What do you do when your realtor calls and wants to show your home in say, ½ an hour? Jump for joy first, since someone wants to look at YOUR home, right? Then, panic. As you hang up the phone, you notice that your teenagers have been at it again… your house is CLEAN, it’s just not TIDY. Now, what do you do?
First things first...
Since we all know that the first impression is important, especially if you want to sell your home in the next decade, we have a few tips that will help you quickly hide away “stuff”. But first, you have to know where the buyers are going to look, and ensure that these places are constantly tidy.
...where to hide?
Places that buyers will look include the oven, any closets, kitchen drawers, laundry room, and the kitchen pantry. Think about it, these places give them an indication, essentially, of how much storage space there is. If they’re overflowing, the buyers will think there just isn’t enough room to store their own things, since obviously you don’t have the space. If you need a reminder of the basics of preparing your house for sale, refer back to our book How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar Fast.
Don’t defeat your efforts by stashing clutter in them at the last minute, no matter how tempting it may be! Enough of that! What you want to know is… at the last minute, where CAN you hide things?
Under the Bed
It’s spacious, easy to get to, and no one in their right mind would get down on their hands and knees to look there during their first visit. In addition, kids are probably used to stashing things there anyway, and can help you.
In the Washer & Dryer
Who hasn’t seen the commercial where a little kid has stashed a pet in there? We don’t recommend putting your pets in there, but clothes and shoes and stuff can easily fit. Although buyers like to look in the laundry, to see the size and neatness, they won’t be looking to see if you actually have things in there. Our caution is to let everyone in the family know that it’s a hiding place, and to never start the machines without checking the contents first.
In the Refrigerator
This is risky, you know your kids are going to be in and out of the fridge – and how embarrassing would it be to have a shoe fall out? On the other hand, if you’ve just walked in from the grocery, you can certainly stash the entire grocery bag in there, until you’re ready to unpack it and put things away neatly.
Mistakes to Avoid
Refusing to Make Cosmetic Changes
The prospective home buyer's first impression is the most important. Hundreds or thousands of home sales have been lost to unkempt lawns, cluttered rooms, bad stains, unpleasant odors... all the seemingly little things. Imagine you were the home buyer and clean your place from top to bottom... just like you'd like to find it.
Extra Hiding Places
Behind the couch. That is, if the couch is against the wall. We all know that things get trapped there anyway, so it could be a quick opportunity to drop a toy or wayward socks for a quick fix.
In the trunk of your car. Your garage or carport needs to be tidy. If it isn’t garbage day, yet you have bags lying around, drop them in. Skateboards and roller blades are a hazard anyway, so drop them in too. Nobody has a right to check in your vehicle, take advantage of that fact!
Spend a Little, Get a Lot
Check out these tips that will spruce up your home and keep costs down.
- To clean brass plates and doorknobs, apply a thin coat of window cleaner with a soft cloth, let dry and rub lightly to polish. This will keep brass tarnish free for months.
- To clean bricks, squeeze a bit of denture cream onto a wet toothbrush and scrub the grout. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Nail polish remover is an inexpensive cleaner for chrome decorations and knobs on stoves, ovens and appliances. Apply with a cloth and rinse well with water.
- To clean a fireplace screen, vacuum off the dust, and scrub the screen with a sponge and sudsy water. When dry, brush the screen with a coat of self-polishing floor wax.
- To rid your oven of odor after cleaning, place orange peelings on a rack inside the oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and let the citrus smell fill the room.