Home sellers: How to live in your show house

Property owners getting ready to sell usually have two major tasks ahead: Preparing their homes to go on show to potential buyers, and then keeping them in that condition while still living in them.
“And while this may seem like a tall order, it can be done with some forward planning and co-ordination with your estate agent,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“Before you even list your home for sale, for example, you should start clearing out your garage, tool shed, spare room and cupboards and donating, selling or throwing away anything you no longer want or need. If you’ve lived in your home for several years, it’s likely that you’ve accumulated quite a lot of extraneous ‘stuff’, and if you clear this out now, your home will show better – and you’ll have a lot less to do when you move.”
Next, he says, you should aim to remove at least one item of furniture from every living room and bedroom (more if necessary) and put them in storage, along with any heavy, dark curtains.
“You will have less things to tidy and arrange when your agent calls to arrange a viewing, and your home will definitely show better if the rooms appear light and spacious and potential buyers can easily visualise themselves living there. Clutter interferes with this process.”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says you should also make room to quickly put everyday things away and get your home shipshape for a viewing.
“For example, kitchen counters should be as empty as possible when showing and if you can pack up some of the dishes, plates or appliances you don’t regularly use and put them in storage too, you should have room in the cabinets for the items you do use but need to ‘hide’ before your agent arrives with a potential buyer.
“The same also holds true for bathrooms and bedrooms. Clear space so you can keep your toiletries and cosmetics out of sight, and pack away extra clothes, leaving only what you’re wearing this season in the cupboards.”
Meanwhile, he says, you should ask your agent to try to schedule showings within specific time frames if possible, so that you will know when you need to prep your home and have it looking its best for potential buyers. “You obviously want to be as accommodating as possible, but it really isn’t realistic to try to keep in it pristine show condition 24/ 7, especially if you have young children or pets.
“And planning some showing times upfront will allow you to schedule some extra help if necessary, for as long as your home is on the market. If you’re really busy and your routine only allows for housework on weekends, it might pay to hire someone to do some extra cleaning, tidying, dusting, washing and ironing during the week.”
However, Everitt notes, even if you’ve done everything right, living in your home while it is on the market is bound to become a drag if it goes on too long, and the very best way to avoid this is to price it correctly from the word go, with the help of a trained and experienced estate agent who is able to provide you with the very latest information about home sales in your area.

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