We sold our house in one weekend!
Short version: We put our house on the market on Friday (March 2nd) night at 8pm with the help of our awesome real estate agent, Pam Stanford. We had multiple showings on Saturday. We received an offer on Saturday night. We had a couple showings Sunday morning followed by an open house on Sunday afternoon. We received another offer after the open house and accepted a full price offer with no closing costs on Sunday evening.
These are our 9 tips to do before every showing. These tips are exactly what we did to get a full price offer and under contract in 48 hours (you can read "How We Sold Our House in 48 hrs." post here).
Staging and Decor
Every real estate agent and even HGTV tells you that neutral colors are the way to go and to add pops of colors with accessories. You'll see we did just that from the pictures. I love color and our agent Pam, suggested we soften up our couches in the family room with a few white toss pillows. We purchased white toss pillows from Amazon that were very affordable, click here.
When getting ready for each showing, make you beds, make the kids beds, fluff pillows (do the chop to the pillows), straighten you rugs, and straighten anything that is out of place.
If you are looking for pretty bedding, cute pillows, rugs, faux plants/flowers, small knick-knacks that are affordable, you can find them at places like Target, Wal-Mart, Homegoods, TJMaxx, Wayfair and Amazon.
We removed majority of the items on the counter, except the day-to-day items like the coffee pot and fruit bowl and cookbooks. We also cleared out all the cabinets and only had what we needed in them. We didn't want them to be overcrowded, because potential buyers WILL open the cabinets and drawers. Every time we got a call for a showing, all dirty dishes went straight into the dishwasher. Do not leave dirty dishes, including the sponge in the sink during showings. Change out dish towels if it looks dirty and used (toss the dirty one in the washing machine). Wipe down all the appliances, especially if they are remaining with the house. The kitchen is one of the reasons a buyer will buy your home, so make it sparkle!
Remove everything except your bathroom rugs and pretty hand towels. When I was staging our bathrooms, I envisioned a 5 star hotel. When you walk into a hotel room, you don'ts a used soap, used towels, hair or water spots on the glass shower door. Do the exact same thing when staging your bathrooms. Make sure to wipe down the glass shower door, toss used towels in the washing machine or the hamper, put everything (soap, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, hairbrush, makeup) in a shower caddy and store under the bathroom sink before every showing. Empty the trash and make sure the toilet paper rolls are pretty full and make sure to change out hand towels if it looks dirty and used (toss the dirty one in the washing machine).
With little ones it is hard to keep the floors perfect, but I made sure that everything was swept and vacuumed at all times. Since we sold the house in 48 hours, I only had to do this once, but the plan was to mop every night after the kids went to bed, so there wouldn't be little footprints. Prior to every showing during the day, I quickly did a wet Swiffer mop. With the dark floors, it was imperative to have the floors spotless at all times...I loved those floors and so did the buyers!
We decluttered and put a lot of the kids toys away. Since we still lived at the house, we put a lot of the toys in boxes and stored in the garage. The toys that remained in the house were neatly stored and organized in the toy boxes and living room niche.
**I wasn't prepared for this, but I think it is something you should be aware of if you have children. We had a family come to our home for a showing. When we got home we noticed the TV was on a children's channel and also my children's little kitchen and pretend kitchen food had been played with. I honestly never prepared for that possibility, but if you are leaving toys out, even if they are neatly organized and put away, there is still the potential that toys will be played with if children are at the showing with their parents. I washed and lysoled everything...not gonna lie! LOL!**
Light subtle smelling candles (linen or vanilla) while you are cleaning before showings and then blow them out before you leave. The scent will remain for a few hours during showings. DO NOT leave a candle burning while you are away from your home. Also, empty the trash every time before you leave the house. You don't want potential buyers to smell the stinky diapers in the trashcan. Ewww!!!!
Another great tip is have fresh flowers...they will give a clean and fresh smell to the area and also bring color and warmth to the space.
Before we left for each showing, I would always turn on soft classical music with a tranquil screen saver on the TV.
Open all windows (not actually opening the windows to let air in, but push open the curtains and open the blinds) to let in as much natural light as possible. Also, turn on all the lights (every single light). Coming home to the lights turned off after a showing can be a great indicator that people came to see your home.
We have two fur babies (cats). One of our cats hides and you honestly wouldn't even know we have two cats. We let her stay at the house during showings because the thought of getting her, our other cat and two kiddos out the door for showings was too stressful to even think about. No one even knew she was there. We put our other cat in his cat carrier and took him with us every time there was a showing. Also, make sure all pet items are secure and put away and if you have cats, the litter box needs to be cleaned at all times!
Do not be present for showings...it will make the potential buyer uncomfortable and they won't want to stay at the house very long. Also, I recommend taking all your valuables with you or remove them from view. I put all of our valuables in a small box and when we left I took it with us. My best advice is to always prepare and have a checklist of what you will do and what needs to go with you so you aren't running around stressing out before your house goes live on MLS and before showings!
Here is my showing checklist I created to keep myself kind of sane every time we got the call to show the house.
I hope these 10 tips for staging your home help. Remember that your house is now a product that people want...you need to stage it like a model home. Neutral, generic decor and pristine condition is a must in order to sell fast and get top dollar!
***Disclaimer: I am not an expert in staging or selling houses. These tips are to help you, but will not guarantee that you sell your house for top dollar or even fast.***