Welcome to the fourth of ten* home selling pointers given from the perspective of a frazzled first time home seller. In today’s post, I thought we’d talk about something a little more mundane: home staging.
Tip #7: Start packing your personal affects and bulky, room cluttering piece before your open house.
This tip serves a number of ends. One of those is that it will start you on the long, necessary road of detaching yourself emotionally from the property. Don’t think you need what could amount to months of runway time to prepare for leaving? Unless the place your trying to sell has absolutely no meaning for you then this is only the beginning of one of the biggest emotional roller coasters you’ll ever get onto. I’d expect home flippers or folks not living in the property their trying to sell off to fall onto the “don’t care” side of the line and actually mean it. For the rest of you, well, even if you’ve been climbing at the walls trying to leave for years a part of you is probably still sad to see the place go. Start the grieving now and get a jump start on packing now!
Then there’s the real reason your doing this. You’re preparing the house for a successful open house and saving yourself the cash you’d spend hiring a pro to do it for you. What’s the goal though? Well, simply put you want your house to look like someone lives there, just not you, or anyone else. You’re selling a lifestyle, a representation of what it could be like to live in your house. Think of it this way: Your house is going on a hot date – make it look stunning.
But what should you get rid of? If you find yourself needing a list, here would be my recommendations:
- Any pictures featuring you, your family, friends, people, or pets. You’ll want to include religious or political figures in here as well.
- Any religious artifacts need to come down too. You never know who you’re going to offend, and unless you’re willing to limit your sales to only one particular group of believers this stuff needs to go in boxes too.
- Clean off the refrigerator. Magnets, pictures, appointment cards, children’s art, the list goes on and it’s all super personal in nature. Take it down! Besides, a clean fridge does wonders for making the kitchen look less cluttered.
- Anything, and I seriously mean ANYTHING, that clutters up a space. Cull down that bookshelf so there’s room for a decor item or two. Have a few pieces of exercise equipment in the basement? Store what you can out of sight! Bulky ottoman in the living room? Store that away too. Trust me, you can live without it for a few weeks or months.
- The liquor cabinet needs to go. I know – this made me sad too, but they really just look cluttered and it also falls close to the religious artifacts category. Not everyone drinks and some people even have problems with it – so banish it to a full faced cabinet if you must but make it disappear!
- Trash. Well this one should be obvious, but before your open house empty all the trash barrels and replace with new linings. Hide the outdoor barrels too if you can, along with any outdoor ashtrays. These things are gross and no body wants to see them.
- Pet items. All of them! Water bowl, kennel, blanket, bed, toys – move it all into your car if you have to. Just get it out of the house on or before your open house date.
- Anything you think has value should be packed up now or locked away in a safe. Don’t forget to consider passports, check books and small but expensive knickknacks when your packing up those boxes.
- Lastly – not to repeat tip #9 but it’s important! – make sure that anything you don’t want to sell with the house isn’t there when you begin to show it to people. Don’t want to include the chandelier? Get it replaced now! Same goes for the dishwasher, your curtains and the Viking stove you might be bringing with you.
So where are you supposed to put this stuff once it’s out of your house? That’s mostly up to you of course, but I’d recommend one of two places if you don’t have access to your new home yet: 1) A place in your home where it won’t impede someone from looking around like an attic space or outdoor shed. Anywhere else and you run the risk of looking like an unintentional hoarder with boxes stacking to the ceiling of one tiny little room (that you’re only making look tinier with all the stacking) or, my preference, 2) A storage unit. It gets your stuff off the property and makes you feel like your actually starting to move out.
Which is the whole point here, isn’t it?
*Today I realized that the number scheme as applied is confusing. Counting up in the welcome message and down in the fact title… what was I thinking? Anyway – I’m not going to fix it now. Maybe once all ten are up I’ll go back and edit for consistency? Or, you know, maybe I’ll just ignore it? Not that I’m any good at that. I guess we’ll see.