Living in a staged home can be difficult. It’s hard to occupy a space that must be kept clean and organized for any unexpected showings. So how do you keep your home in pristine condition? The biggest thing is to changer your mindset. It’s no longer “your home”. It is a place that you reside in that other people are trying to picture themselves in. This means that it must be clear of a lot of personal items so that buyers can picture themselves in the home. It also means doing a lot of things that you might not think of doing.
We’ve compiled a small list of tips and tricks to help make the process easier.
Keep It Clean
- Remove all your kitchen appliances from the counters. Try to keep their usage to a minimum. If you choose to use them, make sure they are put away clean. Also, be sure that the area utilized is cleaned up. You don’t want a potential home buyer to come through your post-baking session mess.
- Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
- Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.
- Keep the sink and refrigerator clean. This is often overlooked by sellers as it’s something they may be used to. Buyers do judge the cleanliness of these things. If the kitchen sink and the refrigerator aren’t clean, what else in the house is poorly cleaned?
- Regularly take out the trash. Any lingering odors should be eliminated with some sort of a light air freshener.
- No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
- Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use. Try to do a complete scrub down of the shower at least once a week. A deep clean of the bathroom should be done at least twice a week.
- Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh. If you notice some staining, clean it right away.
- Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.
- Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Purchase plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
- Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled. Also, make sure that whatever fabric is exposed is clean. Try to have one back up set of bedding for accidents. You can even have set that you use to sleep in and another that is used for staging.
- Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets. Make sure that the laundry basket isn’t over flowing with clothes and other items.
- Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.
- To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans. For your convenience, make sure you know where everything is tucked away. That way you aren’t tearing up the living room looking for the remote.
- Do not let newspapers, magazines, or mail stack up; file them away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.
Eating & Entertainment
By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken. To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, consider daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.” If you need to cook in the home, be sure to clean everything after using it. Need ideas to keep the family busy during showings? Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives. Don’t think of the time away as a disadvantage. Think of it as a time for the whole family to do things that they haven’t done for a while or kept talking about doing but never got around to doing.
Unfortunately, many pets are not staged-home friendly; it may be best to find another place for them to stay while your home is staged. Perhaps a family member, friend, or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members. Another option would be to send them to a kennel-free boarding “resort” for their own vacation. This can get expensive, so check with your real estate company to see if they have any sort of deal with any local boarding places. If they must stay in your staged home, designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum. Also, be sure that the pet designated rooms are kept clean. Clumps of fur or little messes should be dealt with immediately. Some buyers will request no pets in the house when they go to tour, so be sure that you have a plan for them when the house is being shown.
Living in a staged home may not come naturally, but if you and your family can adjust your daily routine, it can be a lot of fun. Take the opportunity to go out, explore and do things you all had always hoped to do. Motivate every family member to get in on the challenge and it can turn out to be a memorable time spent together!
As always, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty can help you with all of your real estate needs.