In my last blog (click here to read), I listed the blessings we experienced in the midst of a world-wide crisis, including a job offer for my husband on the east coast. While this was great news, there were many challenges ahead: how were we going to sell our house and travel safely across the country in the midst of a deadly pandemic?
My husband’s new job offer afforded him the opportunity to start work remotely. It also started the clock ticking: he had to be on the east coast by mid-fall at the latest.
We put our house up for sale immediately. Despite the significant downturn in the real estate market for most of March to May, things had started ramping up as the pent-up demand for houses exploded.
We had already done a significant amount of downsizing, packing, and upgrading our house over the previous year and a half, so we were well situated to showcase our home to its best advantage.
Here are my top ten tips for preparing/staging your home to sell.
1. Start preparing your home well in advance of when you plan to sell.
2. Downsize and declutter. Give away, sell, or throw out what no longer serves your life. Pack away non-essentials. While you can leave a few decorative items on display for house showings, aim for as clean and sparse a look as possible.
3. Repair and upgrade. Go through your house room by room and assess what needs to be fixed or replaced to improve the functionality and/or beauty of your home. I highly recommend a fresh coat of paint throughout your home in the same, neutral colour. Keep in mind that whatever money you put into your home to upgrade it you will probably not get back in the price. But it is worth it to make your home sale worthy.
4. Clean, clean, and then clean some more. Do a deep clean of your entire house before you put your house up for sale. Hire a cleaner if you must. Be prepared to clean for at least an hour before each showing, focussing especially on the kitchen and bathrooms.
5. Replace, remove, or open all window coverings. Remove dated curtains or blinds; it’s better to have no window coverings than ones that take away from a pleasant appearance of your home. For those window coverings you keep, open them wide to let the light in.
6. Turn on ALL the lights in your house, including overheads, floor lamps, and table lamps. On the other hand, make sure all computer monitors and TVs are turned off.
7. Use as neutral a décor as possible. The idea is to help prospective buyers picture themselves living there. Remove all personal items, including framed photos, seasonal items, and anything that points to your political or religious beliefs. On the other hand, strategically placed bouquets of unscented flowers always perk up a room!
8. Use fresh linens on your beds and put out new/your best towels for your bathrooms. If you decide to buy new linens/towels, white is crisp and classic.
9. Focus your efforts on the master bedroom, bathrooms, kitchen, and living room. These are the places that are most important to prospective buyers.
10. Request and carefully note feedback from prospective buyers and take action as needed.
Because our house showing was done in the midst of a pandemic, our real estate agent put hand sanitizer and masks at our entrance, as well as a sign that reminded people not to touch anything—only the realtor.
Despite all our preparations and precautions, this turned out to be an incredibly stressful time for us complicated by an unexpected medical issue that almost took me to a breaking point.