In theory, allowing viewings of your house in order for it to be sold seems so straightforward. It goes something like this:
-Keep your house perfectly clean all the time so it is always ready for potential buyers to admire on a moment's notice.
-The viewer's realtor will call ahead and give you plenty of advance warning that they're coming so you can vacate the premises in a timely and relaxed manner.
-When they're done looking, the realtor will give you a call to let you know that you can go home.
In real life, though, we have ended up experiencing the following:
-We got locked out of our own house. This happened on our very first viewing. Luckily, Jeremy was able to break in through our sliding glass door. Now all the doors are labeled with helpful sticky notes telling people which doors they may and may not lock.
-The viewer's realtor forgot to call us to tell us when they left so we hung out around the corner awkwardly, in the blazing hot sun, longer than we needed to until we gathered the courage to look and see if their car was gone.
-We had to wake poor Magdalena up from a nap twice in one day.
Keeping the house mother-in-law-clean has been its own challenge, especially since Magdalena crawls now and likes leaving little messes in her wake. I do my best to have the house at most 15 minutes away from viewing-ready, hopefully less. It's sometimes a frantic 15 minutes, but it's doable.
Today we had an awkward adventure. A realtor called and said he'd come by with some potential buyers in 15-20 minutes. No problem! I did a sweep of the house - flushing toilets (Miriam has a weird aversion to flushing), wiping off counters, etc. Jeremy went into bathroom to take care of some business. I left Magdalena sleeping in her crib so that I could just grab her and go at the last moment to allow for nap maximization.
No more than seven minutes had passed when I looked out the window and saw the realtor pulling up next to our house. Yikes! Jeremy was still in the bathroom, Magdalena was fast asleep, Miriam was shoeless and, unbeknownst to me, had gone #2 in the toilet in the five minutes since I'd checked. And she hadn't flushed.
I yelled back to Jeremy that they were here, right NOW, and swept a startled Magdalena out of her crib. Jeremy finished up as fast as he could, Miriam threw on some flip-flops, and we were out the back door even as the realtor walked in the front. Phew!
As we went on a little walk, there was ample opportunity to panic. In our haste to leave the house, had we overlooked some essential tidying task? Specifically, I asked Jeremy if he had flushed the toilet and, horror of horrors, he couldn't remember. If there's anything more off-putting about a house to a potential buyer than a full toilet, I don't know what it is.
Jeremy did, however, flush Miriam's little toilet mess, which I had missed, so there was that consolation.
It was a tense moment when we got back home and checked the toilet. To our great relief, Jeremy had flushed it after all.
I hope we don't have any more close calls quite like that. These are the things realtors don't tell you about when they're prepping you to sell your home. But they should. They really, really should.