By Caroline Bujold
You plan on moving, right? So start packing now.
In this post, I get right into tips and tricks to prepare your home in order to sell.
1. Declutter and repair
Take a good look around and finally get rid of the things that you don’t use anymore, that are broken or out-dated.
- Maybe you bought gym equipment a few years back thinking you were going to exercise at home, only to realize you really prefer going to classes at the gym – sell or donate it.
- Maybe you inherited furniture, dishes or a collection from family members – if you don’t absolutely love the items, LET THEM GO. Maybe another family member would be delighted to have them.
- Maybe you have electronics or small appliances you no longer use – donate or recycle them.
- Maybe your wardrobe needs a makeover – spend an afternoon slimming it down.
And please pay special attention to you closets and cupboards. Weather you like it or not, people will peek into them. So clear them out. Make them look like they still hold space for more stuff.
‘’Make space for WHITE SPACE! It’s the best move you’ll ever make’’
If anything is broken, make sure to repair or replace the item. This could be a door handle, a showerhead, a broken tile, etc.
2. Start packing
If there are items you don’t use everyday or every week, pack them and get them out of sight. This could be seasonal items, books, gym equipment, etc. And don’t forget to label your boxes and bins properly with a number (1, 2, 3, etc.), a short list of what is inside the box (seasonal linens, kid #1 toys, etc.), and the name of its future destination (living room, bedroom, etc.)
Make your house / condo / apartment go from cozy to spacious, by storing away extra furniture like side tables, extra chairs, kids playpen/park, tools, etc.
Store the boxes, bins and furniture neatly in your basement, storage locker or in family or friends basement if you must. This is temporary. But if you find yourself not missing the stored items, maybe it’s time to let them go.
If you are taking some fixtures with you, start taking them down and replacing them with neutral ones. If you are not taking them with you, be sure to note that they are included in the sale: this includes appliances, general fixtures, curtains, etc.
3. Depersonalize – Make your home look like a show home
I know it is kind of sad, but take family and travel photos down. Replace them with generic art. Images cut out of magazines can do the trick if you don’t want to invest.
Store away some of your books, magazines, all DVDs, travel tokens, decoration items and any objects that make your house / condo / apartment yours. Your space doesn’t have to be bare; it just needs to have less you in it.
Let me give you a few examples.
Numero uno – We have a collage of post cards in a big frame in our dinning room. It’s somewhat generic, but not neutral enough, since people might have an opinion about certain destinations. So I would simply go to Ikea and buy a simple poster I can use in the frame.
Numero doce – We use a lazy-suzan near the stove for oils, vinegars and other cooking ingredients. If we were selling our house, I would move those to a cupboard or the pantry. The same goes for the small appliances that usually sit on one of the counters. I would probably add fresh flowers and maybe a vase with limes and lemons to dress the empty counters.
The idea is to give your space a fresh neutral feel. Think hotel room or show home. If you need ideas, flip through decoration magazines or you could even find show homes in your neighbourhood and have a quick visit. Basically, future buyers need to be able to imagine their life in your space. Your style is your own and as much as you like it, not everyone who comes through your doors will love it as much as you do. Do yourself a favour and get over it and start neutralizing.
4. Beautify, deep clean and stage
If paint has been done more than 5 years ago, or if you have bold colours, it’s worth giving your walls a fresh, neutral coat of paint. Again, it’s not for you and you might miss your beautiful bright colours, but it’s only temporary.
Curb appeal is super important. You’d be surprised how many times I have turned around, without visiting, the last time I was looking for an apartment, simply because the outside of the building was giving me a funny feeling.
Small details can help:
- Repaint the front door;
- Add or replace your entrance carpet;
- Deep clean carpets.
Depending on the season:
- Clear out the snow and ice;
- Weed out your plant beds and mow the lawn;
- Clean the windows;
- Pick up leaves, etc.
And of course clean, clean, clean everywhere. Dirt can turn potential buyers away. Everything should be sparkling clean. Empty your garbage. Clean out fridge and get rid of odours for your Open House (click here for a good trick). If you are going to have plants, fruits and vegetables or products like soap, hand cream pump, etc., make sure they are fresh. Nobody wants to look at brown bananas or dried up soap bars.
Finally, stage your space for show and tell. Make your bed. Gender neutralize your master bedroom (not too girly, not too masculine). Style your dinning room table. Take that gym equipment away and stage your extra bedroom as a proper bedroom or an office, depending on the potential buyers you have identified in your area. Each room should present a specific purpose; even your backyard or tiny balcony.
If you’re lacking furniture, you can actually rent furniture from specialized companies. Search online to find them.
Finally, there are tones of articles online on this subject. A quick search should give you many inspirational tips.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Would you add anything? Have you ever had to sell a house or condo? What decluttering strategies did you adopt to make it happen?