Recently we wrote about the frightful snags that can occur when a seller attempts to continue living in a house that is listed for sale. That sale is probably the biggest business transaction you’ve ever taken part in and it needs to be carefully choreographed by the people on your sale team – your selling agent and your home stager. The real estate stylist will tell you that a home that’s lived in will quickly lose its advantages when real people start traipsing through the storybook setting the stylists create.

Naturally, if it’s impossible for you and yours to move out of your listed home, you’ll do the best you can to keep the place looking like the stager just left. You’ll keep your use of the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms to a minimum in order to protect the pristine look the real estate stylist created. Unfortunately, more effort is called for on your part every time a potential buyer wishes to inspect your home. It isn’t that your family is messier than other families. It’s simply that living is an untidy business.

If the selling agent calls to arrange a showing of the house, you have to act quickly. It’s not ideal to find yourself in this situation, but if you do, here are some quick fixes. Below, please find a step-by-step guide to making your home ready for a buyer’s inspection in 20 minutes.
Empty the Garbage: If your time is limited, take out the bathroom and kitchen garbage bins and hide them.

Nose Patrol: Walk through your house with a clean-scented room spray. Spend an extra moment or two in the kitchen and bathrooms. Turn on all exhaust fans, including the air conditioner, and open all the doors and windows you can. This way, you can exchange stale inside air with fresh air from outside.
Clutter: People have their own stuff that is generally unrelated to the carefully curated things your stager put out on bathroom and kitchen counters. If you’re living in a listed home, keep a laundry basket or two handy so that you can scoop hair dryers, shampoo, used bars of soap, and the ‘real’ bath towels into them. Put the baskets in your car then bring out and hang the elegant, fresh towels that your stager left in the bathrooms.

Put away the children’s homework, and be careful to stash away stacks of mail, magazines, and the shoes someone left under the coffee table.
Scrubbing Foam: Spray the bathroom fixtures with a foaming cleaner and allow them to soak while you do a few other things.

Send the Dog to the Neighbour’s: Fido may love company, but your buyers may not love him. Remove his feeding bowl and Kitty’s litter box. (These are places you will want to visit with that air freshener we mentioned earlier to eliminate all pet odours.)
Make the Beds: Not everybody on the planet makes their bed every morning. Still, beds just happen to be the focal point in any bedroom. Keep those accent cushions handy, and give bedside tables a quick wipe with a duster.

Wipe down Bathroom and Kitchen Surfaces: Give the bathroom and kitchen surfaces a swipe and make sure all reflective surfaces including mirrors, taps, handles, and towel racks shine like the day they were installed. In the kitchen, remove all dirty dishes, clear and wipe the benchtops and drop a quartered lemon into the garbage disposal unit to freshen it.

Vacuum or Dust the Floors: Quickly give the floors a once-over with the device most suited to them.
Go Freshen Up: In the moments you have left, go and comb your hair and put on your happy homeowner smile.

Perfecting your quick cleaning routine is important. According to the real estate stylist, if you do it well, your house will sell more quickly and you won’t have to practice speed cleaning for very long.

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