If you have a property you are ready to put on the market, you know that there are going to be some things you are going to need to do, to get your home ready for market.
When we complete our Home Ready Consultation with you, we know all to well that our clients can often feel overwhelmed after being handed the list of recommendations on their property report. So, to relive some of that overwhelm, we have prepared this guide to breaking down the enormous mountain that looms overhead.
We have created a Priority List of how to begin the process, as well as some valuable suggestions on how to manage the challenge.
First, notice I said Mountain – the first thing that we all do, is look at the entire picture and this is where we become overwhelmed. What we need to do is break it all down, and then prioritize what needs to be done first.
Begin the process with your KEY rooms and then work down from there. The KEY rooms are; Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Family Room (where applicable), Master Bedroom & En-suite (where applicable).
It is also important to focus your attention on anything you can see from your entry (including your entry).
Depending on how you work best, you may want to follow 1 of 2 process’ to keep you working efficiently.
- Focus on one room at a time. Some of us can tend to get easily distracted, and be in 4 places at once which can create chaos. Believe you me, I have seen first hand a home whilst the client was packing and purging – it was hot mess! I was stressed just looking at the confusion that was scattered throughout the entire house. This is so not helpful. Focus on one room, and within that room create zones (closet – under bed – surfaces) once that room is complete, move on to the next. You will not only stay focused and efficient, but you will feel such a reward in completing something from start to finish. Some rooms you may not think of are; garage, outdoor areas, sheds, gazebos, sunproch, playrooms, home gym.
- Focus on specific zones within the house. Zones can be described as closets for example. Work only in the closets of you house. Closets are not cupboards, or cabinets, they are only the closets. So start there, and pack up what needs packing (more detail on this below in #5 pack up seasonal items) and get all of your closets done. Then move onto the next zone, which may be cabinets (Kitchen or Bathrooms) and so on. Some zones you may want to create are the following; Closets, cabinetry, under bed, surfaces, bookcases.
In either case, begin with your KEY rooms, and then move onto the other rooms accordingly.
The Nitty Gritty of what’s important.
Before the actual work begins, I have provided you with a list of some specifics within each zone or room you will be working on. These tips will be useful in staying organized and show you what will work to impress your buyer in any one space in your home.
Let’s get started….
1. Create a Service Provider List
This will streamline who is coming when and at what time. It will also help you to nail down your timelines and budget. This is crucial in getting everything done prior to listing. It will also help you to know what is achievable within your budget and timeline.
This way; you can co-ordinate you’re to-do-list, make arrangements with work and ensure that the family is well informed throughout the process. Especially if they have tasks that you have assigned them, they will be better prepared for any interruptions and become familiar with the schedule of events.
You will need to co-ordinate all involved during the Sweat Equity Tasks listed below.
2. Get Your Floor Plans Straight
Once your Property Stylist has identified what pieces need to stay or to go, then please remove items off site, so that you are well prepared for Showcasing Day!
This applies to spaces in your home that are overcrowded. If your Property Stylist is asking you to remove a portion of your furnishings to ensure a proper floor plan, then best case scenario is to have the furniture removed from the house completely. You don’t want the perception to be that you emptied the contents of your house into your garage or basement.
This task is easier done when most of the DE-cluttering has already been done, but this can be a high priority item to get done right away if it impacts getting help and working with other people’s timelines, so we have added this task to the top of the list.
If you have a lot of content on the furniture, place the contents on another surface and get these large pieces out the door and then follow the steps below.
We understand that it is not always doable to store furniture outside the home due to budget, and or resources. In this case we would then suggest that if you must keep things on site, that you create on storage zone on your property. Be it the garage or basement storage room. Ensure boxes and furniture are neatly stacked, are safe, and still allow access to the important areas such as fuse boxes, sump pumps, furnace, A/C etc..
3. Take the Garbage Out
This is one of the first things to do in the DE-cluttering process. Why, because we don’t have to put much thought into things that clearly are ready for the trash. If it’s broken, out it goes!
This should be a fairly simple process, because we know that the simple answer is; that if it is no longer useful, it should be thrown out, donated, or recycled.
If you find yourself holding onto something promising that you will fix it, this is the time to seriously evaluate that idea.
You would be surprised how many people collect plastic, tin and paper. Take out containers are a big one on the; what gets stashed in the home list of things to purge. I understand that re-using is a very environmentally friendly thing to do, so perhaps consider donating these items to a school, library, daycare center etc… Or simply recycle them or pack them up.
Plan this around Garbage and Recycle collection times and get it to the curb OR get it into the car and to the donation center now. This may be an item that you add to your service provider list, as many charitable donation centers pick up household items for free.
4. Remove Personal Photos and Collectibles
This is another step in the DE-cluttering process. Most people know how important it is to remove personal photos when listing your property for sale, but if you are unclear, you can read our article for more information on this topic.
But basically put; it is all about emotionally detaching yourself from the property so that your buyer can visualize themselves living in your home – without distraction.
There are some exceptions to the rule here; if you have a generic photo of say two people holding hands with their backs to the photographer while looking at a gorgeous church while on vacation, this could be something that becomes artistic, in which case would be acceptable.
Collectibles are another thing that you should get packed up. Why, because they could become damaged while people are touring your home and too many collectibles can become a distraction and appear as visual clutter.
