Sellers - Open House - Do you remove shampoo bottles in shower?

dreamywhiteMarch 4, 2009

Silly question but how "perfect" do you make your home for an open house? Do you go as far as removing all shampoo/soap/toothbrush holders from the bathroom and have everything all shiny and just a clean hand towel out?

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And make sure your drawers are all arranged and it looks like there is tons of space to hold stuff. People will open drawers and doors.

Do a search on "open house" in this forum. You will get a lot of great information on what to remove for the OH such as good jewelry, medicines, unlocked guns and ammo, credit cards, all bills and statements, etc. There have been suggestions from renting a storage unit to having a suitcase ready to go (this would be for the meds, jewelry, bills).

Best wishes :-)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Put away valuables, papers w/private info, and personal items you don't want touched, in a private secure place. I don't think it's as important to put away soap/shampoo as it is toothbrushes. Not only do buyers not want to see your toothbrushes, but you don't want their grubby kids handling them. Leave soap by sinks and make sure the toilet paper holder is full, because inevitably someone will need to use the facilities!

According to one real estate agent I had once, you can "tie raffia bows around everything to make it look more appealing," LOL, but of course that renders these items non functional when you yourself actually has to use them! ;-) IMO, uncluttered and spottlessly clean is always correct. I doubt a buyer would faint and buy elsewhere if there was a bottle of shampoo in an otherwise spotless shower. But they might go elsewhere if the shower was a mess or there were kids' toys everywhere. Evein in 'hot' markets I've turned around and walked away from houses for sale if they were a mess, stinky, reeked of odor-masking potpourri, or had dirty clothes, etc laying around. If I can't easily SEE the house--i.e. too cluttered--I lose interest. It always makes me wonder what's hidden behind those piles of stuff. Ideally I like to look at a house that's totally empty, though many 'experts' would disagreee and think it should be staged with furniture and phony place settings at the table to be appealing.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Yes. And then some.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Take this for what it's worth, but I heard a tip once that the shampoo etc. should be replaced w/ high end brands thus making the house appeal on some level to the aspirational. Obviously the bottles need to look nice and new.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Funny! I just had two open houses and in one shower I removed all the shampoos etc and left 'posed on the shelf" one yellow rubber ducky.
We just accepted an offer...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 1:01PM
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Funny about changing them out with new high end shampoo bottles - just told my mom today that when I looked at homes way back when I judged people on the "brands" they used as stupid as that sounds. She told me that I was nuts but I think people make judgements and do not even realize they are doing it.

But I LUV the rubber ducky idea - how cute and inexpensive!!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Lena M

I'm not sure what the rocks are for...

but I heard a tip once that the shampoo etc. should be replaced w/ high end brands thus making the house appeal on some level to the aspirational.

Raid the recycle bins in a high-end neighborhood for opaque bottles, fill 'em with tap water -- there ya go!


    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 11:51AM
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We just sold our house -- I *DID* remove the bottle of Head & Shoulders (who wants to move into a house where they have dandruff?) - but left the bottle of Redken. I also put out fresh bars of soap because it made the room smell fresh and clean.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:30PM
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How the heck do you do this every day? Do you know in advance that they are bringing people? My husband and I both work and run out the door in the morning. Our adult son uses the other bathroom and we all run out the door at the same time. We all shower each AM and what the heck do you do with all the wet shampoos, soaps, towels, etc.

Our master bath is so small there is no storage except under a 24' sink. I wouldn't want to put wet things there...its already filled with my makeup, hair brushes, blowers, his shaver, etc.

How do you all do this?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 2:18AM
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Jane, it is time to pack things up, toss things out and get up 15 minutes earlier.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:46AM
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Jane - I was thinking of starting a thread on this, but will say it here. What people on this forum (myself included) might do to prepare for a showing is different from what the average seller is doing. We are not the norm.

As a seller, I staged to the hilt - fresh towels, nothing in the shower stall, everything just so. As a buyer, I never saw a staged house. I saw the range of generally neat but lived in, to unmade beds and lots of kid chao, to a single man's home loaded to the hilt.

With houses sitting on the market for months or longer, the idea of staging for a general showing is unrealistic for most people.

General cleanliness still important, in my opinion, but shampoo bottles and wet towels are part of life. When we had our house on the market, we used plastic containers with handles and drain holes and carried our shampoo soap, etc in and out of the shower, storing the plastic containers under the sink.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:58AM
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Think hotel. I tried to make my home - all rooms - look like a cozy hotel. Impersonal and spotless, but charming.
Put your shampoo and shower needs in a plastic basket (think dorm). Do your stuff. Wipe bottles quick and put them in the basket. Place basket in cabinet under the sink.
Have a routine - make beds, freshen house, have a place to toss last minute clutter that you can go through later - again, baskets are great for this.
Getting ready for a potential buyer is the worst kind of stress. Do all you can to minimize it.
Good luck.
Oh - I just caught the last sentence of graywings' post - ditto.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 9:02AM
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graywings: What people on this forum (myself included) might do to prepare for a showing is different from what the average seller is doing. We are not the norm.

I wish there was a way to track whether the folks in this forum that follow a certain number of forum suggestions sell their houses faster than others on the market at the same time! Maybe the suggestions here are over-the-top? Maybe the suggestions make for a faster sale? Maybe the house would sell just as quickly without the implemented suggestions?

