I could go on and on about our current market and why it is a great time to sell or buy and all the low rates and options that lenders are giving. I can do this anytime, just call me. However, today I want to tell you that I understand the “YOU”, the human being person that is about the jump in the journey of selling your house because I’ve done it! In the last 25 years, I moved 12 times including 1 interstate, 2 inter-province back in Argentina and one international experience. I went through 5 closings and several rentals, you do the math. I packed as single, married, with two toddlers and later two youths. Plus, being an only child, I fully experienced by myself emptying my parent’s house and selling it (I’ll share this experience in another post).
Where to start?
In spite of all the de-cluttering, packing, and staging experience accumulated over the years, each time is a roller coaster of emotions, so I make sure to start saying good bye to those walls from the moment that I conceive the idea of moving out, so I will be ready to see just the house and not the priceless jewelry box that protects my most treasured memories. Once I learned this lesson, I was better able to project myself and my family into the houses that I saw and to choose better. It also helped me to be strong and realistic at the moment of negotiating.
I believe that de-cluttering is a fantastic exercise to cut the emotional ties and certainly helps the selling process. It also has the additional benefit that I won’t pay for moving stuff that I don’t want or need. I start readying my house for its sale by looking into the contents of the closets. If I haven’t use an object for more than 2 years, I know that for me it is time to let the it go; besides, the extra closet space will become handy to store away daily things to prep it in a pinch of time for a showing. De-cluttering is time-consuming and what a better opportunity to do it than when it is too cold, rainy or just not nice outside? I play music or a nice audio-book and I make of this a great time. When my boys were little, I use their nap time, their playtime or I made sure to have some extra boxes. I have great memories letting them box in and out whatever toy they wanted. This also helped them to participate in the process and get used to the idea that they will have a new house. Besides kids LOVE boxes!!!
Once the first round of de-cluttering took place, and those extra items were delivered to Goodwill, garage-sold, or gave away, I start with the packing process. I will share my experience about packing in another post, but I’ll share my approach here.
First of all, decide where you will store those boxes. All potential buyers will relate with your packing; however, you will want to still be able walk around. If you don’t have extra space, packing can wait until you have sold your house. If, for example, you have a basement to store items during the selling of your house, be sure to leave a path for walking around and seeing those basement walls. If not, it may raise the question if there is something behind those boxes that you don’t want others to see.
You may be tempted to rent storage but, be honest to yourself. Will you absolutely use that item? We wasted many hundreds of dollar keeping out of the way big items and objects that never made it to our new house just because I thought them a keeper and then, once we found the house, it would not match style, space, colors, etc.…
All owners ask me about this at some point. In my opinion, staging is somewhat new and is not fully embraced in our market. Staging will help your house to be more desirable. Does it need to be done by a professional stager? If you have the extra money, go ahead. If not, be proactive and keep in mind the advice that so many people share on social media. Family photos?, put them away to help prospective buyers project themselves and their family into your house. Toys? No problem! By now, you should have enough space to store them neatly away (cardboard boxes wrapped in gift paper make a neat tote inside a closet). Bathrooms and kitchens? the magic word is CLEAN, and I mean it! If you were able to declutter cabinets, then you can clear counters by storing in the extra cabinet space that you emptied before. At a minimum, beds made, no dirty dishes in the kitchen, table clear, bathrooms without personal toiletries around, and either fresh towels or no towels at all.
The spirit of the process
After de-cluttering and packing you’ll find that your house has much more room. I’d like to think that I am preparing the house for the most important time in its life, so I try to make it welcoming. I walk around asking myself, what else can I do to make it more appealing (without spending money or going insane in the process). I used countless boxes of Magic Erasers and I always felt sadness when I was cleaning away from the walls those beautiful little handprints or art expressions that my boys made! (I will get into deep cleaning in another post).
The extent of your work will be defined by how much extra time and effort you can devote to the task, the house and your personal situation. My take is make it simple and the least expensive. Above all, keep in mind that eventually all houses sell and these ideas are based on my personal experience.
Call me and we can continue talking about this topic, the market, what type of house are you thinking to move into, what is the buying process or to put your house on the market. I’m here to help you!