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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Candles and air fresheners can help cover odors in your home while also providing a more cozy feel, but for a truly welcoming home it's best to start with a clean slate and add inviting scents on top.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 5 years ago

Christina Rordam: Make your home liveable and listable

Tips on preparing your home for a showing
by: Christina Rordam

Marketing your home for sale can be a daunting and inconvenient task, especially if you are still living in it. Kids, pets and busy schedules can make for a complex situation on their own, so throw in the need to have things in tip-top shape for potential buyers and things can become stressful. The important thing to know is the buyer for your home will most likely be understanding of the fact that you live there and that it’s not a model home. A buyer’s understanding extends only so far, however, and it’s key to keep your home clean, clutter free and smelling fresh. Here are a few tips on where to focus.

1) Clean

No one wants to walk into a home that’s dirty when shopping for a new place to live. This is the most basic of principals in getting your home ready to market, and also one of the most common things than can go by the wayside if you’re not vigilant. Walk your home with your Realtor and also with a friend or family member who doesn’t live with you. A fresh set of eyes can help you identify the nooks and crannies in your home that may be in need of a good scrubbing that you may have become blind to from existing with it each day.

Make a basic checklist and have each family member pitch in so no one feels they are bearing the entire burden of housework. Or just hire a cleaner to come weekly or biweekly and pick up in between. Remember first impressions are important, so if you have a lawn, maintain it or hire a service to do so.

Condo living? Fetch a crisp welcome mat from the store and hang an artificial wreath on your door. Williams-Sonoma, Michaels and Pier One all keep great wreaths in stock. Head to a home improvement store and get a colorful pot with flowers or a plant and set the scene at your entryway.

Once inside, your kitchen and bathrooms are some of the most dirt prone and also most important areas so give them a cleaning and then preserve daily. Make a policy to keep your shoes off when you enter and keep carpeted areas vacuumed and tile/wood flooring mopped and footprint free. A little Windex goes a long way; so hit your glass with it before showings when you can. Don’t stress out too much over this one, I’ve never seen a buyer not buy a house because of dirty windows, but having them clear and sparkling sure won’t hurt either.

2) Clutter free

The clutter monster can strike easily if you aren’t diligent. Make sure to keep any necessary paperwork in a home office and mail in its designated spaces and not strewn across tables and desks. Ideally get it out of sight, but if you simply can’t, racks, containers and shelving are your friend. If you’ve got kids, pets or both you’ve definitely got some toys in your house. Get a basket or a bin if you don’t have one already and place toys in it prior to showings whenever possible.

As for kids artwork on fridges and things like that it’s your call if you’d like it to stay. Many real estate pros will suggest you put them in a drawer until after your showing along with any religious items, but I say that’s a personal choice for your family to make.

Laundry should just always be up and in its place, especially unmentionables. If you’ve got your underwear anywhere visible, such as in your closet, find a new place to put them until you move, such as in an armoire or a drawer, preferably one that isn’t see through. I know you’re laughing, but this happens more than you’d think!

Clutter can also mean décor or collectibles. I’ve got some of my own so I understand. If you’ve got to keep them out again limit their display to say your home office, or a bookcase in your bedroom. If its in one room it can almost look themed and be less distracting for your potential buyers.

3) Odor free

Smell is so key in selling your home. Not only is it a good idea to get the bad smells out, don’t forget to add some fresh good smells in their place! Scentsy consultant Steven Cooper suggests popular scents like lavender, vanilla or a universal go-to clean smell like cotton, clean sheets or something similar. These are all great, well liked and clean smells that make a home feel like a home from the minute you walk in.

But back to the bad smells. If you have pets you have some type of pet odors. The level and consistency of the odor will vary, but it’s there to some degree. Keep litter boxes frequently emptied and out of the way as much as possible.

If you’ve got a dog or any animal really, vacuuming is crucial. People generally love pets so they can appreciate your precious pooch, just don’t knock them over the head with your pet’s presence. This means vacuuming, keeping toys up, and above all things removing any pet related odor as much as you can. That rug your dog loves so much but has also peed on? Wash it or throw it out, same goes for any blankets or bedding they favor. Clean it, Febreeze it and if you can’t remove the smells completely let it go. And don’t forget your backyard! You may not care about or notice all your dogs’ landmines in the back lawn, but believe me your buyers will! Make an effort to bag up any poo and dispose of it the same way you would when walking your pet. You’ll eliminate potential bad smells and also any awkward situations for buyers getting the lay of your land.

Christina Rordam is a licensed Realtor and Central Florida native with 10 years experience helping Orlando area buyers and sellers achieve their real estate dreams. She is a member of the Orlando Regional Realtor Associations Top Producer Club and holds the CDPE, CNE and CSP designations. Do you have any questions or a topic of interest that you’d like to read about? Contact Christina at 407-928-8294, [email protected]. View homes online at

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