T-minus twelve days till the moving van arrives. I’ve been packing and humming the theme song to “The Jeffersons” and yes, I do know that statement dates me. While I’m not “moving on up” to a deluxe apartment in the sky, I am moving on and despite the tone of my last two blog posts, I haven’t actually been weeping, wailing and gnashing my teeth. Turns out the build up to listing and selling our home was far more traumatic than the actual event and let’s be honest… that is totally due to Lisa’s expertise and professionalism and not my maturity and emotional stoicism. I thought I’d have some post-sale PTSD, but I’m actually in a really good head space and able to clearly communicate some of the do’s and don’ts that worked for us during the (very brief thanks to Lisa) time our home was on the market.
Oh, and before I get into the nitty gritty of the DURING process, I need to backpedal just a bit and offer one more piece of advice that should have been included in last week’s “BEFORE” post. This is important and I can’t believe I forgot it. DON’T, DO NOT, DOOOOOO NOT have a “pre-sale” home inspection before you list your home for sale. I thought this was a brilliant idea. After all, we’d spent a lot of time and money renovating our home and making it as perfect as possible, so I thought a pre-sale inspection would be a logical thing to do. I didn’t think there were any issues with our home, but I don’t like surprises and wanted to know what, if anything, might pop up on a buyer’s inspection. When I mentioned this to Lisa, she advised me (emphatically) not to do this! If we had an inspection and they found something, we’d be forced to disclose it and it might not be something that a buyer would even care about, but it would be a ding on our disclosure form. Lisa suggested (and we followed her good advice) to let the process play out. In the end, our buyer’s bought our home “as-is,” so a pre-sale inspection would have been a waste of money for us and could potentially have caused us to have to list a disclosable issue.
Okay… moving on. Here are a few things we did DURING the week our house was on the market that made our lives ever so much easier!
DO consider hiring a cleaning person to deep clean your home the day before your house hits the market. We don’t use a cleaning service normally, but I did hire someone to help me the week our house was going live. This service did all the things I didn’t want to do… cleaned blinds and windows, scoured showers and toilets. I wanted to do the fun stuff and make the house look pretty. They did the not so fun stuff and it was money very well spent!
DO come up with a plan to keep the house neat and tidy. My boys knew that they’d better not leave for school without making their beds, hanging up their wet towels and putting their dirty clothes in their hampers. They also each had a laundry basket to toss their “stuff” into in case we needed to get out quick without much notice. Backpacks, shoes, and the detritus of boy-life landed in (and only in!) those baskets during our home-selling week and made it oh, so easy to just toss them in the back of the car and get out quick. All I had to do was run around and turn on lights (that little trick makes everything look warm and cozy) before a last-minute showing.
DO be prepared to be away from your home all day the first few days it’s on the market. On day one, I shipped the boys off to school and was out the door by 7:00 a.m. Several showings had been scheduled the previous night, so I knew that I’d need to be gone, but also thought that there were chunks of time I could be home. Nope. By noon on that first day, we had back to back appointments ALL DAY LONG. I didn’t go home until after 8:00 p.m. that night. We had over 15 showings in 24 hours. Fortunately, we also had offers, so it was really only one day of being out of the house, but I should have been prepared for a few days of that and planned lunches, appointments, etc… to keep myself busy.
DO make arrangements for your pets to be absent during showings. Fortunately, my papa lives very nearby and was willing to take our dog, Lucky, for as long as necessary. If I hadn’t had Dad, though, I would have arranged for Lucky to be boarded during the first few days of showings. First, having our sweet pup gone meant that I wasn’t sweeping up dog hair 24/7. Secondly, she’s a nervous Nellie and would have been traumatized to be coming and going all day long. It was best for all of us for her to just take a mini-vacation.
DON’T be freaked out by the many strange questions you’ll get from buyer’s agents. Whether first time buyers or seasoned real estate connoisseurs, spending a big chunk of change on a new house means there will be many, many questions. Lisa’s listing paperwork answered the commonly asked questions, but buyers will ask all kinds of other crazy things. While those questions might feel slightly intrusive, just try to put yourself into the buyer’s shoes and realize that the more information you can give, the better!
DON’T forget to save a copy of the flyers and brochures Lisa’s team will produce for your home. These glossy publications will become keep-sakes. Because this was our boys’ childhood home, I saved a brochure for each of them to keep as they launch their own independent lives. Of course, we’ll always remember our birthdays and Christmases and family game nights, but I wanted them to have picture-perfect proof of this house that has meant so much to all of us!