Let’s talk about our homes. If you could describe what your home looks like right this very second, what would you say? Most of you are probably thinking, “Oh lord…please don’t make me say it”. I’m with ya, sister! It is a MESS and it’s ok. Your home is for free expression…not first impressions. It’s your safe place. The one place you can be truly you and express yourself without any judgement at all. Your own, tiny, personal world where you can let loose and go crazy. I’m all for it! But what happens when you’re ready to sell? Now we have to flip the switch and we prepare to allow the rest of the world to come inside and judge our beloved safe haven. It is a hard process. Not only do you have to put some serious physical labor hours into preparing your home, but you also have to jump some hurdles that may be pretty mentally and emotionally tough. Here are the 4 D’s to prepping yourself and your home for that “For Sale” sign to go out front.
Declutter – It’s not enough to clean. You have to declutter! And I mean BIG TIME. You may think that you are a super tidy person and your home is always looking gorgeous but when prepping your home for sale, there is so much more you need to do. First of all, I need to be able to see whether or not you have baseboards. I’m not even joking. Get everything that isn’t necessary out. Make room in the attic or the garage. Just get it out. Same goes for the closets. Closets are important. They can make or break a sale and having them packed full of things only makes them look smaller. Throw the Christmas tree and the golf clubs your husband never uses in the attic and get them out of the way. Get some under the bed storage boxes and put all the clothes and shoes that are out of season in those. Your closets look tiny when they are crammed with everything you own. So, get creative and find some storage space where you can stash away the things you don’t need. I am now going to tell you to do the same thing in the kitchen…. before you start in with excuses on how you use every single thing in your kitchen and there’s no way you can box up and store even one single item, answer these questions: What is the ratio of Joes cups to household members? Let me guess.. 35 to 2? How many times have you used that fancy china set you got for your wedding? Does that quesadilla maker even work? You can do this, guys! I know it’s emotional, but I promise you won’t have to be without them for too long.
Depersonalize – When a buyer walks in and sees family pictures all over the walls, they picture you in the home. This is a problem because we want them to picture themselves in your home. We want them to picture themselves cooking in the kitchen, playing in the yard, and having movie night in the living room. When they see your super awesome pictures that you don’t want to take down because you forked over boat loads of money for them and you just want to show them off, all they picture is you. It just shows them that this home is your home. Not their potential future home. Take down all the pictures and if you absolutely must, put them in a scrapbook and keep them by your bedside to cuddle with at night. Box up the picture frames and patch the holes on the walls. Regular art is just fine. You can leave that up to show people your mad decorating skills.
Deodorize – I am a huge dog person. I will choose my dogs over anything and anyone all day, every day. But, let’s get real, they stink! Your cats… they bathe themselves with their tongues… GROSS! There are a number of other things that can stink up your house and sink into your carpet, curtains, and furniture too. So, whether you have pets or not, it’s time to deodorize. Take the curtains down and throw them in the wash. Break out the vacuum and hit all the ceiling fans, furniture, and floors. Go borrow or rent someone’s carpet shampooer and hit those carpets as many times as you need to. Get feedback from a friend on how it smells. We all get so used to our own homes that we can’t smell the yucky smells anymore. I don’t suggest putting candles everywhere. They don’t get rid of the smell, they only temporarily mask it and you can’t leave them burning all day while you’re gone. If you use plug ins or warmers to scent up your house that is just fine. Just be mindful when choosing a scent. There are so many allergies and opinions out there that you are sure to upset someone’s sensitive nostrils with whatever scent you choose. Try to pick a neutral, popular scent even though you think it’s super boring and so over rated!
Detach – Here comes the hard part. Now that your home is physically ready to be put on the market in all its glorious sexiness, you need to get yourself in the right state of mind. This is your home. You’ve lived here. You’ve grown here. You’ve hosted here. You’ve hidden here. You have so so many memories and this home is your baby. Your common denominator. It’s always been here for you. But, it’s time for you to move on. It’s going to be so hard for you to say goodbye but you need to do it now, before you put it up for sale. Detach yourself from this house and get yourself into a business mindset. “This is business, not personal.” Repeat this phrase until you believe it or this process is going to be the most emotionally traumatizing experience for you. As a realtor, it is my job to give you the feedback I get from showing your home so that you can fix the problem, because I am looking out for what you want. Which, you told me, is to sell your home. If you aren’t in that mindset and I come tell you that some potential buyers said your home smells like a litter box full of roadkill, we are going to have some major problems. Next thing I know, I’ll have another set of buyers peering into the pantry and criticizing your food choices, and here you come, flying out of your super-secret surveillance room getting in their face like, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH!” There’s no point. It’s just not good for anyone. Especially when I’m trying to negotiate a great deal for you and you’re getting upset that the bathroom backsplash that you did by hand isn’t worth $30 grand. You need to detach yourself from the home. Close this chapter and start day dreaming about the next so that we can get through the transaction without any major emotional breakdowns.
I wish you all the best of luck in prepping your home for sale. I’m here if you need me!
Woman Hugging Doll House — Image by © Betsie van der Meer/Corbis
Published by Kearsten Meads