You’ve decided to sell your home and the pressure is on. Where to start? What needs to be done? When will there be time to do everything? Here are some suggestions for making the process of selling and decluttering less daunting.
The sooner you start, the easier it will be when the pressure is really on once selling dates are locked in. The aim is to make the process as stress-free as possible while presenting your property at its best to the widest range of buyers. Ask your agent, or a colleague, someone who doesn’t know your house well, to look at it as a potential buyer and ask them what they think you need to do to present it in the best possible way. Ask for honest advice and suggestions, and try not to take it personally if you don’t agree with them.
Think about how potential buyers will see the house as soon as they arrive. What does it look like from the street, the path to the front door? Try to put yourself in their shoes. Now is the time to get all those jobs done that you haven’t quite got around to doing. Spot what needs doing before potential buyers do. Fix that leaking tap, chipped paint, mould, or broken hinge. Make a list of what has to be done.
Whether you’re a minimalist or hoarder or somewhere in between, the sooner you start decluttering the better. Decluttering before you move can save time and money and helps make it look great for selling. Be realistic about the kind of people you and your family are. If you’re not minimalists, accept and work with who you are. If you don’t have time to declutter fully before it goes on the market think about putting things in storage temporarily. You’ll do some decluttering in the process as a by-product, and it will be easier to keep the house tidy while it’s on the market. If you’re downsizing, decluttering is even more important. Focusing on what makes you happy and what to keep is easier than deciding what not to take. Do this in small chunks and focus on what you’ve achieved. Having an objective third party helps to focus on the decision-making process and is also useful to dispose of unwanted belongings.
First impressions for potential buyers start on the outside. What will their first impression be? Does the footpath need tidying, the fence and gate need repairing or painting, paths water blasted, garden tidied, windows, outside of the house, gutters, downpipes, garage, shed, roof washed? What needs cleaning, tidying, clearing, fixing, touching up? Do you know reliable tradespeople to do the work? Discuss with your agent what’s essential, what’s nice to do to appeal to buyers then decide what you can do with your time and budget and if it’s worthwhile getting outside help to do some of the jobs for you.
What will buyers see when then enter the house? Do the carpets and rugs need cleaning? Are windows sparkling? Are there scuff marks on the walls, doors, light switches, dusty light fittings, extractor and ceiling fans? What are the insides of the cupboards (especially the kitchen) and oven like? Get rid of any signs of mould or mildew even if it means resealing some areas of the bathroom and laundry. Would it help to get someone in to do a spring or open home clean?
Fix broken Items and missing finishes! Does the paint need touching up or wallpaper sticking down? Make sure drawers, cupboards, windows, doors open and close easily. Lights and all fixed appliances should all be in working order. Think about the wider audience and whether you should neutralise your colour scheme somewhat which may involve painting some walls. Think about hiring a stager who will use what you already own but enhance it by adding additional items and moving things around. A stager will help create spaces so buyers can see the potential for a house would meet their needs.
It’s worthwhile timewise and financially to get outside help to present your house in a manner that can get the best possible sale price. Spending a relatively small amount doing the right things could result in tens of thousands more to the actual sale price. Getting outside, expert help can also take a huge weight off your shoulders. Decide what you have time to do, how much you can afford and what you’d really rather not do or physically aren’t able to do. Free yourself up to do the things only you can do.
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