Six tips to survive showing your home and making the sale

You have made the decision to sell your house and now you have people walking through every inch of it.

Here’s what to do and expect when showing your home.

It’s usually less disruptive for clients with children and pets to temporarily move out when selling their home, said Shea Warrington with Real Estate Homeward in Toronto.

“I have four kids and it’s not easy to stay on top of toilet seats being down. Or worse, not being flushed.”

One Toronto couple in the midst of listing their home, plan to move their young family out of the house for two weeks while their home is staged, photographed and shown.

“It’s so much easier to not be around so the agent has free reign to book appointments as needed,” said Lindsay Fleming, the mother of two young girls. “It just makes life much easier when there’s little ones.”

Lindsay Wright of Wright Sisters Group with ReMax, couldn’t agree more.

“Moving out is ideal and it’s also a great time to take a family vacation,” Wright said.

Stop cooking

If a family is staying in their home while they are selling, Warrington suggests they don’t cook.

“Ideally, a house should smell fresh, clean and free of scents, including perfume, air fresheners, or cooking odours.

“If you have a hot property, you’re hoping for lots of action, which generally means evening showings. So, sometimes, it’s best to plan to eat out.”

Board the pets

Scent can also be an issue when it comes to pets, Warrington said. And pets can often complicate the showing process if a prospective buyer is allergic or nervous around animals.

“Showings can also be hard for pets,” Wright said.

The real estate agent recommends using a doggie daycare. When the weather is nice, putting the dog in the backyard during a last-minute showing is also an option, she said.

Keep it kid-friendly

For clients with infants, Wright recommends restrictions on showing hours, such as no showings after 7 p.m., so there is as little disruption as possible to baby routines. And for new listings, she also likes to invite the whole neighbourhood to an evening showing so everyone can have a look at the house at the same time.

A tip Warrington gives her clients with kids is to keep a basket of toys that’s easily accessible when they are home but also easy to tuck away in a hurry.

Don’t hide anything

Property management executive Sonya Buikema, who has been through the selling and showing cycle several times, said she wouldn’t recommend trying to hide anything dirty, anywhere.
“People look everywhere,” she said.

And even if they don’t, that last-minute solution could create other problems, like they did for her sister.

Several years ago, the harried Burlington, Ont. mother of two teens shoved empty pizza boxes into the oven before an unexpected showing. Hours later, the boxes forgotten, she turned on the oven, and had to call the fire department when smoke filled the house.

De-clutter

Whether you hire professionals or self-edit your furniture and furnishings, like property management executive Sonya Buikema did, staging will do more than make your place more attractive to buyers, and easier to keep clean and tidy.

When Buikema and her husband listed their home in Toronto in late 2012, the family packed up half of the house to get it ready for sale. All non-essential items — including clothing, coats, shoes and furniture — were boxed up and placed in a storage facility.

“When it came time to pack up for moving, half the work was already done,” she said.

By Henrietta Walmark Metro