When you live in a house for 30 years, you acquire lots of stuff.
The family treasures, pictures, the drapes you paid a small fortune for 20 years ago-all need to be sorted, saved, given away or thrown out.
You need a plan if you are going to sell your home.
My friend asked me to stop by her house today. She and her husband are downsizing and moving to a condo closer to shops and restaurants. Their 4 bedrooms, 3 story house is huge and filled with 30 years of family stuff. They are overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. I completely understand.
Several years ago, I cleaned out my mother's house since she was moving to an assisted living facility. The only way I got through the process was beginning with a plan of action. So here's what I did several years ago and what I shared with my friend today.
10 best tips for selling your home.
- Color Code all big items - buy a package of red, green, blue stickers at a store like Target or Staples. Put green stickers on the furniture and larger items you want to donate. The red stickers go on furniture you are keeping and blue stickers mean you will take it to the dump. This keeps you and your partner on the same page as to what is trash and what isn't!
- Buy large black plastic and clear plastic bags - the black plastic bags will be for trash and the clear for the items to be donated. Again, this is a way to stay organized since there will be lots of bags going to the dump and to Goodwill.
- Buy a long rope or painters tape - the rope or painters tape is used to section off parts of a large room. For example, when I cleared out my mother's house, one bedroom was packed with stuff. I used the painter's tape to section off parts of the room. I worked on one section at a time until the entire room was clear. It was a very efficient way to tackle a huge mess!
- Label a cardboard box "Treasures" - This box is where you place everything you find that has true sentimental value. Only you know what these items will be but I suggest you do not linger over the treasures. Put them in the box and look at them later, when you are not in the middle of clearing out the house. If your house is large, you will have several boxes labeled "treasures".
- Go room by room - The goal is to make progress and the only way to do it is one room at a time. The goal is; Keep, Toss & Giveaway. It's a simple mantra that will save you time. If you want to sell items on eBay or Craigslist, have an area in the home where you will gather everything that you plan to sell.
- Get estimates for painting and carpet installation - Neutral wall colors and clean carpets help sell your home quickly. Get estimates for both and decide what you can paint and what you can hire someone else to do!
- Have your HVAC, water heater, roof and gutters inspected and maintained - These big ticket items are the first things we check out for our buyers. If systems are not well maintained, they could be red flags during the home inspection. In some cases, it could keep a buyer from purchasing your home. Take care of all major issues because a good home inspector is going to find them anyway!
- Stage your home or at least clear out the excess furniture - To be honest, the expensive drapes a decorator hung 15 years ago need to go! A home buyer is going to see old curtains, not decorator drapes. If you are working with a listing agent, listen to your listing agent's advice! Chances are they've done this a few times and want your home to sell just as much as you do! As exclusive buyer agents, we really appreciate a well-staged home because it helps our buyers see the possibilities.
- Spruce up your yard - Cut away old limbs from trees and shrubs. If it's warm enough, plant flowers near the front walkway and put flowers and small plants in a planter on the porch. If you have a front porch bench, buy new pillows to brighten the area and maybe match the shutters or front door.
- Wash windows & clean your home - A clean house goes a long long way! It's a huge turn off for home buyers to see dirty bathrooms and kitchens.
I'm talking specifically about ground in dirt and not a few dirty dishes in a kitchen sink. Again, home buyers understand they are seeing someone's home so it's no surprise that there is evidence that they live there!
I hope our 10 Best Tips for Selling Your Home Helps!