Staging a Home to Sell, How About Finally Removing that Christmas Tree???

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate 0396717

Christmas tree removal"I will do it BEFORE I go back to school", my son promised as we looked at the once glittering tree lying forlornly in the yard. That conversation took place last December when (almost) everyone else in Austin was in the process of taking their tree to the Zilker Park recycling point under the Mopac Bridge and other places set up by the Parks Department to grind the trees into mulch. The conversation was repeated a couple of days before our son was scheduled to leave on January 9th and again I was told, "Don't worry about it, I have plenty of time and will take the tree to Zilker before I leave"! You already know where this is going and yes...our son made it back to school but the tree never made it to Zilker Park...

I mention this only because I am constantly asked by all of my sellers about the best way to get their home ready to sell. Besides pricing the home correctly from the start, de-cluttering and staging the home is of paramount importance. No matter what neighborhood or price range, clearing out and packing up items that will be moved or sold is the first step to making a home presentable. I give each seller a list of websites to access to get them started; this one is by no means comprehensive but a good place to start:

  1. Tree Removal 2Your moving so remove all personal items. Okay, besides that %#!*&% Christmas Tree, remove anything that you don't need or use on a regular basis. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine their own pictures and family mementos throughout the house. Allow them to see themselves living in your home...not you!
  2. Clean UP!! Do it yourself or hire a cleaning company to go over your house with a fine comb. Do everything that you've overlooked or put off. A cleaning service can do a complete make ready for you at a reasonable cost. I tell people that if they have not used something in the last year they probably don't need it anyway. Donate, sell or throw away anything you don't really need. Rent a storage unit for any items that will be moved to the next home
  3. Hire a handyman to make minor repairs, paint and do all of those things you've put off for years. Make minor repairs to each and every area that needs attention. Often this means repairing items that we let go and just "live with" over time. Noisy or stuck doors, holes in sheetrock, cracked windows, broken outlets and switches and a host of other "minor repairs that add up!
  4. Hire a professional home stager to come in and do a proper job of arranging the home for optimum presentation. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this aspect of getting a home ready to sell. A good Stager can do a very proficient job at a reasonable price depending on the size of the home and the level of work required. At the same time a seller is often more amenable to taking suggestions about removing "Aunt Ethel's horrible wall hanging" or handling other potentially delicate feelings about personal items in the home from a professional (other than you!).

I do not try and re-invent the wheel and point my sellers toward a number of online resources. Here are a few that I think are good:

realtor.com/Basics/Sell/PrepHome/GetReady

4siterealestate.com/gettingReadyToSell

realestateabc/homeselling/showing

homebuying.about.com

Tree Removal 3

In an effort to practice what I preach and as you can see from the pictures, we did finally get the tree to the recycling area and yes it was not until March 10th!!! I lashed the tree to the roof of his truck before I went to the airport to retrieve him for Spring Break. All the way to the airport, I kept getting shocked and amused stares from from drivers on the freeway. It was worth it when I saw the look of astonishment on my sons face as I picked him up from the terminal and it was too funny. I laughed out loud when I saw his incredulous look and unbelieving laughter as I drove up! I only wish I could have taken that picture! He was laughing the whole time to and from Zilker Park and we had quite a few folks gawking as we drove through traffic in HIS truck.

Now here is the really strange thing, when we dropped off the tree, we saw a half dozen other Christmas trees and a park employee informed us that there were at least a dozen more left over the weekend (one with the lights still attached)! My son looked at me and said, "See, we are not so different, lots of people wait to do this". "Yeah, right," I replied," I guess we are just doing our part to keep our beloved city "weird", and we both started laughing. It's good to have him home and I am now off to give some "De-Cluttering" advice to my new clients!  

 

Posted by

Russell Lewis Luxury Real Estate Broker Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

 

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Rainmaker
1,362,315
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

You might be a redneck if you just toss your old Christmas tree out into the bushes. (that's what we do)

Mar 23, 2009 10:52 AM #67
Rainmaker
4,053,008
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the great tips. It is almost April and there are stores that bring out Christmas stuff in July so some people may think why bother taking down holiday decorations.

Good post. I enjoyed reading it.

