Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Preparing a House to Sell

Sean and I are getting ready to list our Florida home again. The market here is beyond bad but we're pushing forward and determined to get it sold. Preparing a home to sell is a pretty big undertaking but I'm taking it bit by bit, and I'm finally starting to see some progress. The key is to not get too overwhelmed or over-think it. I'm doing it and if you have to move, you can do it too :)

Since the market here is flooded with beautiful homes priced to go, we are going to need to set ours apart somehow. Here is my plan for getting my home ready to sell.

Step 1: Remove about 70% of the excess stuff. 
I am tackling each room, each closet and every corner to pack up and organize anything that is making my home appear cluttered. I find that I naturally feel better when things are overly organized ~ almost to the point of being a little weird (watch "The Amandas"). My brain just works better when I open a closet and see all of my neat little labeled bins.
As I go through all of our things, I find it hard to believe the stuff I've moved from home to home only to realize I've really never used or enjoyed it. Time to part with those things. So I'm donating some things, and I'm piling everything else in my dining room for one MASSIVE garage sale. Hopefully, someone else can use it. The things that I'm keeping, I'm clearly labeling and boxing up and taking to a storage unit. Seems extreme to rent a storage unit to prepare to move, but it serves two purposes: my house will appear less cluttered, and many of my things are already packed and ready for our new home. I have color coded each box so that when I move, I'll lightly tape a matching color of construction paper to the wall of the destination room and we'll know exactly where everything goes (see above pic). Don't get overwhelmed here or too frozen in what to do with each item. Get all of  your boxes and packing tape ready, give yourself an hour and tackle that closet or at the very least, that shelf!

Step 2: Renovate anything that is in need of updating. 
This is a little sad. We're finally doing some of the projects we should have done long ago and then we would have actually lived in the home to enjoy it. But we do need to do it now in order to attract buyers and compete with newer homes on the market. One thing we're doing is finally getting granite counter tops. We're painting bathroom cabinets and painting over the dragon Ryan drew on his wall (he's actually a four year-old muralist).

Step 3: Become a "nobody" or de-personalize my home. 
So I've read that no one wants to see my adorable kids' photos plastered all over the walls. Well, it makes perfect sense ~ they can't picture their treasures in your home if it appears it's strictly "YOUR" home. I'm going to put away the ceramic baby footprint coasters I love and the sea of refrigerator art (though I'm pretty sure buyer's would love it too).

Step 4: Clean like my life depends on it. 
Kids have a way of making an impossible mess, but I'm going to fight the good fight because everyone likes things clean and shiny. Ironically, this actually includes my messy kids. This is where Step 1, removing 70% of my stuff is going to be a HUGE benefit. It's so much easier to keep things clean when there's less of it to clean and less of it to clean around. Everything must be spotless, including bathroom drawers and refrigerator drawers. Buyers look everywhere and they want to know the previous owner of the home was a good caretaker and had pride of ownership. Buyers are really picky so give them less to pick about.

So this is where I am right now:  cleaning, donating, organizing, packing. I'm just doing it and not thinking about it!


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