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How to keep your home inspection ready

By George Hadgelias

Your home is on the market, you’ve had it styled within an inch of its life and every surface is gleaming and immaculately presented.

Now for the real challenge: How on earth do you keep it that way?

Keeping your home inspection-ready throughout a sale campaign is one of the biggest challenges facing vendors, so here are some handy tips for maintaining that sparkle for weeks at a time.

Check the photos

Houses rarely look better than they do in the professional photos used for a campaign.

So use them to your advantage and make them your template.

Nelson Alexander Carlton North agent Charlie Barham says if the agents have set up or styled parts of the property in a certain way for the photos, there’s almost certainly a good reason for it, so look at the photos and try to mirror what you see.

“I think the biggest tip is to try to keep your house in photo condition,” he says.

“A lot of time and effort goes into presentation for the photos, and if you can reference the photos and put in as much effort for appointments and every viewing or open for inspection, it will definitely have the best impact from a buyer’s perspective.”

Do the basics and clean as you go

It’s not often that you walk into an open for inspection to find a house looking a little frayed, but it does happen.

And it’s the little things that matter.

Beds should be well-made every morning, while personal effects and clutter should be kept to a minimum.

It’s much easier to wash the dishes and give the kitchen a quick wipe over every night than it is to let things go all week, leaving the kitchen requiring a major clean before the weekend.

And empty the rubbish every night, so that the smell from things in the bin doesn’t get the chance to permeate the living spaces.

Move out

It’s not always an option for everyone, but Barham says increasing numbers of buyers are doing away with the headache of trying to keep their home looking like a showroom while still living in it, by simply moving out for the duration of the campaign.

“A lot of our campaigns, vendors will move out, particularly if there’s a couple of kids,” he says.

“It can be very stressful if someone wants to come through for a second inspection or a building inspection … at the last minute.”

“A lot of vendors we’re finding will Airbnb for three or four weeks, or do a short-term lease or stay at a family member’s house, just so they can make sure that everything’s presented to the absolute optimum.”

Relocate your pets

Few things are harder to stay on top of than hair-shedding pets, particularly if you’re selling in the warmer months.

They can also present problems if agents need to show potential buyers through the property when you’re not there, as you can never be sure if your dog or cat has behaved itself while you’re not home, so Barham says it often makes sense to send your dog or cat away during the campaign.

“A pet can often go on a holiday and stay with a family or a friend or at a kennel or something for a few weeks, if the vendors feel that it’s going to be a real hassle to keep things in tip top order,” he says.

Stay the course

Barham says it’s important to maintain the same effort throughout the campaign, and that having a routine in place will help.

“Have a structure from day one and stick to it. We sometimes find in the first one or two weeks vendors are terrific at having the house perfectly presented, but you hit the three-week mark and you can sometimes get sick of the campaign,” he says.

“If you can be really diligent and remember it’s only four weeks and that every bit of effort that goes in will have a positive impact.”

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