Good advice for today’s home sellers might sound a lot like something you’d say to a marathon runner: prepare as best you can in advance and, once you start, pace yourself and expect it to take a while. But when your real estate agent calls and says some potential buyers are on their way for a home showing, you need to break into sprint mode, because potential home buyers are not going to wait around. You need to make your house look its personal best with fast home fix-ups in just minutes if you’re going to break away from the pack on the housing market. Ready, set, go:
1. Light a candle
Make your home smell good fast by lighting a candle when potential buyers are on their way. Think fresh rather than flowery: cucumber, lemon or ginger are excellent candle scent choices. Just be sure to blow the candle out before you leave!
2. Check the bathroom
You don’t have time for a full-fledged cleaning when home buyers are en route, but you should give the bathrooms a fast fix-up before a potential buyer visits. Keep some disposable window wipes handy so you can shine the faucets and mirrors, if needed. Close the toilet lid. Empty the trash can.
3. Shine the windows
Keep those wipes out and look for fingerprints and other smudges on windows and mirrors. Since first impressions are the most important, start in the foyer and work toward the back of the first floor. If you’ve still got time, go upstairs.
4. Freshen up the disposal
Keep a cut-up lemon in the refrigerator at all times. When it’s time for a home tour, throw about half of it in the garbage disposal and grind. This fast fix-up will keep your home smelling fresh.
5. Let in the light
You want your house to look bright and inviting to potential home buyers. If it’s daytime, open the blinds (unless doing so would highlight a neighborhood eyesore). If it’s late afternoon or evening, leave on a few lights. When you’ve got a choice, pick lamp lighting over overhead lighting, because it’s more flattering.
6. Take the “you” out of your house
You want your potential buyers to be able to envision themselves – and not you – living in the house. So de-personalize it. Act fast and put today’s mail and newspaper in a drawer. Stash your shoes and coats in the closet.
7. Stow the pet food
Fluffy will not starve if you leave her for an hour without that unappetizing bowl of food sitting on the floor. And remember: people generally like their own pets a lot more than yours, so take Fido with you when you leave, if practical.