible.
- Set up cushions on your patio furniture.
- Turn on outdoor features, such as water fountains and gas fire pits.
- Remove the cover from your BBQ.
- Remove all clutter.
- If possible, arrange to have your pets visit with a trusted family member or friend during showings. If the notice period for a showing is short, take your furry friend with you on a ride for an hour or two.
- Empty litter boxes daily. A client once told me that she placed the litter box inside of a large plastic storage bin. When she was advised of showings, she would temporarily put the lid on top of the bin to conceal the litter box.
- Put away food and water bowls for showings.
- Keep your meals basic. This is not the time to experiment or unleash your creative culinary skills. This will help keep your kitchen cleaner and tidier.
- Avoid pungent spices, seafood, and vegetables, such as onions, broccoli, cabbage, or asparagus.
- Remove kitchen garbage on a daily basis.
- Your stager left decorative towels in your bathroom for a reason—to help provide an inviting, spa-like retreat for potential buyers. They aren't meant for your use, so tuck them away. Put them back out for showings.
- Toiletries should be kept on the counter in small plastic bins. Place the bins under the counter during showings. The same applies to items in your shower.
- Empty trash cans, put toilet seats down, and stow away toilet bowl brushes and plungers.
- Make the beds every morning, including all decorative throw pillows.
- Put clothes away on a daily basis.
- Tuck laundry hampers away in a closet or laundry room.
- Keep them clean and well-organized.
- If time is limited, hire a cleaning company to keep your home spotless.
- They say that selling your home is one of life's top stressors. I'd have to agree. The easier you can make it on yourself, the better. I'm sure there are many more great tips out there. What has worked for you?