Mar 25, 2009 12:18 AM #68
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Lisa You are cracking me up!!! And yes you did say that out loud! Heck, our son comes by his procrastination honestly. My wife and I often put things off too (as she mentioned in her comment earlier) though I am probably the worst offender! LOL

Georgina Your comment made me laugh out loud! Yes, no matter what else have done or managed to accomplish, many of us in Texas still have a streak of "Redneck" Thanks for the chuckle and for stopping by!

Gita I know what yo mean, if it goes on sale in July, we might as well get an early start on the "season"! HA HA!

Mar 25, 2009 01:01 AM #69
Rainmaker
337,753
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Your son and I would get along just fine ;)

Mar 25, 2009 07:40 AM #70
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Paul I know that's right but if you saw my wife's earlier comment, he comes by it honestly! HA HA! I think we would all be a bit of mischievousness if we ever got together!

Mar 25, 2009 02:16 PM #71
Rainer
2,131
Mandy Andrews
Texas American Title Company - Austin, TX

I LOVE IT --- this is going to be a great story to share in the future. Even if your not sellering de-clutter makes you feel good.

Mar 26, 2009 03:27 AM #72
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Mandy, long time no see! thanks for stopping by. I have to say that getting the children to get on board to help out around the house is sort of universal! HA HA!

Mar 26, 2009 05:03 AM #73
Ambassador
556,418
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

We got back just a little while ago. I made one comment for twenty five points and solved my 666 dilemma. No way was I getting on Interstate 4 with my Blog on 666. It was too creepy, even for me :)

Thanks for the well wishes and thoughts. I'm gonna be okay. I can tell :)

TLW...ROAR!

Mar 29, 2009 10:27 AM #74
Rainer
292,051
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

You points are all great ones but what I really enjoyed was the photos!  Those are priceless:)

Mar 30, 2009 02:03 AM #75
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

TLW Well, alright now. It's a pleasure seeing you here! I  thought it was funny seeing your comment but then again, I have some of the same concern! Iam so glad you are going to be good because I have just barely started getting to know you!! 

Diane I was trying to figure out a way to mix something interesting with some real info that home owners could actually use! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mar 30, 2009 08:19 AM #76
Rainer
97,894
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

Russell, I loved your story and your sense of humor! I wish I could have see the look on your son's face at the airport!

Apr 01, 2009 08:09 AM #77
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Hi Lara Thank you very much for dropping by! I enjoyed pulling this stunt on our son and his shocked expression was very funny!

Apr 02, 2009 03:44 AM #78
Rainer
8,874
Jeannette Spinelli
Austin Portfolio Real Estate - Austin, TX

I enjoyed this and wondered when you planned to do something fun again? I look forward to something new soon!

Apr 03, 2009 09:05 AM #79
Rainer
6,162
Anne Giles
AvenueOne Properties, Inc. - Austin, TX

Oh Russell, this is the second time I've read this and it's even funnier now! I cannot help but think that you must have been somewhat like this your self at a younger age!

Apr 04, 2009 01:58 AM #80
Anonymous
Suzy

Russell, Russell, Russell! This is so funny and so you! I enjoyed the way that you actually give some great advice for getting a home ready while weaving in  the funny story! Great article!

Apr 04, 2009 02:31 AM #81
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Jeannette I have been too busy to post lately but plan to get several new ones in my blog soon! Thanks for your support!

Anne True, he comes by this behavior honestly and since you and I have boys near the same age i figure that we share the same trials at times!

Suzy Thanks again for dropping by and leaving a comment. I try to make my posts something a bit different now and then!

Apr 05, 2009 07:56 AM #82
Rainmaker
612,776
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS

Russell - at least a live tree has a lifespan. We have an artificial (skinny) Christmas tree that's stayed up for years. For the first couple years I fought my husband about it - for the last few, I haven't bothered.

Apr 07, 2009 12:19 PM #83
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Sharon, that is so doggone funny! I will have to pass the artificial tree info on to my wife. She keeps thinking we need one but there is a distinct possibility that, like your home. it could stay up for quite awhile! LOL!

Apr 08, 2009 12:25 AM #84
Ambassador
1,503,876
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com

UH YIKES!  Living where I live I just think "FIRE HAZARD" while reading that!  Buster's comment was funny ;)

Apr 12, 2009 05:49 AM #85
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Hi Renee, thanks for stopping by and yes, you and Buster have a lot in common in the sense of humor dept!

Apr 13, 2009 01:26 AM #86
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