How to live in a home for sale without losing your mind

Eli Strickland
Published on April 27, 2020

How to live in a home for sale without losing your mind

There’s a frustrating dilemma that occurs when your home is for sale. It happens when the need to keep the home clean, tidy and staged collides with daily living.

Trying to keep the home in showing-condition when you’re living in it, complete with kids and/or pets, is a delicate balancing act.

Then, there are all those little annoyances that you should be prepared to tolerate. It’s always easier and less stressful to enter a new process armed with knowledge. So, let’s dive into what you can expect while your home is on the market and how to make it easier on you and your family.

Keeping the home clean

According to a study from a few years ago, clean homes with no clutter sell for $1500 to $2000 more than comparable homes that are messy. Ah, that caught your attention, right?

Homebuyers feel that clean homes show pride of ownership, which means their perception is that it’s also been well-maintained.

If you have children and/or pets, keeping the home clean isn’t an easy job. Create a plan before the home goes on the market where each family member has a set of tasks to complete before leaving the home in the morning.

Even the tiniest in the family can pick up toys and return them to their rightful place.

Yes, it may mean getting up a bit earlier in the morning, but for an extra thousand dollars (or two) it’s worth it.

Decide now what to do with your pets

Home sellers with pets have come up with some clever ideas on how to deal with their pets during home showings.

From dropping them at doggy daycare or a groomer to hiring a dog walker to get them out of the home during showings, crating them, come up with a solution that you can put into action on those days when agents will be showing the home.

Then, make sure their food and water bowls, leashes and toys don’t create clutter – stash them away.

Tip: If your dog uses the backyard as a potty, ensure that all the droppings are picked up before showings. The last thing you want is a potential buyer with “poop” all over her shoes.

Protect your privacy

While it may appear that they’re snooping, many homebuyers will open cupboards, drawers and closets to determine how much storage these areas provide.

Then, there are the small handful that are actually snooping, hoping to come upon anything they can pocket. Although it doesn’t happen often, it’s best to be safe and lock away or remove from the home the following:

  • Sensitive paper work (such as anything having to do with your mortgage and home, credit reports, anything could be used to steal your identity and anything else you wouldn’t want a stranger to see).
  • Checkbooks
  • Credit cards
  • Prescription medications
  • Firearms
  • Anything else that is easily pocketed that is of value

From the requests for last-minute showings to potential buyers wanting to view the home when you typically eat dinner, living in a home for sale can be challenging.

Relax into the process and keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary. Soon, you’ll find a buyer and can look forward to moving on to the next phase in your life.

And – a bonus – you won’t have to worry about what to do with the dirty dishes or laundry as you rush out to work in the morning.

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