I have always wondered and wished there was a definitive way to know.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 12:52PM
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I have been working with a carpenter to get my house in shape and he told me his mother sold her house a few years ago. She had him retiling, refinishing floors, refacing cabinets - drove him crazy! The house sold in a month for $540,000.

Her neighbor put her house on later that year. Her house was disgusting (his words). Never did a thing to it. Sold in a week for the same amount.

He keeps telling me 'just put the dam thing on the market...stop fixing things!'

I'm thinking that this is a tough time to sell. There are over 100 houses on the market in my area. Many are newer construction (last 5 years). Huge homes, everything looks new. Then there are the older houses which haven't done much updating.

The larger houses are all priced over 1M and are sitting. I have been watching and the houses which are selling are the mid-range houses 5-800,000. Majority are in the 6's.

I think staging will help. It seems to me that many of the houses appear staged. They look very cleaned up, neat and sort of generic. All the wood floors are shining and the bathrooms look updated. Some kitchens are older but look clean with updated appliances.

Xamsx I like your idea. It would be so helpful to know.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 4:11PM
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We sold our house in Michigan last year. That was no easy feat let me tell ya. Our realtor didn't do open houses. He felt there wouldn't be enough turn out to merit them. He did do a lot of advertising and did a great virtual tour and website photos.

About the shampoo & toothbrushes...I put the toothbrush holders in the linen closet in the bathroom before showings. As far as shampoo and bodywash, I left it in the shower. The shower was immaculate, but I thought it just looked more *lived in* to leave some things out. Toothbrushes are personal though. Another thing...I always put the toilet seat down. To be honest, I literally knocked myself out for every showing. We didn't have that many as Michigan was depressed last year too.

We were lucky to sell when we did, as prices have fallen since. I worked hard to have the house looking tip top shape. It just took the right people to look at it. I don't know if going over board staging helps a lot, but I don't think it hurts.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 4:16PM
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"How the heck do you do this every day? Do you know in advance that they are bringing people?"

If it's an Open House, sure you know in advance, and as a buyer I'd have higher expectations at an Open House than I would if the sellers had 20 minutes notice to get 4 kids and a dog out the door.

If my house was on the market I'd make sure it was clean before going to work. What if an agent shows a buyer 4 houses that day, and yours sticks out as the one with the wet towels on the floor and dried toothpaste in the sink?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 12:12PM
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We never had an open house, all our homes sold before an Open House could be scheduled (those were the good old days!). I always made sure my home was spotless though, and with 4 kids that often meant getting up super early and staying up super late. I'd clean house in the evening and do quick touch ups, pick ups and make beds in the mornings. I do recall one time though I had to rush out of the house and didn't have a chance to make my bed. Of course that was the day a realtor had to call and ask for a showing within an hour or two. I explained that I hadn't made my bed and would prefer to reschedule. She thought my home was immaculate and one unmade bed wouldn't deter the buyers. I cringed at the thought, but let the showing go ahead. That young couple bought the house despite the unmade bed. So I think if a home is clean and clutter free and show ready for the most part that a buyer looking at the home on short notice will overlook some small things like shampoo bottles etc. I do think that there is a much higher standard for Open Houses though and would make sure the shampoos, toothbrushes etc are put away for Open Houses.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I upgraded to "aspirational" shampoo (Aveda...a gift from a friend) for the duration. Figured it was my reward for everything else I did to prepare.

I even bought a spa-like sea sponge to put next to the little plant on the shower window shelf. If you get a sponge, get it at the paint store, not the home decor or fancy bath store. It will cost you about a third!

Oh, and we had the rubber duck, too! Sold in two months last year. Must have been the duck. :-)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 2:56PM
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No, the only things I hide are the tooth care appliances. All my shampoos, cleansers, and lotions are in full view in plain, white, unlabeled plastic bottles--absolutely neutral and very clean looking. Many of the products in my drugstore's store brands have labels that are easy to remove, with no sticky residue left behind, so I kept buying them on sale (and using them) until I had the number of them we needed. The different brands we buy are transferred to the plain bottles. I can tell which is which by color of the cap or where it sits on counter or shelf. The shampoos (4 types) and creme rinse bottles all look alike lined up in a stainless steel rack, but there is a mark on the bottom of each so we can tell what is in which bottle.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:22AM
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Be sure to hide your prescriptions and pain medications. They can walk out the door when a house is shown.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 12:16AM
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Since there are just two of us in the home, we only use the master bathroom shower. I have a caddy pole that has just a few items and they are all in jars or plastic bottles. The pole is there because there are no shelves or soap dish in the shower. There is a place to sit but that is void of anything. The stuff I rarely use has been stashed away. I put away the squeegee when I'm done with it and hide the Tilex which I now use at night so the bathroom doesn't smell like bleach in the morning when we leave the house. My counters are clean except for two hand soap pumps (we have two sinks) and a perfume bottle I use daily. I realized that most of the stuff I had on the counters or in the shower were hardly ever used anyway and were just clutter. Same for my dresser in the bedroom.
The last thing we do in the morning before we leave is make sure everything is wiped down and get any spec of hair out of the shower and floor. And then "WE ARE DONE!!!"

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 10:15AM
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