My husband got a job offer back in our hometown and we just couldn't pass up the opportunity. We've always had the eventual goal of moving back home, we just didn't know when the chance would arise. Well, as it turns out, the time is NOW. It's a happy/sad time as we are so excited to move near family and give Eli the chance to grow up right next to his grandparents (something I always wished for growing up in a military family). But, we have lived 3.5 years in our city (+ my years here in college) and have totally fallen in love with it and many people here.
I thought I would share with you some tips and ideas for moving and selling your home quickly and as painlessly as possible. (A totally pain free move is just not really possible, right?) I have included pictures of my home as they are right now, ready to sell. We are not living in our house right now (thanks to my super kind mother-in-law) so believe me, this is the only time this house has looked so clean since we've owned it. The aim is not to give you an unrealistic expectation of how your house should look on a daily basis, but how it should look when you are showing it to a prospective buyer.
So here are my tips and pictures of all our hard work!
1. Price your home right
Of course, you CAN price it $10,000 over market value and see if you get any nibbles. But if you need to move soon, it's not a good idea. Do some research (or let your realtor do some research) and price it at a point that will (hopefully) give you a profit, but will get people in the door instead of laughing at you in your front yard when they pull out your flyer from the "For Sale" sign box and see a ridiculous figure.
2. Before listing your home, get it ready
And I mean, ready ready. Like, I could show my house in the next half hour if I needed to. Don't list it and THEN try to get it ready because you will all of a sudden you will find 20 repairs that need to be done, realize cleaning your garage will take much more time than you thought, etc.
Make a list of repairs that need to be done around the home. If you or your husband are particularly handy, you can try doing them yourself. For us, we had about 2.5 weeks before we needed to get the house listed, so we hired someone to come in and do some painting, caulking, outdoor repairs, etc. Of course, it's not fun to spend a lot of money on repairs for a home you won't be living in anymore. But, if a potential buyer comes in a sees a home that needs lots of repairs right away, that's much less appealing.
Below are a bunch of pictures of our house staged. Consider this a home tour if any of you were ever wanting one! It's probably way more pictures of our house than you ever want to see, but keep going because I have more tips for you below the pictures.
Front entry. Red table shows how the foyer space can be utilized.
Dining room. Simple centerpiece and windows open!
Our living room. I had another chair in here and the two small chairs by the fireplace in our bedroom. By removing the big chair and replacing it with two smaller chairs, it really opened up the space and shows off the large living room.
Another view of the living and dining room.
Kitchen. Clear countertops helps the potential buyer see how much space there is rather than being distracted by clutter.
Our eat in kitchen. I set the table to add a little pizzazz. You don't have to do this.
The view from the hallway looking into the kitchen. The living room is on the other side of the left wall.
Eli's bedroom. I moved his crib out of here and it really made the space look bigger!
Front bedroom. The green chair is what I had in the living room. We originally had a bed in here but moved it out to make the room look airy.
Guest bath. Shower curtain closed, counter clear. (Sorry this one is a little blurry)
Laundry area. That door leads to the garage. We cleared off the top of the machines and vacuumed around them.
Our bedroom. We have a king sized bed, but we moved it out and put in this queen. This queen is what was in the front bedroom (the one with the green chair). Putting it in here looks neater and makes the room look bigger. I know I keep saying that, but it's SO important.
Our bathroom. Counter top is mostly clear. I put out a fresh bottle of soap so it looks fresh and clean. A bowl of cotton balls and fresh hand towels complete the look
Other view of our bathroom. Edge around tub is cleaned as well as the shower and windowsill. By the way I loved that glass block window. It let in so much beautiful morning light.
Our mostly empty closet. Obviously you can't get yours like this if you are living in the house while you sell it. If you have clothes in your closets, organize them by color or in some way that doesn't detract from the closet itself. Consider storing off season clothes. I had things sitting on that shelf but I cleared it off.
View from the master bedroom into the bathroom.
The backyard. Clean with a few plants. Grass mowed and a little table shows how it can be used as an outdoor entertaining space.
This is a rough estimate. We have the ability to live somewhere else while we are selling our home, so we removed about 1/3 of our belongings. The reason you want to do this is to make your home look more spacious (with the added bonus of getting rid of some junk you don't want to move), but you also want to give your potential buyers a chance to see the home furnished without being cluttered. You might need to borrow a friend's basement or rent a storage unit. This is money well spent because the better your home shows, the easier it is for people to envision themselves living there.
Here's a list of areas to declutter and organize:
- The kitchen: (you'll probably want to do this area last since you use it all the time). Pack up items you don't use all the time and make sure your cabinets and counters look decluttered. Pack up those mismatched plastic cups and get rid of old, expired spices. Clean out your pantry and throw away food that's expired or almost empty or you haven't used in months.
- The bathroom: Clear off countertops and declutter the cabinets under the sink.
- Closets: Pack up off season things. Pack up coats you don't use often, or if it's summer, pack them all up. If you have tons of clothes or your closets just look super crammed, pack up the opposite season's clothes. Pack up anything that makes closets look smaller. I keep all my Christmas decor in top of my closet and it is now hiding in a box somewhere.
- Kids room: Pack up clothes they don't fit in anymore (if you plan of having more children), and pack up toys they don't use very often. You could also pack up the toys in a box, and if the kids don't ever ask for them in the new house, just drop the box off at Goodwill
- Living room: Remove pictures of your family. People need to envision themselves in a home. If they see pictures of you, they feel like it's someone else's home, not potentially theirs.
- Dining room: Stage the kitchen like you were going to have dinner. Lay out nice placemats, plates, and silverware. Maybe a very simple centerpiece. Nothing crazy, it just makes a home look cozy.
- Your bedroom: Make the bedrooms look BIG. Remove extra furniture and junk off surfaces. Of course have your bed made up really nice and neat.
- Medicine cabinet: Get rid of expired or unnecessary prescription medicines and expired over the counter medicine.
4. Keep the blinds open
This will allow the most natural light to come through the house and look bright and airy.
5. Throw things away!
Leave sentimentality at the door. Get rid of things like old yearbooks, a random stack of magazines. If you haven't looked at it or used it in a year, you probably won't. And if you only use something every couple years, is it worth owning?
6. Hire a cleaning service
This may not be feasible for everyone. But at the very least, if you hire them once to really deep clean your home. You can do maintenance work after that. After packing and moving out a quarter of your stuff, you might not be in the mood or have the energy to scrub your bathtubs and clean your baseboards. Come to think of it, I'm never in the mood to do that...
7. Improve your front entrance
Get the lawn looking good, edge around the sidewalk. If it's winter, try to get some greenery for your bare pots and cut back any dead plants. A pretty, bright wreath and a clean front door makes a difference too!
8. If possible, move out while your home is on the market
Now, this one is definitely not possible for everyone. But if you have a kind relative or friend that will let you move in with them for a few weeks or months, it will be much easier to avoid having to keep the house clean and get it ready every time someone wants to come see it. Much less stress!
If you do move out, you might consider leaving your blinds open and keep a few lamps on timers. People love to snoop, so if they can take a peek in your windows at night and see what it looks like, it might entice someone to schedule a showing.
What advice do you have for selling your home?
Thanks for reading!