Here is very practical no-nonsense advice from a home stager. It's not potpourri that sells a home, it's targeted, laserlike attention to detail that does the trick.
Thinking of Selling Your Home? Plan Ahead - Way Ahead!
Getting your home ready to sell? The basic equation goes something like this: Time + Effort + Money = Ready to Sell. It's very easy to underestimate the time, effort and money it takes to get your house ready to sell. Stint on the time element here, and the others go up. What does this mean? If you don't have much time, you'll need more effort, so bringing in helpers will be required, which will likely cost more money.
One way to illustrate how much time, effort and money is required to handle the necessary tasks is to have you visualize the last time you packed away everything in a bookcase.
You got a couple of boxes, and starting unloading the bookcase. Got a couple more boxes, more unloading, repeat as necessary. Unless you're great at estimating these things, you probably needed about 4 times the number of boxes you initially thought you'd require (with added cost if you bought them) and it took quite a bit longer than you estimated, depending on the size of the bookcase. Or closet. Or dresser.
What's my point? Since most people don't move very frequently, there is a tendency to forget the incredible amount of work that goes into just packing up the house. To get a home ready for sale, you'll need to do a fair amount of pre-packing to simply declutter.
Then, when you take a good look around, or have a home stager do it for you, you'll find that you have a very long list of repairs and tasks to refresh the look of your home. Few people can devote all their time to doing this work. So, unless you can call in a crew of helpers, or you're willing to hire a stager to act in your stead with her crew, you'll need to plan ahead. Way ahead.
- A year ahead, determine the areas of your home that contain things you know you want to give away. Set aside several hours per week to purge those items, and get them right out of the house - give away useful items to charity, take broken and unusable items to the dump, etc. If you have a large amount of purging, you might want to get a dumpster, and set an absolute deadline for completion of this task.
- Six months ahead, make a master list of repairs and start tackling them every week. This is especially important if you have major outdoor repairs to your roof, siding, deck, or walkways. Remember that you'll probably need to hire people to do some or all of these repairs, and the good people are booked months in advance.
- Three months ahead, have a consultation with your agent and a home stager. Determine what needs to be painted, and make a plan for appropriate colors with your stager. Your stager can also give you a plan for which pieces of furniture and which accessories you should keep and which should either be put into storage or given away. Pre-packing begins in earnest here.
- One month ahead, there should be no more major repairs required. From here on, most work should be cosmetic. Your stager will help with every space, starting with your home's curb appeal.
- One week ahead, the final staging should be complete. Your home stager will provide a list of how to keep everything looking fresh. The agent's photographer should be booked, and your home photographed to show off its wonderful features on the MLS.
- The day of the open house, check that everything is clean and tidy. Lock up all valuables and prescriptions. Open the blinds and curtains to let in the light, and turn on lights in every room. Set the temperature to be comfortable for those coming to view your home. Take your family and pets away from the house for the day. Be available by cell phone so the agent can get in touch if necessary.
Benefits of a Longer Timeline
OK. Are you thinking this timeline is too long? Do you have a story to prove that you can do all of this in a much shorter time frame? I know it can be done; it just tends to be much more stressful and means late nights every night and working all weekend before getting back to "real work" on Monday morning.
Having a longer timeline means you really can sort out all that stuff you don't want to pack - and pay to move - only to stack it in the new garage or attic for sorting at a future time. Having more time means that you don't need to choose between spending time packing and fixing, or preparing that important presentation for work.
Getting things done way in advance means that you're not stuck having to pay for extra help at the last minute - or finding that even ready money can't hire anyone at the last minute, and you miss the opportunity to really showcase your home at the open house.
Very few of us live in an immaculate, minimalist home where preparing for a sale means arranging a few decorative objects. Planning ahead can save you money, stress, and time spent burning the midnight oil.
And it places your home ahead of the competition because it stands out from the crowd - inviting, organized, spacious, light - appealing to your buyers and bringing an offer sooner rather than later. Which is really the point of all this work, isn't it?
Thinking of Selling Your Home? Plan Ahead - Way Ahead!
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