The Redesign Habit is adding something new to the mix in 2016 and that is having a guest blogger each month!  Our first guest is Jennifer Aldrich.  She has been a REALTOR®, License #01313240, for 15+ years in San Diego, CA and is currently with Trinity Real Estate Services and we are about to gain from all her experience!

As a REALTOR®, there are certain things that always come into my mind the first time II walk into the house of a client who is getting ready to list their home.  I would like to share those with you now so the next time you are getting ready to sell your home, you can take a little of the anxiety and stress out of the process by having these things checked off of your to-do list before your REALTOR®gets there for that first walk-through.

Five Things To Get Your Home Open House Ready:

1.       Smell:  When you walk in the front door of your home, how does it smell?  Are there cooking odors hanging in the air?  Are there smokers in your home?  Do you have a pup who maybe is in need of a bath?  All these things can have odors that linger in your air, on your furnishings, and even in your window treatments and carpet.  Taking the proper steps to neutralize those odors will help make a great first impression as people walk into your home for the first time.  Washing curtains, throw pillows, blankets, etc. will help in this process.  Even just opening your windows for a couple of hours prior to your open house will help.  Burning a nicely scented candle will help neutralize cooking odors that may be lingering from last night’s dinner.  Be careful though, spraying a heavy-scented air freshener might just make things worse as you can end up with two strong smells instead of one.  If you have a strong smoke odor in your home, you may need to repaint to completely neutralize that smell.  Get an outside opinion.  We tend to get used to what we smell day in and day out so having a friend or neighbor walk in and honestly let you know if odor is a problem can help also.

2.       Clutter:  We all have some from time to time but this is one area where you really need to get down to it before you show your house and get things cleaned up and put away.  You may need to box some things up and store them neatly in your garage, basement, or maybe even a storage unit.  People have a hard time visualizing a space differently than what they are seeing at that particular moment so you want to have things cleaned up and put away so they can see and appreciate the really great things about your home and not get focused on all your stuff. Clear your kitchen and bathroom counters before showings to make them look as spacious as possible.  Even your décor can fall under this category.  Remember less is more.  You want your home to be beautiful when you show it but too much décor can be distracting to potential buyers.

3.       Cleanliness:  Sounds obvious but that isn’t always the case.  A good deep cleaning is really an important thing to take care of before showing your house.  Not only visually but it also can tie back to #1 on this list.  So either get your family and/or friends to help you or hire a cleaning service for that one-time deep cleaning and then keeping it up will be much easier for the next time. This cleaning should include baseboards, door-frames, windows (inside and out), carpets, floors, etc.  This will also be a good opportunity to go through your things and either pack up or get rid of some of that clutter.  If you have everything nice and clean in your home when you show it, people will know that you have taken good care of it during the time you have lived there.  Dirty homes leave potential buyers wondering what else you didn’t take care of if you don’t even bother to clean your house up for a showing.

4.       Replace worn out or shabby things:  Here is a simple example of what I mean.  If you have shower curtains with liners, put new liners in before you start your showings.  Old ones with hard water stains or mold can leave a bad taste in potential buyer’s mouths.  Hang up nice, new, clean towel sets in your bathrooms.  Have a leaky faucet?  Fix or replace it before showings.  All these little things can really influence the way people see your home.  It goes back to the point that if you didn’t care enough to take care of these little issues, what bigger issues did you ignore?  Now that obviously isn’t always the case but it can definitely give that impression to someone who doesn’t know you at all.

5.       Depersonalize your home:  Basically, what you want to do is take all your personal tastes out of your home before you show it.  You want it to look like a nice hotel when it’s all said and done.  Pack up all your family photos, your kids’ artwork, and other things of this nature.  As I stated earlier, people can have a hard time visualizing the potential of a space when it’s full of someone else’s personal stuff.  Just remember that you want potential buyers to be able to visualize themselves living in your home and how their things will look in this new space.

I hope this list will help you the next time you are getting your home ready to sell.  Knowledge is power, as they say, and having these small things taken care of ahead of time will make the whole process easier for you and your REALTOR®as well as presenting a better viewing experience for potential buyers.