By now, you’ve learned how to prepare for a sale (that was part one of this series), and now, we’re going to figure out what to do in the 10 minutes before a prospective buyer swings by.
(Side note: to find out how to clean your new space, once you’ve moved, click here for part 3 of our moving series!)
I’ll call this ‘the showing day’ cleaning routine; it consists of seven quick things you can do before a prospective buyer comes over all in under 10 minutes. When it comes to selling a home, the idea is to give off some really powerful, strong ‘buy me’ vibes to anyone coming by, and there are definitely some spots which require more last-minute attention than others. I’m assuming that you’re starting off with a clean space to begin with (and again, you can see my first post in this series to learn how to do that). I know what it is like to live in a staged space (insanity?) but the payoff of living in what feels like a magazine photo shoot is well worth the effort when it comes to negotiating a price. The areas and tasks I’ll review in this post will help put the last minute polish on your space, leaving you feeling that you’ve done your absolute best to excite and inspire the prospective buyers. The less mess and crustiness they see, the less work they feel they need to do upon moving in (read: ‘move in condition’). Remember, each visit counts; they could be your buyers!
Tidy your front entryway
This space is the first thing people are going to see when they step in, talk about making a strong first impression! Put keys, mail, sunglasses and personal items in a designated space. A clean, tranquil entryway feels oh-so-good to come home to, so help prospective buyers feel it! Make sure your shoes and coats are put away neatly in the closet (you want your closet to look big and tidy).
Dust mop hard floor surfaces
Just a quick dust mop (with a dry flat head mop or Swiffer) is all you need to quickly swipe away debris, dust accumulation and pet hair. Hard floor surfaces really set the stage for a beautiful space and our eyes are drawn to the floor, plus, floors are usually a big talking point/selling feature of a home. Help yours stand out!
Wipe kitchen surfaces
The kitchen is a family hotspot and prospective buyers are usually looking for the stand-out features which will make them happy and excited about the space. Further than that, people oftentimes judge the cleanliness of a space based on how clean the kitchen and bathroom are (and we’ll get to that in a second). A spotty faucet, cruddy sink, or mucked up stainless steel never bodes well. Take a microfiber cloth and some all-purpose cleaner and give all exterior surfaces in the kitchen a quick wipe and shine (wipe with a damp cloth, shine with a dry one). Make sure there’s nothing lingering in the sink and shine it up, too. For extra points, empty your garbage.
Wipe bathroom mirror, tap and vanity
As I mentioned earlier, bathrooms are also a place that can either totally excite (OMG finally two sinks and a rain shower head!) or creep out a prospective buyer (holy cannoli, I’d never sit on that toilet). Your job is to give the bathroom surfaces (not the tub) a quick wipe and shine with with a microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Get any splatters off the mirror with a quick spot clean using a microfiber cloth and a touch of water. Shine up the faucet and wipe any toothpaste and hair out of the sink, you want it looking shiny and free of water spots. The vanity needs a quick wipe down, too. Make sure there’s nothing telling or gross in the garbage can and my friends, remember to flush thy toilet.
Freshen the air
Our nose does a lot of the decision-making; are we going to want to live in a place that smells like animal accidents or dirty linens? Affirmative no! Make sure your space smells divine. There are so many ways you can do this, a nebulizer, reed diffuser, Lampe Berger, are all low-maintenance things you can do to quickly improve the smell of a space. You can also bake from-the-tube cookies (just taking these over to our fabulous neighbours for being so fabulous!), or simmer some cinnamon on the stove for ten minutes while you clean (Oh this? I was just making some cider!). You can also open the windows, weather permitting, to allow fresh air through. This is truly the best way to get a fresh smell in your space. I’ve got a post on the various ways you can make your house smell incredible, check it out.
Clear off surfaces
I know, you’re still living there! But the idea is, you want to pare down anything you’ve got laying around to give off the impression that your space is vast and expansive. A cluttered space looks smaller and harder for a prospective buyer to envision living in. To quickly declutter, get a laundry basket and jog around the house picking up anything that doesn’t belong and hide the basket somewhere. Yes, they may see the basket, but this kind of thing is expected and it’s totally OK. Just keep the clutter to one confined space and you’re fine.
Even avid pet lovers may be turned off by an overly excited dog or skittish cat. Plus, you want the prospective buyers to focus only on the space, not your cute (or freaked out) house pet! If your cat is a house cat, consider crating them for the short time you’ve got buyers visiting, or leaving them in one room (laundry room) with adequate supplies and advising the agent that the pet is in that particular room. I’ve been on many house tours where this has been the case. Dogs are much easier to manage, take the pup out for a walk or on a little road trip. Remember pets leave smells behind, so be extra cognizant of pet beds and toys.
I know it seems like a lot, but with a well-maintained space and of course, by starting off with a clean space (part of the first post), you’re going to have the ability to do a quick clean sweep before the doorbell rings.
I can tell you from experience, these 10 minutes will be worth the effort!