We put our house on the market about a month ago. We’ve sold three homes prior to this one and all of them sold fast and with very few showings. But times have changed and it doesn’t look like this one is going to sell as fast. So in the meantime, we’ve been showing it regularly, and I quickly discovered that, while showings are necessary, they’re also really disruptive to my schedule.
So in an effort to keep myself from losing my mind, I’ve come up with some strategies for coping with life in limbo.
1. Keep the house ready for showings at all times – at least as much as possible. This is my number one priority. I clean as I go. I pick up regularly. And first on my to-do list every day is to “get the house ready”. For me, that means:
- Pick up all the clutter
- Clean up the kitchen
- Touch-up the bathroom
- Touch-up the glass doors and any windows or mirrors that are dirty
- Touch-up mopping
Another option, a better one I think, is to have the house ready to show before going to bed. Then in the morning you’d only have to do a touch-up. But that doesn’t work for my schedule so I do it in the morning.
A couple of times I haven’t done my full routine in the morning. And, of course, someone called for a showing and I had to scramble to get ready. I don’t do that anymore.
2. Have a checklist of things to do before leaving the house. My checklist includes:
- Trap the dog in the office
- Set the lockbox on the porch
- Don’t set the alarm
- Turn on all the lights in the basement
- Walk through and make sure everything looks okay
3. Come up with a list of things you can do while you’re out. These are some of the items on my list:
- Save my errands for when I have to leave for a showing.
- Run some errands I don’t normally have time to do, like get my ring cleaned or my glasses adjusted.
- Visit with my son and daughter-in-law and grandkids who live across the street. It’s good to have a place you can go if you don’t want to run errands or sit in a parking lot.
- Relax somewhere. One morning I treated myself to breakfast at McDonalds and then sat at the park and read a book. It was actually really awesome. You could also relax in a café or library (it’s fun to just sit and read the magazines).
4. If you’re having a lot of showings, fixing and eating dinner can get complicated since many showings occur at mealtimes. Here are a few solutions I’ve come up with:
- Eat out (we’ve done that a few times)
- Make crock pot meals –they’re ready when you are
- Plan very simple meals like deli sandwiches or frozen pizza
5. If you need to stay in the house during a showing, do it. During most of our showings I’ve left the house. But one day we got a call without a lot of notice and the grandkids were here napping. I approved the showing but let them know I would be here. Not having to leave eliminated a lot of stress for me.
6. It’s okay to say no to a showing if it isn’t convenient. This is a hard one but my realtor assured me that if I need to say no, I should. I haven’t had to yet because we’ve been fortunate that no one has scheduled a showing when we weren’t available.
7. Don’t put your life on hold. This is another hard one for me. I feel unfocused and unmotivated knowing I could be interrupted at any moment. But the truth is, we’re not showing the house constantly so the showings aren’t really interrupting my life that much. I’m trying to live my life the way I normally do. The only exception is the morning routine of getting the house ready for showings. But most of that stuff I normally do anyway.
8. Don’t let it consume you. I think about showings all the time. I plan everything with that in mind. I worry that while I’m out someone will want to see the house and I won’t be able to get home to put the lockbox out. I’ve been letting it consume me! But no more – I’m working on living my life as normally as possible.
9. Do what you need to do but find creative ways to do it without messing up the house. I’m working on a quilt for my daughter. Well, I’m trying to. But I need to get all my supplies out and leave them out. Since we’re trying to sell the house, I really don’t want to junk up a room while I work on the quilt. So the quilt project has been sitting in the closet. But I came up with a plan. I’m going to set up a sewing area in my large laundry room in the basement. I don’t love working in the basement but I can do it just this once. And I can go down and work when I have a few minutes. Problem solved.
10. And finally, don’t let your guard down. I know that sounds contradictory to #7 and #8, but if you aren’t getting calls to show your house, it’s easy to let your guard down and let your house get messy. Then when you do get a call, and you will when your house is at it’s worst, you won’t be ready and it’ll take a lot more work to clean it up. So just spend the time and keep it ready. You’ll be glad you did when you get the call.
So if you’re like me and trying to stay sane while you show your house, maybe these strategies will help. I’ve got some of them mastered and I’m working on the rest. I want to sell my house but I don’t want to lose my mind in the process!!!
Are you selling your house? How do you cope with showings?