You've decided to Sell your Home and move onto the next phase of your life, which can be both very exciting and overwhelming! Whether you're downsizing, moving across the Country, or maybe buying a bigger Home for a growing family, your current focus at the moment is what steps to take to get your Home ready for the Market.
I have moved a time or two in my life, and those moves that were unorganized drove me mad. So the last big move I made I devised a bit of a plan that seemed to work well. I was selling my beautiful Home that sat on ten acres of forested land. I had tractors, mowers, whipper snipers, fishing gear, boating gear, snowblowers, quads, safety equipment, gardening equipment, extra building supplies, stacks of firewood, and multiple chain saws. That was just outside. I was in my Martha Stewart phase as well, so I had enough place settings to accommodate a small army (or a very large family), every small appliance one could want, several full Living Rooms, lots of beds and bedding for each, and decorated in every nook and cranny. I didn't need help until the end, so my plan was a success.
Here are a few things to consider before you begin:
How much can you take with you? If you are downsizing you likely won't be able to fit what you have now into your new place. You will need to decide what is coming with you and what you will be selling, donating, or disposing of.
Where will you store the items you pack until moving day? Do you want to rent a moving bin that sits on your driveway or the street until you move, or do you have room in the Garage to store the boxes and bins? Are there any items that cannot be stored in the cold? Are there items that cannot tolerate high temperatures? What about any chemicals or hazardous materials that need to be addressed?
What will you store them in? Sometimes you can find boxes at a local grocery store or shop in the neighborhood but are often many different sizes and don't stack that well. U-haul sells boxes in a few different sizes and you can return the ones you don't need. Rubbermaid bins are excellent for items that you need to protect from moisture, small furry creatures, or to contain any potential leakage from damaging the items around it.
Are you going to be doing minor or major repairs? These can take time to get going, especially if you are hiring it out and need to have multiple quotes done. It's a good idea to begin organizing and preparing for repairs you need and/or want done earlier in the process, so you are ready to go with them when the area is cleared out and ready for work.
Here is an Overview of the Steps Involved in preparing your Home For Sale.
1 - Get rid of Bulky Items you Know you Are Not Keeping
2 - Get rid of Smaller Items you Know you Are Not Keeping
3 - Pack Items You Are Keeping but Don't Need for Everyday Living
4 - Decide on the Items you Aren't Sure About and Get Them Out of Your Way
5 - Pack up Memories and Collections
6 - Minor Repairs
7 - Major Repairs
8 - Cleaning
9 - Staging
Step One: Let's Start with the Bulky Items that Aren't Going With You.
Look Around the room you are sitting in. Is there a reasonable number of furniture items for that space? The Living Room, for instance. Is there a couch, a love seat, a couple of end tables and a coffee table? Or is there 2 couches, a love seat, a few chairs, three end tables, a coffee table, a bookshelf, and an old t.v. cabinet that holds candles? The goal here is to free up Square Footage and to do so, you'll need to pare down on the furniture pieces that aren't necessary. Focus on the furniture pieces in every room of your house that you know you won't be taking with you, and do this:
If they are broken and falling apart and fixing them to sell isn't an option, then take them to the dump [or call a company that will pick them up and dispose of them for you such as 1-800-Got-Junk?]
If they are in decent shape and you want to sell them, then put an ad up on Kijiji or Market Place so you can get them sold and out of your way. I find the best way to come up with an asking price for these items is to look at the asking price of similar items on Kijiji or Market Place. The price you paid for it originally or the fact that it's been "hardly worn" or "like brand new" won't get these items sold if they are priced to recover the initial cost. Price competitively and they should sell relatively quickly.
You can also choose to give some items away to a charity. You will feel great for helping out and whoever receives the items will appreciate them very much. Community Living, which can be found online by clicking this link Community Living receives donations via their yellow bins throughout the City. You can also call 1-877-477-2171 to schedule a pick-up with them. The Saskatoon Interval House and the Adelle House accept gently used items such as clothing for Women and Children and some household items. You can learn more about these two charities by clicking this link Saskatoon Interval House and Adelle House. If you would like to donate to either of these charities, they ask that you give them a call at 306-244-0185 for Interval House and 306-668-2761 for Adelle House to make arrangements.
Step Two: Now for the Smaller Items that Aren't going with you.
We will deal with the items you are not sure about, later down the line. Gather some boxes and start with one marked "giveaway" and another marked "trash". Go through your rooms, closets, and cupboards taking out the items you know you aren't keeping and put them in the corresponding box. Rinse and Repeat until you've packed up everything (or as much as you can get to) then load them up and get them out of the house.
Step 3: Next the Items you Are Keeping but Don't Need on Hand for Everyday Living.