5. Pack up your Seasonal Items
Your buyers are buying the idea of functionality and organization.
Many of us tend to keep all your Winter and Summer clothes, in our closets, while some of us may rotate. If you do happen to have all your clothes in one closet (or several) then we suggest that you pack up your seasonal clothing and reduce the volume of clothing during the time your house is on the market.
In the same way, go through your linen closet and pack up your winter sheets & blankets and try to live with a more limited supply for the time being.
This also applies to OVERSTOCK – we tend to buy in bulk a lot these days with the cost savings of Costco, so pair down and keep the essentials handy in a clearly labeled bin (which you can keep in a storage area out of site) and pack the rest.
6. Create Space in Cabinets
It is important to ensure that your countertop looks spacious but impressive! It should represent a lifestyle.
Many people think that because they are trying to feature counter space, that they need to clear their counter of all items. We say; that although ‘less is more’, ‘too little is not enough’.
The idea is; that you pack up your small appliances that you know you won’t be needing during the time your home is on the market, so that you can create room for your everyday items behind closed doors.
Just be mindful to not over stuff your cupboards, people are buying storage. This is especially important if your target market buyer is a family.
Glass cabinets are so important for the overall aesthetic and for your online photos. This is where you get to show off your prized stoneware & glassware. Be sure not to overcrowd these spaces, and style them with a balanced approach.
7. Office Reorg
Since many of us work from home, and the paper does tend to pile up with a busy workload and the mere thought of having to organize your office during this hectic time, can be overwhelming in of it’s own.
Although we have this listed closer to the end of the list, it seems that this task is never an easy one to deal with. To reduce some stress as you prepare your home for sale our suggestion is to piece meal this task. Work on your home office on a day to day basis.
Having said this though, if your home office is a disaster, and on the main floor, it then becomes a KEY room and so should be dealt with in the same way you would each KEY room.
Store paper in banker boxes and remove them from the house all together or store them neatly in an organized system in your storage room in your basement.
8. Cleaning is Your Best Friend!
Seriously, don’t take this personally! Everyone has dirt to clean no matter how clean you are! Trust me on this one. I am talking about getting down to the nitty-gritty here.
This task is always the last task to do. Your goal here is to ensure that your house is ready for your property stylist, photographer, and your buyer. What we don’t smell because we are accustomed to our own smells, your buyer will. Especially those of us who have keen sense of smell.
Do such things as;
- washing inside, under & behind appliances. No one wants to clean someone else’s appliances.
- vacuuming furniture, area rugs, carpeting, and bedding and or steam cleaning them. Textiles harbour odors. This includes laundry – try as best you can to keep up with this.
- window washing. You would be surprised how much more natural light you can get from clean windows. That and it will add a dazzling sparkle to your windows.
- clean your window treatments. Have you ever looked at the top of your curtains and seen the cobwebs and dust that sits on top of them? Have you ever given your curtain a shake and seen all of the dust particles then dance in the sunlight? This is especially important if you have fur babies. That fur gets into everything.
- look up and get rid of cobwebs. So many of us maintain direct eye level when reviewing our house. You will be surprised what you notice when you do this. Door frames, wall corners, lighting.
The list goes one, so for more information you can read our entire article on this topic.
Plan your clean right before you list, before photos, and before your Property Stylist Showcases your home for best results.
Remember anything that is on your To-Do-List that does not get done, goes on your buyers To-Do-List.
9. Review your Property & Report
This is a key component to ensure that you feel your property is ready for listing. Have a look around at everything such as;
- Are all of your light bulbs the same colour or hue?
- Are all of your light fixtures clean and bug free?
- Are your appliances clean both inside and out?
- Are your windows and mirrors clean to a sparkling finish?
- Have you removed any odors that may be lingering?
- Is all garbage, recycle and laundry baskets emptied?
- Are you linen’s clean including pet beds?
- Have you checked in with the temperature of your home – ensure it is a comfortable climate for your buyers when visiting or they will not want to linger.
- Does your curb appeal – appeal?
10. Day of Showcasing!
The big day has arrived. This will have already been booked in advance and should be on your calendar and on your family’s calendar’s so that everyone is prepared. One thing I cannot stress enough, is to be fully prepared and ready for your Property Stylist to showcase your property on this day.
- Be fully moved out (if this is applicable).
- Have each room in the order your stylist has recommended (meaning all pieces that are to stay in this room are present and accounted for and all pieces are out of this room, that are to be gone).
- Have pets in someone else’s care while the property is being staged.
- Have alarm system turned off or provide a guest code.
- Have the house clean.
- Have all linens cleaned.
- Have lane way or parking access for your Stylist and furniture movers.
- Have a key accessible for your Stylist and leave instructions available for leaving the key behind safely after staging.
- Have a point of contact for emergencies (if you are not available during the time your property is being showcased, have an alternate contact, or provide additional contact info should they not be able to reach you by phone) by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, email, or whatever you tend to respond to the quickest.
We hope that you have found this information to be helpful, and we wish you the very best in a Top Dollar, Speedy sale.
Remember, showcasing your property effectively is an investment from the perception of your buyer.
Cindy & Gilbert
As always, helping you in caring for your Total Home!