Jimmy and I thought we had the house we would stay in forever. But life changes, Mom needs to move in, and we must sell and buy a different type of house to accommodate our new needs. So we are preparing the current house for sale, and I find myself having to take my own advice in staging and preparation. I know that my house is a hot commodity due to location, setting, and upgrades, but I want it to be as competitive as possible, so we are decluttering and staging.
The house is only 1500 sqf with no basement or attic, so how do we have so much stuff - especially since I consider us on the "minimalist" side of the scale!? In an effort to make the house as tidy as possible, we have rented a mid-sized storage unit nearby. And we have filled it up! Granted, things could be stacked higher, but wow, where did all that stuff come from?
Here is what we have done:
1. Removed excess furniture. The house wasn't over-crowded, but the goal in staging a house is for it to look like the ideal - the model home. None of us really live that way, but that is how a house should be shown. It enables prospective buyers to look past your furniture and stuff and see the potential for them of living in the house. You don't want an empty house as most folks can't imagine it furnished, but rather you want just enough furniture to show how great the space is but to allow the buyer to see themselves and their stuff there. We took out some over-sized bookcases - and all the books :( Then we removed an extra table and chairs that remained after we bough a new dining table - no one really needs two dining tables and chairs! The extra chest of drawers that blocked a window is gone. And we removed my grandmother's dressing table and secretary which serve no real purpose other than that I am sentimental about them. Now all the rooms look more spacious!
2. Organized and cleaned-out pantry and cabinets. So, if you have a food product that you moved from your last house, and it expired in 2009, you probably are never going to use it. Lots of things left the pantry for the garbage or the crisis ministry (if still good). Extra "party" plates and serving pieces were packed-up. We have a lot of this type of stuff that is rarely used and most people don't have, so I removed it to show that there is really plenty of storage space in the kitchen!
3. Linen closets and bath cabinets. Same thing as the kitchen. All the extra/expired stuff is gone!
4. What we should still do! There are some minor cosmetics that could be better, and we may get them done before listing it (especially if we get snowed-in this weekend). I tell my sellers that I am going to tell them the ideal is that they should do to get the house ready. But I realize that most people can't do everything, so I will priortize for them what is most important. I have done the same thing with our house. I feel confident that the many, many pluses overwhelm these small cosmetic fixes.
If it were summer, we would also make sure the grass is kept mowed and the yard tidy, but winter saves us some outside work.
I have always said that real estate agents should have to buy and sell every 5-10 years just to remind us what we ask our clients to go through to maximize for a quick sale and highest price. I moved last in 2009, so I guess I am due for my reminder!