As the housing market shifts and you’re trying to sell, there’s some planning and preparation ahead of showings for well-qualified buyers.
The days of one open house and then escrow are behind us, for now. So, rather than spending the first few days on the market reviewing the deluge of offers, you now get to work on tidying up, turning on strategic lights and keeping all the counters and other surfaces clean. And you’ll need to sustain this pattern for days, if not weeks until an offer materials.
If everyone in your household leaves in the morning, and the house is empty all day, you need the house “show ready” in case an agent calls to make an appointment.
This means hanging up all the bath towels (or replacing the towels used that morning with fresh, fluffy ones), making the beds, putting the lids down on the toilets, taking out the trash, clearing the sink of the breakfast dishes, and turning on enough of the interior lights to make it look as bright as possible.
Yes, all of this likely means waking earlier than usual to build in enough time to get all the prep work done and not be late for work.
For those working from home, you’ll need an exit strategy for when buyers come to call during the workday.
Can you take your laptop to the park across the street? Or shift your workstation to a local coffee shop with free WiFi? And what about the kiddos? Are they on Zoom from home? Can you take them to the coffee shop with you? Do you have a plan for everyone at home that includes where they will go during a showing appointment? (That means the pets, too.)
You can even turn the showing into a bit of a game.
See if you can find any clues (other than the business card on the kitchen counter) that the agent and her buyers were there. Is there an unfamiliar water bottle in your recycle bin that wasn’t there when you left? Are there lights turned on that you left off and or maybe vice versa?
Is the toilet seat up when you distinctly remember leaving it down? Is there a bedroom door closed that was left open? And the most frustrating of all, is the door to the garage locked when you always leave it unlocked?
Here’s a handy tip for showings: Take an extra key with you, and make one for all family members, just in case doors that are always unlocked are now locked, requiring a key to get back inside.
Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with RealtyOne Group West and a member of the California Association of Realtors’ board of directors. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org