You’re about to put your house on the market! When that for-sale sign goes on the front lawn, dozen of eager real estate agents and many potential buyers will come through your front door and into every room of your house. You’ll have strangers combing through every nook and cranny of your house—and your life that you live there. Selling your home is such a big financial undertaking that you want to give your home the best opportunity to sell for the highest price—but you still have to live there. Is there a way to honour both? Of course! Follow these key survival steps:
Start packing now: as of this moment, you may only have 90 to 120 days until sale day and that moving truck arrives—or less! So keep in mind that you’re not going to need many of the extra space gobbling items that are currently filling your rooms and closets over the next few months. The secret of getting a house clutter-free is to remove the things you can live without while your home is on the market. That’s the mindset you’ll have to have as you go through each room and closet.
Save it, store it, sell it, chuck it or donate it!: clutter eats equity and kills deals. The concept of less is more—clutter removal and the creation of space—is at the heart of preparing to sell a home, because space is an extremely precious commodity. Having a little extra room and a sense of expansiveness in your home feels luxurious, rich, calming and uplifting. A potential buyer will naturally be drawn to and pay more for a home that feels like it has extra space than one chock full to the ceiling with stuff. It’s an essential step in preparing your home for an upcoming move.
Get squeaky clean: of course your house not only has to look good and be clutter-free, but it needs to be spotless. Clean up the cobwebs, grime, rust, mildew and stains. The windows, glass and mirrors must sparkle. The sinks and toilets should look five-star hotel perfect.
Maintain your privacy and safety: believe it or not, people will look through your drawers, closets and medicine cabinets at an open house or showings. Make sure your listing agent is clear to other agents that they should always be accompanying their prospective buyers. Also, don’t keep anything in the house that you don’t want anyone else to see. That includes valuables and personal documents. Never leave mail sitting around. Lock up all checks, credit cards or any other information that would be of use to an unscrupulous ‘home buyer’. Lock up or remove all prescription medication bottles. Be sure to enable passwords on your in-home computers and laptops. Be extra cautious about anything of monetary or sentimental value. When in doubt, put it away and lock it up.
Prep like a pro: when you are living in the house, you need to be prepared to ‘show prep’ your house for each showing. Even though the real estate agent your working with is fantastic, they are busy and they often arrive the same time as the potential buyers. They may not have the opportunity or time to prep the house. When potential buyers arrive, you must have your house prepared. Every light should be set perfectly, the music softly playing, the fireplace going if it’s cold, the doors and windows open if the weather permits, and the temperature exactly right. Remember you want your house to be seen at its very, very best.
Get it ready and get out: once you have gone through the checklist of everything that needs to be done before each showing and the house is ready for its close up, get out! You want the potential buyers to feel that this is their beautiful house. After you have worked so hard to control every aspect of their experience, don’t ruin it by staying around. You’ll spoil the fantasy—and the sale. And every real estate agent will tell you, the worst thing a seller can do is hover around prospective buyers and their agents. They need the ability to speak openly and candidly to both your agents and the buyers.
Final panic: ‘I Can’t Live Like This!'—Yes You Can: you’ll wonder, ‘how can I keep the house this perfect or this clean forever…and where are my things?’ Well, don’t worry! If you truly dress your house up for sale, it’s going to sell right away and you’ll be moving soon. Since your things are packed, well-organized, and edited down to what is essential it’s because you purged your closets and cleaned out the garage, moving will be easy. You’ll be shocked at how little you actually need for the time your home is on the market.
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