Well, it’s official. We have had enough of trailer park living and are getting out of dodge. Where exactly we are going hasn’t been decided yet. But we are going to sell our mobile home and move somewhere else. In fact, the realtor should be coming over to take photos shortly after this post goes live. We’ve been getting the place ready for that and the subsequent showings.
We’ve been doing all of the cleaning and preparation ourselves. Sure, we could hire professionals to do it for us, but that would eat into our profits from selling. So I thought I would share my thoughts on all the effort we made over the weekend with three frugal tips for preparing your home for a showing or open house.
Clean Your Home Yourself
I’ve seen some people hire professional cleaners to prepare a home for a showing. I just don’t get this one. Unless you are hiring a maid to clean your home on a regular basis (and then what are you doing reading a frugality blog?), then there is no reason to hiring someone to clean you home for a special occasion.
Cleaning really isn’t that hard. And it’s a lot cheaper to do than the products in the cleaning isle would have you believe. I wrote a guest post some months ago on making homemade cleaners. Go ahead and make this a spring cleaning, even if it is December. Get all the nooks and crannies, eaves and overhangs.
Then have a friend or relative come over. Pick someone who isn’t over at your place often so they will have fresh eyes. Ask them to look for any areas you may have missed. I spent 3 hours on my kitchen, and then someone pointed out that the edge of the stove, where it sits next to the cabinet, still needed to be cleaned.
Embrace Minimalism (If Temporarily)
Ask any realtor and they will tell you that clutter turns off buyers. You may not even think your home is cluttered, but even things left out for every day usage could be conspiring against selling your home.
Ordinarily, I keep the baking canisters, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, coffee maker, blender, spice rack, knife block, toaster, toaster oven, stand mixer and George Foreman grill on the counter. It’s all stuff that gets used weekly if not daily. But it also takes up over half of all the counter space in my kitchen. For today, however, it’s all been stuffed in the pantry and various lower cupboards (I’ve found that people will look in upper cupboards and maybe one lower cupboard — keep the most prominent ones need and orderly and don’t worry about the rest).
The same goes for the bathroom, living room, and office. Keep just enough decorations to make the place seem warm and lived in, but enough empty space that a prospective buyer can see their own stuff there instead.
You can take this one step further and actually incorporate minimalism into your lifestyle. You’re about to move; do you really want to move all that junk? Now is a great time to purge stuff. Get rid of it and there is less for you to hide in cupboards, closets, drawers, and under the bed.
Make it Smell (Good)
After all that cleaning, there is a chance that there will be a smell of disinfectant in the air. That is a definite turn-off! But don’t try to mask it with dense fragrances from a bottle.
Instead, prepare some baked goods before the showing so that the kitchen still smells of warm apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, or banana muffins. If you aren’t the baking type, you could try buying something from the store and putting it the oven or microwave just long enough to warm up and give off it’s aroma. But that isn’t a particularly frugal way of doing it, so if you can bake it yourself, do so.
In other rooms, perhaps a decorative, scented candle. Keep any lit candles away from areas with foot traffic. You don’t want someone to knock over the candle and light something on fire! Don’t over power a room with smells, but try to engage as many senses as possible in a positive fashion.
Have you ever prepared a home for a showing? Any DIY tips that I missed?