Once you’ve listed your home for sale, your agent is going to start showing potential buyers through your home (hopefully) regularly. These showings – from Open Inspections, to private appointments – can be stressful to prepare for if you haven’t sold your home before, or in a long while. Really, it isn’t something you do every day. Thankfully, we do it all the time (well, for other people…), so I’ve compiled this list of tips and tricks that will not only make preparing for these inspections a breeze, but may find you a buyer sooner.
1. Make an ‘Open Home Swift’ kit
This is something I recommend to people who hate it when their agent calls them asking if it’s okay to bring some buyers through “in about 20 minutes?” There’s nothing worse than having no notice! BUT you also want to sell your home, and these people are potential purchasers! How best do you prepare for these situations? An Allure Realty Open Home Swift Kit. Really, it’s just a box filled with useful things that help freshen up a home in 10 minutes.
Here’s how you make one: Grab a large box or storage container, and pop in some clean, matching towels for all bathrooms; a few candles for quick ambient lighting (they don’t have to be scented, but if they are, pick something simple like vanilla), a cloth and multi-purpose spray. Pop the old towels in the washing machine (you don’t actually need to clean them, but it’s an appropriate hiding place for them), replace with the fresh towels, light a few candles around your home, give the bench tops a quick wipe down, and with the box now empty, quickly pack away any clutter left around your home into the box, and place it in a cupboard. After all of that is taken care of, you need only open the curtains, turn on some lights and make sure the beds are made. There you have it! A home that is inspection ready in 10 minutes.
2. Try and maintain a cleaning schedule throughout the week
It’s more than likely that open homes will be scheduled for every weekend, but even if they aren’t, you never know when your agent is going to want to show a potential buyer through. Come up with a cleaning schedule, and have a chore for every day of the week. It will make the cleaning 10 times more manageable, and you won’t feel rushed towards the weekend. For example, your schedule could look a little like the picture below. Just make sure to include yard maintenance around Thursday or Friday if you have an inspection over the weekend.
3. Avoid being home during an inspection, and take pets with you when you can
The reason we recommend that you aren’t home during the inspection is so that the buyer feels like they can have a really good, thorough look at the property comfortably, and not feel as though they’re intruding. They’re also more likely to give honest feedback to the agent about your home after the inspection. We also recommend taking your pets with you for a number of reasons. Some people have allergies, some have phobias, and some have children. These are all reasons we feel that your pets shouldn’t be present, for their safety and the safety of buyers. Take your dog for a nice walk, or go for a drive with your cat (in its carry cage, of course).
4. De-clutter, and depersonalise
This is probably our most recommended tip. When people are looking to buy a home, they don’t want to feel as if they’re intruding. Leaving bits and bobs like family photos, shopping lists, clothes, mail, bills and just general clutter (basically all of the stuff in the kitchen that isn’t used for cooking!) can make people feel like their in someone’s home, and not *their* potential home. Make it as easy for them to imagine themselves there as possible. A great and easy way to do this, is to hide dirty laundry in the washing machine, rather than in a basket! Clean out cupboards & store everything in boxes to make storage space seem more spacious.
5. Make your home comfortable & season appropriate
If it’s summer, turn your air conditioner on 30 minutes to an hour before the inspection (this will depend on how big your home is, and how open the rooms are). If you don’t have air conditioning, turn on any fans and open some windows that aren’t in direct sunlight, and leave any curtains closed that are blocking out direct sunlight and avoid lighting candles. If it’s winter, then open all the curtains, leave the windows closed, light some candles, and if possible, put your heater on. If you don’t own a heater or reverse cycle air conditioner, that’s okay, just try to make your home as warm as possible. Have a snuggly throw on the couch, light some ambient lighting and scented candles that have warm scents, like cinnamon or vanilla.
Just be generally aware of the season you’re selling in, and make your home comfortable and appropriate for inspection. That way, when buyers are thinking about the homes they’ve seen, your home won’t be “the one that was stinking hot” or “that place that was absolutely freezing!”
6. Double-check before you leave
Just before any inspections, go through your home and do a final ‘sweep’; a ‘double-check’ that everything is ready. Make sure the beds are made, that you’ve hidden away clutter, put away valuables, given any and all surfaces a wipe, turned on all the lights in dark areas, opened curtains to let in natural light & windows if there’s a nice breeze, put the toilet seat down; just make sure it’s show ready! That way, you can leave knowing your home looks the best it can 🙂 Good luck!