Go through all of your rooms, closets, and cupboards to find all of the items you know there is absolutely no chance you will part with, but barely use. For instance: those 4 extra sets of bedding for each bed; the mountain of small appliances in the back of your cupboard that you used once and have forgotten you had; and the stacks of towels or the hoard of project supplies. Pack it all up, marking it all as you go, and store it in the method you've decided on and/or arranged.
Step 4: It's Time To Figure Out What to Do with the Maybe's.
You recall how we skipped over dealing with these items earlier? That was a tactic to save time then and get you well on your way, but now the time has come. So put on some great music, grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and start making some tough choices. With everything else out of the way and a fresh perspective of what you have and don't have from all the packing you've already done, this should make this a bit easier. Make three piles: a keep pile, a giveaway pile, and a toss pile. Start by cherry picking the stuff you can easily decide on and sort as you go. A good rule of thumb is if you haven't thought about it or used it in more than a year (on account of all four seasons) then it's a good candidate for one of these piles. Finish this step off by packing it all up and taking it to wherever it is going.
Step 5: A Difficult Step but Important to Take Good Care of the Memories.
By now your Home may feel less like your Home and more like a House. This is a good transition as the intensity of your emotional attachment to your Home can effect the decisions you will eventually need to make once it is ready for the Market. Taking this next step will help honor the time you have spent in your Home, help with the transition from Home to House, and eventually allow a Buyer the ability to envision themselves in the space.
It is time to pack all of your personal photos, memorabilia, collections, and nick knacks into boxes or bins for safekeeping until you have moved into your next Home. Once you have packed it all up, store it in the method you have decided on or arranged. You can leave artwork and any decor that is neutral and works well with/in the space.
Step 6: It's a Good Time to Get Those Minor Repairs Done.
Leaving this until now is just good sense. After all the packing, disposing of, and donating to a good cause your rooms will be easy to assess and work in. You will likely have holes in the walls from the personal items you've removed, the door knobs that are loose which you'd forgotten about, doors than don't close or open properly now that they have a full range of movement, dripping faucets, sticky drawers, hinges that squeak, floor tiles or flooring that's curled up, and that hole in the wall that was hidden by the dresser that was in front of it. These are easy and cheap repairs that can be a bit time consuming but worth every effort! A Buyer will be looking for signs that the House was kept in good repair, so don't let these small fixes derail a potential offer and a fair offer.
Step 7: A word of caution for the Major Repairs.
This is really a case by case basis as not all major repairs will have a good return on your investment. Other factors also play into the final decision such as if you are in a position to do the work yourself, know someone who will do the work giving you a friend and family discount, or you are able to purchase supplies at contractor prices. In some cases it may be best to disclose that the work needs to be done and price accordingly, where others will help sell your Home quicker and for a good return on the cost of the repair.
Step 8: It's time to Clean Everything.
Now that your rooms, closets, and cabinets are all a bit more spacious, cleaning will be so much easier. I recommend a methodical approach doing one room at a time, and working from the top down. While you are cleaning the light fixtures replace the burnt out bulbs, preferably with LED's. Wash the windows, if possible the blinds and/or curtains, and the bedding. Cloth tends to hold odors, so this will help the rooms smell fresh. Wipe down the inside of all closets and cabinets then organize what's left so Buyers will have a good idea of how much storage there is in the Home. Clean all of the fixtures in the bathrooms and be sure to clean the grouting as best you can. Wipe down the top of the kitchen cabinets as well as the interior of the cabinets and the door fronts. Buyers will check out the appliances so make sure they are sparkling clean, including the range hood. Wash all of the floors and when you have gone through the entire house and cleaned it from top to bottom, have the carpets done. Finally, find a subtle scent for your oil diffuser or some candles to ensure your home smells fresh and welcoming.
Step 9: Now the fun part, Staging your Home.
You've dealt with excess furniture and clutter, packed all of the items you intend to keep but don't use daily, done some repairs, and cleaned your entire Home. You are ready to set the stage for the Photo Shoot, so here are some ideas/suggestions for you. Try to avoid blocking windows with furniture or placing furniture in such a way that it blocks the natural flow of a room (sometimes it just can't be helped). Make up the beds with crisp white sheets and a complimentary color duvet. Hang some fresh white towels in the bathroom and put the makeup, toothbrushes, and miscellaneous small containers in a drawer or in a cabinet. Clear the kitchen counter of most everything, limiting the appliances to one or two. Put all your shoes on a shoe rack inside the closet so the entrance does not look cluttered. For your safety and security, find a spot to store your valuables. Last but not least call your fantastic Real Estate Agent to come and List Your Home!
Take a look around and enjoy the work you've accomplished! Interested Buyers will see the best this Home can be, and that was the whole reason for doing this in the first place.
You can also feel good that when you've closed on the Sale of your Home and are getting ready to move, you've already done so much of the work!
Signed Off in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan