Part 2: How to effectively declutter and present your home
There’s no doubt I’m guilty of hanging onto things, from souvenirs I pick up on trips to that old comfy chair that’s seen better days.
If you’re anything like me you know you just can’t part with these things, even when it’s time to move on.
That’s why now is the right time to start doing some decluttering and getting your home ready to sell.
If you’re about to put your home on the market you don’t exactly need potential buyers to see “your” home. Instead, you want them to be able to visualise how the home can work for them.
Where do I start?
Walk through your home room by room. Then, start dividing up the items in three ways:
- Trash, sell or give away
Luckily, it’s never been easier when it comes to finding a storage solution. I’ve discovered there are plenty of temporary options available that not only allow you to hang on to all of your favourite things, but also declutter your home enough that potential buyers can get a real look at what your old home has to offer.
PODS containers are great for storing items you don’t necessarily need on a daily basis but aren’t yet ready to move to your new home. There are all kinds of sizes available too, no matter how much you need to store.
Here are a few items I’ve found are a good idea to remove if you’re trying to sell a home:
- Small appliances taking up room on countertops
- Stacks of magazines/books
- Heavy draperies
- Throw rugs
- Excessive toys
- Off-season clothing
- Personal photos
Basically, look all around your house and look for places that just look cluttered. You want your kitchen and bathroom countertops to look spacious, not full of stuff, and you want your closets organised and tidy.
Keep in mind that a room full of furniture can also make a space appear smaller, so check for bulky furniture that you can move out.
It’s fine to leave up some décor, your house would probably look a little strange without it, but you want to make sure it adds something to a room, rather than takes away from the possibilities.
That brings us to the next step in the process:
I’m moving! Do I really have to make improvements to my old house now?
I know what you’re saying. It’s hard to want to put money into a home you are selling.
Consider, though, that making some small improvements could actually make your home more attractive, thereby making it more likely that you get a quick offer, and one that you’ll want to accept.
You’ll likely find plenty of advice on where to spend money on renovations.
However, I’ve come up with a few quick fixes that could add value to your old home, with a limited budget in mind.
It never hurts to add a touch of paint, especially to highly travelled areas of your home. While painting an entire house is expensive, instead focus on corners and other common areas that may be marked up, plus on repatching holes and repainting where you’ve taken down décor.
You can also freshen up the outside just by painting the front door. Don’t go too crazy on colour, though. You definitely don’t want to turn off a buyer before they’ve even made it up the front steps.
Try replacing some of your old faucets, cabinet pulls and even lighting with more modern designs.
Items such as these can really date a home. That’s why spending just a little money upfront can sometimes give an old home the facelift it needs.
Another suggestion is to supplement storage in your home, especially if it’s an older home without a lot of dedicated space. Try to get a handle on organising closets and cabinets.
While creating “more” space will cost you a little, this allows you to better maximise the space you already have; giving buyers the illusion there’s more to work with.
This ties into what I mentioned earlier. You can make rooms in your old home look and feel larger simply by getting rid of some of the stuff that’s filling them up.
A room with less furniture not only feels larger but also appears more welcoming and less distracting to potential buyers.
Don’t forget the outside!
Don’t overlook the outside of your home, either. Just like the fresh coat of paint on the front door it’s also a good idea to make sure your old home has the curb appeal a new buyer desires.
There are plenty of great ideas out there, but here are some of my favourites that won’t break the bank:
- Trim the grass & landscaping
- Add a bright new welcome mat
- Add pots of colourful flowers/plants
- Give front steps/porch a good pressure washing
Now that you’ve decluttered your home and spruced it up, it’s time to prepare for that open house.
By now you know that your home needs to be clean, but remember that you can’t just throw things in the closet or in the back room during an open house because buyers are sure to open up those doors and take a peek inside.
There are all kinds of things that can turn off a buyer and you don’t want to fall into the trap.
With that in mind, make sure your home is spotless.
- Make the beds
- Take out the trash
- Don’t leave animals
In other words, make your home presentable.
Of course there’s no doubt that even if you do all of these things, selling a home can still be stressful.
It’s common to worry about getting the “right” buyer and getting the “right” price.
Because you own the home right now you’re invested in it. It’s not uncommon for a seller to see a home as more valuable than it is because you know what you’ve already put into it, whereas a buyer may only be trying to get a good deal.
That’s why if your home is priced right you’re already on the right track. It also helps to stay flexible and not come up with unattainable goals.
Keep in mind that most homes don’t sell in a day.
If the housing market tells us anything it’s that you could be waiting for less than a month or it could take more like two or three months, depending on where your home is and what you’re asking.
As long as it’s being marketed, it’s well priced and it’s in a desirable location it WILL sell.
With that in mind,
- Keep in constant contact with your real estate agent.
- Try not to get too discouraged if there aren’t immediate offers.
My best advice is to stay tough. Buying and selling property can be draining, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience on your side. That’s where the advice of a professional can help calm some of your fears.
Hire a trusty agent that can help lead you through the process so you don’t become discouraged. After all, the game of selling property is one that you can win, with a little help.
With that said, my best advice is to put in some effort to make sure you do.
It can’t be said enough; declutter your home.
Move out extra furniture, some of your personal décor and non-essentials to make room for buyers to enjoy the space.
Also, use the time before you put up the “for sale” sign to make last minute repairs and renovations.
- Grab a can of paint
- Perhaps, plant some flowers
- Do your best to keep a tidy home
It’s important too to not get discouraged. You need to keep your head in the game because the right buyer will come along. And when they do, you’ll be ready.
This post is part 2 of a 3 part series. Read the rest of the series: