Cottaging while the house is for sale


Dear David,

We put our house in on the market and promptly escaped to the cottage. There’s no one at home to do the gardening while showings are taking place. Is it a big deal if our flower beds have some weeds? – GREEN THUMB GETAWAY

DEAR GETAWAY: Having your house on the market is a major inconvenience at the best of times. To get the best results, your property needs to be in pristine condition and available to show at almost a moment’s notice, which is hard to accomplish while you’re living there.

When the market was on fire (which was the case until recently), two things were different than they are right now: desirable properties spent fewer days on the market, and appointments were jammed together in back-to-back blocks, rather than being booked here and there. Until a few months ago, the sheer volume of showings was keeping some sellers out of their homes for extended periods of time.

Since the second quarter of 2022, market conditions have shifted. Homes are typically spending more time on the market, and the number of showing appointments has declined. No one knows whether these trends are temporary or long-term, but either way, they’ve forced sellers to make the most of every showing. Today’s buyers have hundreds of options instead of just a handful, and there’s no way of knowing which showing appointment could result in an offer.

As much as it’s a pain, you need to be ready to put your best foot forward for every showing, as if you’re prepping your home for a first date with each potential buyer. Maintaining the yard is an essential part of the process, like ironing your shirt before a big night out.

We live in our homes one way, but market them quite differently. Crumbs on the counter and shopping bags in the hallway are suddenly an issue when your house is for sale. Escaping to the cottage is a great idea at this stage, since once you’re out of the house, you don’t need to worry about putting laundry away, doing dishes immediately, or getting rid of the smell from last night’s fish dinner.

That said, it’s important to ensure your house remains first-date ready, even while you’re singing songs and roasting marshmallows around the campfire. Sometimes that may mean having a few extra hands to manage the yard work (or shovel the snow, depending on the season).

PRO TIP: Reach out to your agent, a neighbour or a family member who can help you find someone to weed the gardens while you’re away. Making the effort to impress every buyer is important, especially during these slower times in the market. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.