During the Spring of 2016, my life was consumed by getting our home ready to sell. I was purging, cleaning, mudding, sanding, painting and more. I was basically a contractor :). As I reached the deadline by which we needed put our house on the market, I was exhausted! (This house project stuff stuff isn’t for wimps! It’s hard work) Looking back on this experience caused me to realize there were a whole lotta things I would’ve done differently. Here are my top 9 tips you need to know and implement before selling your house (and things I wish I’d known when I started):
1. START EARLY
All those projects I’d been procrastinating from completing quickly became overwhelming. Don’t wait until a few months before selling your house to cross them off the list. Start as soon as you know you’re moving…Even better, start now!
2. MAKE A LIST
Divide your to-do list into three categories: must be done, should get done and would be nice if they were done. This will help you decide what items are most important; things that a potential buyer would notice and be pleased with or turned off by.
Grab yourself two boxes or bags; one labelled-Donate and the other- Trash. Go through each room and decide what you can part with. Be ruthless! Do you really need five winter coats? Seven black skirts? Keep one or two and get rid of the others. Purging will make it easier to see what needs to be done, and make your packing a million times easier. Less to pack=less work. Plus, who wants to move into a new house with a bunch of junk?
4. GET HELP
Call in all the favors from your family, friends, neighbors, church acquaintances, whatever. Trust me, you need it. There will be more to do than you think there is. Keep in mind that if you have a family with kids, you also need to be able to keep up with the normal things like laundry, cooking, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask! Most people are happy to help and will be glad you felt comfortable enough to ask.
Have a real estate agent that you trust, do a walk through and let you know what they think you need to fix up. Pick their brain as to what really matters when it comes to your project list. We were going to replace all of our carpet because it was old and there were some traffic patterns that couldn’t be removed with cleaning. However, when we had our agent walk through, she advised against it because the new owners would probably replace the carpet anyways and she didn’t think it was as bad as we thought. Professional advice is golden and can save you money!
This applies especially if you have rooms that are painted in a bold color or are outdated. I’m not saying you have to go completely neutral, like builders beige. Booorrring. Light to mid-tone blues, greens, grays and tans tend to be favorable to most. In our case, some of our rooms were painted by the previous owner in flat paint. Who does that? Even the slightest bump on the wall leaves a mark and can’t be cleaned off very well. Needless to say, we repainted these rooms. Oh, and if you do paint…please, please, learn from my mistake and buy more painting supplies than you think you need. I can’t even tell you how much money I spent on roller pads, paint brushes, frog tape and so on. I could saved myself time and money if I’d purchased the 8 pack of tape, the 3 pack of rollers, etc. You’ll probably use the leftover supplies at the new house.
7. PACK UP SOME OF YOUR THINGS
I know you’re going to pack, you’re moving! But I mean, pack up some of your things now that you don’t need until after you move. This helps your house look more spacious and less cluttered, which will be more visually appealing to your potential buyer. You want your home to look lived in and not like a museum, but if you have every closet, cupboard and drawer full of your things then the buyers are going to have a difficult time imagining how they can fit their things in those spaces. For example, I packed up my summer clothes, because I knew it wouldn’t be warm enough to wear them before we moved.
This next tip is the most important-don’t skip it!
8. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
You have a lot of work to do. You’ll be dead on your feet pretty fast if you don’t get enough sleep, drink lots of water, eat right and take your vitamins. Also, pace yourself and take breaks. You need to give your body a breather to recharge a few times a day. For your emotional health, make sure to do something that you enjoy so you don’t burn out. Get out of the house and go sit in the park, walk your dog or grab an ice cream with a friend. I think you’ll find when you return, you’ll be able to face your remaining projects with more energy and a fresh perspective. During all the house-selling prep, I took a break and went to the hot springs with my Mom. We relaxed in a 104F pool and boy, did I feel refreshed afterwards.
Though it was very challenging, getting ready to sell our house was a good experience for me. I’ve learned that I can do some things I never imagined I was capable of-like painting my ceiling on a 15 foot ladder (I have a fear of heights), or getting really good at caulking!
I hope you learned some things from my experience that will help you and wish you good luck in finding your dream home and selling your current one!
Do you have some great tips for selling your house that I haven’t mentioned? Share in the comments below! I’d love to hear them and bet there are others out there that would too!