Joan Roover, founder and owner, guest blogs about an important service offered.
The initial thoughts of selling your home and moving may occur to you years before you actually make the decision to move. For many it is a difficult decision. You may have spent decades in the home where you raised your children and have a special connection with your neighbors. It is hard to decide to move and to leave behind that special door in the guest room where you measured the growth of your children and then, perhaps, your grandchildren. For some the garden is hard to leave after spending years cultivating the beds and growing favorite flowers and herbs and vegetables. For many, it is their “stuff” that overwhelms them and for lack of knowing what to do with all their stuff, the decision to move is delayed.
However, once you get to “go”, the decision is undoubtedly the right thing to do. Whether the decision comes because you have become an empty nester and city life is beckoning to you, or whether the house is just too much to care for and you seek a simpler life, the first thing you need to do is to start at the beginning. You need to get the house ready to show to put it on the market. That’s Phase One of a three phase process. Phase Two is the move itself and Phase Three is closing on the house and preparing it for your buyer. In fact, you can start work on Phase One even before you actually make the final decision to move; you can start doing this while still in the move contemplation stage.
What does it mean to prepare the house to show? It means now is the time to look around with an outsider’s eye and really see all the years of accumulated stuff we all have in our homes. There is clutter and then there is CLUTTER. Your real estate broker will guide you about the specific areas you need to fix. Ideally, when you show a house, it is depersonalized to the extent that once your potential buyer looks at the photos on the web or comes to tour the house, that buyer is focused on the home itself, the flow of the house and imagining how they will live in the home. You do not want them distracted by looking at all your family photos, your collections of decorative items or the contents of your closets and cabinets.
Your basement and attic will be examined by the inspector after you accept a bona fide offer so they need to see the walls and the floor unencumbered by piles of your kids’ old artwork or college books, or your own books from college.
As move managers, we often receive referrals from real estate brokers asking us to assist their clients in getting their house ready to sell. We come in with a critical eye, seeing the things you no longer notice and develop a plan to meet the timeline to list the house. The benefit of working with professionals is we help keep you focused, you make the decisions and we implement. We have the resources to haul away that hazardous waste in the garage, we know how to sell those things that may be saleable today in this disposable economy and we start packing away those treasured collections and valuable items you know you want to move with you but not keep out for the showings. We help you sort, identify what you want to keep for you or your family, what is a reasonable donation and what to try to sell, and what to permanently retire to trash after a very useful purpose has been met. Then we implement those decisions.
When we say declutter that means to get rid of all the piles of paper wherever you accumulate your papers, declutter the piles on the floors in office and bedrooms, and neaten up your closets so they are not over-stuffed. Remember, your buyers will open all the closets and built-in cabinets and drawers to check for adequate storage. So you want them to think there is adequate storage for their own family.
All work you accomplish towards this goal is positive. In truth, downsizing might just be right-sizing for now.