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  • Writer's pictureNedra D Hines

Q&A Living In A For-Sale Home

Question: "I have tenants living in my home and am getting ready to put it on the market, what kind of tips can you give me to help them live in a staged home and what to expect with the process - we could use some advice!"

Answer: Hello and thank you so much for asking this question. It’s a very important and valuable question because as you stated, you have tenants living in your home. From my experience, because the tenants don’t own the property, they may not be as attentive to making sure the home is show-ready for potential buyers. Because of that, it’s always a great idea to provide them with a daily checklist of items to complete to make sure it’s ready for showings.

Here are 6 tips for how to live in a home while it’s on the Real Estate Market:

1. Before the home is placed on the market, pack any items you won’t be using for the next 6 weeks. In other words, live as a minimalist and once you pack excess items in boxes, move those boxes to an offsite storage facility. By pre-packing items ahead of time, you’re freeing up space in the home so that potential buyers can see the fixed assets (floors, walls, etc.) before making an offer.

2. Keep the home as clean as possible. As you complete different activities throughout the day, make it a point to clean up after yourself and strive to have the home look like a model home. For those who have seen a model home, they know that it’s beautiful and staged well . . . and there are no signs of people living there. For starters, wipe down the countertops, bathtub, clean mirrors, make the beds, place soiled towels in the hamper, pick up excess items from the floor and empty all wastebaskets on a daily basis.

An extra recommendation is to clean and dry dirty dishes after each meal and place those dishes back in the cabinet. If your kids have toys they like to play with, store their toys underneath a cabinet in a mesh drawstring laundry bag. Grab the laundry bag when they’re ready to play and when you know a showing is coming up, place all their toys back in the laundry bag and store it underneath the cabinet. A clean home is more inviting and shows buyers that the property is well taken care of.

3. Routinely and intentionally put away anything that can be used as a weapon or is personally identifiable. This is all about safety for those living in the home. Kitchen knives, scissors, razors or anything sharp can potentially be used as a weapon. When your home is placed on the market, it’s open to the public, which means you have no information on the potential buyer’s personal history or mental health. Sharp objects and personally identifiable items including family photos need to be put away. If you need these items within the next 6 weeks, buy a small, dark-colored plastic bin with a lid and place those items in there. Place the bin up high in your closet so that they’re out of reach.

4. Keep the kitchen and bathroom countertops free of excess items. Place all kitchen appliances underneath the cabinet, with the exception of 1 and bring them out to use when you need them. Bathroom countertops should be free of excess items as well. Potential buyers want to see the condition of the countertops and excess items can be very distracting.

5. Put away any signs of a pet. What we have found is that most people adore their animals and they don’t have the same adoration for someone else’s animal. When showings are scheduled, take your pet with you when you leave the home and put away any signs of a pet living there. People with allergies can be very hesitant to buy a home if they know a pet lives there.

6. Be flexible. One of the things that can hurt the sale of a home is the property not being available to show when potential buyers want to see it.

Lastly, relax and get excited about your upcoming sell. Living in a home that’s placed on the market can be stressful and the above tips will help you keep the home show-ready with minimal hiccups. Creating a daily checklist with these items will reduce the stress while getting an offer you’ll be pleased with.


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