There are a few key things that you can do to keep your house ready for showings so that it sells faster while ensuring it’s still comfortable to live in at the same time. “The real balance is having what you need while making sure your home actually looks ready for a new owner,” says real estate news source Redfin. “Once you figure that out, it’s a sure bet you will get your home sold without sacrificing too much comfort.”
With some hard-won tips from my years helping clients and some expert-approved tips from Realtor.com, here’s a guide for how to live in your house (and maintain your sanity) when you can’t really live in your house.
1. Declutter by at least 50%
Look at this a good time to get rid of things you don’t use; plus, you’ll have less stuff to move once your home sells! Whitney Parrott, lead designer at Everything Creative Designs, suggests this 50% decluttering rule for her clients who choose to stay (at least part of the time) in a staged or listed home. You want your place to look inviting, but not necessarily lived-in. “Take you out of the home,” she says. “Remove your emotional attachment and look at the home as a product you’re selling, which I realize is easier said than done.”
2. Rent storage space.
Even if you aren’t going to have your home professionally staged, you’ll likely need a storage unit for your excess belongings. Get a slightly larger unit than you think you’ll need (we all have more stuff than we think). Plus, it’s a good idea to save yourself the headache and hire professionals to maximize your storage space with their expert packing hacks.
3. Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it.
If you can afford it, invest in a weekly cleaning service. Before each showing, vacuum the floors, dust all furniture, and wipe down all kitchen and bath surfaces.
4. In the kitchen…
Keep countertops clear. Stash paper towels, sponges, and dish soap under the sink when they’re not in use. Make a habit of placing dirty dishes immediately in the dishwasher, and keep most appliances off the countertops. Buyers will open cabinets. Be sure your glasses, plates, pots, and pans are well organized and stacked neatly.
5. In the bathroom …
Use totes or bins to keep daily bathroom items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap out of sight.
Immediately sort mail when it arrives at your house, and dispose of anything that isn’t vitally necessary. Have a designated (and hidden) place to put magazines, newpapers and bills that need to be paid.
7. Block showings.
Ask your agent to schedule showings in large blocks of time a few afternoons a week to ensure you can get everyone out of the house.
8. Don’t forget the pets.
If you have work outside of the house and have pets, consider boarding the pets on weekdays when showings might occur.
For sure, living in a staged home is not quite easy, especially if you’re juggling children, pets, careers, and more. But it’s most definitely worth the time and investment. The key is to get organized and stay vigilant about keeping it in that way all the time so that it’s ready for showings.