Selling your house - keeping it spik and span!

If you've ever had your home on the market, or have it up now, you'll know all about the dreaded home opens. They are an essential part of advertising your home and come with the package. Even "appointment only" homes have the pressure of keeping picture perfect since a call to see the house could come through at anytime of any day! Seeing as we are in the middle of trying to sell our home and it's all fresh, thought id throw out there a few pointers on how to speedily get your house tidy and welcoming for home opens or appointment viewings.

The first and foremost, is to simply keep your home in good order every day as best you can. Keeping up with the housework is a good and honorable thing even when your not putting it on show. But as we all know, with children and hubbys residing in our homes, it's not generally show-home material, nor should it have to be on regular days since you actually LIVE there!

So some speedy ways to get your home looking tops are:

> Utilize the space under beds. Laptops, cords, books and other things that will be wanted straight after the home open is over, can be quickly stashed under the beds easily and safely.

> washing. Don't have washing hanging on the line or sitting in a basket in full view or worse, on the floor! Dirty washing should be in the laundry hamper anyway.. But what about clean washing that's in a pile on the bed waiting to be folded and put away? Or on the line? Two options, if your washing machine is not in use and is dry, throw it all in there and close the lid! If not, put it all in a basket and stash it in a wardrobe or even in your car on the way out if your wardrobes are full!!

> kitchen: there's no escaping it. A kitchen must be clean for a home open and it should be one of your main focuses. Under no circumstances should there ever be dishes on the sink. Wash, dry, put away. And your dishwasher shouldn't have dirty dishes in it either because alot of women check the dishwasher to see the state it's in. So either run the cycle before the home open and have clean dishes in there, or If you have the time, put them away also. Ovens should be clean at least on the outside, doesn't hurt to give it a bit of a wipe on the inside too as again, some women briefly inspect the oven too. Pantry isn't a huge issue. Just make sure if it's a walk in one... You can actually walk into it. So, no floor clutter. But this is not a priority as its out of sight out of mind for most.
Main kitchen aim is, bench tops clean, no dishes in view.

Floors: ideally, you will have vaccumed that very morning. Mopped if it's tiles or Lino. You can smell cleanly mopped floors so it makes a difference. If its a short notice appointment though, just sweep up quickly and vacuum only the main areas if the carpets are showing anything up.

Bedrooms: Make all beds. Absolutely not negotiable. Tidy up bedside tables. Even if you have to throw alot of the stuff on it into the actual drawers.

Lounge room/activity room: as all other rooms, this area needs to be clutter free. All kids toys need to be gathered into the toy box/plastic tub or whatever toy storage you have. Dont worry about the toybox being organized, just throw it all in there. If your an organization freak... You can deal with separating the polly pockets from the GI Joes Later, Nows not the time! Books and DVDs straightened up or hidden in cabinetry. Cushions sitting nicely.

Toilet: PLEASE check your loo before people come! Skid marks are NOT an attractive sight. Nor are odors or unflushed wee wee's left by little toilet trainees. Squeeze some bowl cleaner in the loo, give it a quick scrub and flush. Light a match and blow it out to get rid of poop smells. Spray some freshner in there. Also, quickly go over your bathroom bench tops and bath with a few disinfecting wipes. They'll pick up any soap, light scum and hairs and leave a clean fresh scent in mere seconds. Well worth the effort.

Open all curtains to let as much light into each room as possible, it's much more inviting and makes the rooms look bigger. Of course if it's a smouldering hot day and the sun is pelting right into the rooms making it hot you ought not to have the curtains open in that instance. Then Lights on, fans on. If the weather permits, open windows for fresh air

Speaking of air... Spray some nice freshener thru the house, or light a scented candle in a main area. Don't overkill it. The other option, if you have the time to Pre-plan the idea, is to place shop-bought cookie dough in the oven and start to bake it just before people arrive for that super homely- i can imagine living here- smell. I've never tried that but apparently it works a treat.

Outside needs a little attention too though inside is far more important as its the star of the show. But a sweep of the porch/patio/front doorstep doesn't go astray. Rake up some leaves if time permits. Outside maintenance really needs to be up kept in advance, such as cutting branches that are in the way or hanging over the driveway, mowing the lawn etc. they aren't really last minute jobs. So keep that in mind.

Other things you can't rush around doing but should consider keeping your eye on up keeping are; keeping your windows clean of fingerprints and spider webs, mirrors too. Dusting, bathroom shower and tiles free from lime scale and soap scum. I'm sure you can think of more.

The best way to have your house viewing ready at the drop of a hat, is to write out a short list of all the things that can be done quickly to make a difference. Having the list will mean that you dont forget something little but important (like checking the toilet or taking the washing off the line). And will also give you and the family something to work off of with ease when a rushed situation comes.

Not everybody makes much effort for home opens, so when someone doesx it doesn't go un-noticed. Your home will stand out and be very inviting. Believe me. I've been to some home opens lately that we're... Embarrassing. One home had knickers in the shower!! Another had their laptop charging on the bed which isn't messy but is a bit careless for theft reasons. Another place I opened the oven and it stink of the fish that was still in there from last nights dinner! They also had dog poo all over the back yard. Another house the kids beds weren't made. It's just sloppy and makes you wonder if the house has been taken proper care of.

So do make your home presentable as best you can and hopefully you won't have to do it for too long when offers start to roll in!

Hope this helps you in your preparation and takes the sweat out of last minute appointments or home open planning :-)