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Making a Move in 2020

The honest truth is moving is hard, even more so if you’ve lived in your home for a long time. As humans, we have a tendency to acquire things. Some of those things become treasured parts of our lives. A lot of those things become clutter, eyesores, or unknowns in the backs of closets, attics, or corners. And, when you have the space, it becomes very easy to ignore it all.

Moving can thus be a blessing in disguise. Once you get through it, you’re generally left with a more intentional, cleaner, joy-filled space.

The trick is getting to the other side. So, let’s explore what it takes!

Preparing your home to sell

Investing some time and effort into preparing your house for showing generally increases the speed with which offers will come in. Simple tasks like staging, cleaning, and doing minor repairs can be time-consuming and potentially expensive depending on how in-depth you take them, but they can also help attract better offers. Here are a few tips:

  1. Identify repairs
    • Go through rooms one by one and note repairs that need to be made.
      • Interior examples may include: Creaky doors. A toilet that runs. Chipped paint. Torn wallpaper. Windows that stick or just don’t open. Broken appliances. Cabinets and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly. Clogged drains. Faulty outlets. Dingy carpet.
      • Exterior examples may include: Peeling paint. Rot. Missing weather stripping. Cracked foundation. Leaky roof.
    • Remember, upgrades are different from repairs.
      • An upgrade would be replacing new carpet with hardwood or remodeling the kitchen. Upgrades can boost the value of the home, but you may not get the return on investment you hope for.
      • A repair would be replacing old, dingy carpet or getting that dodgy freezer fixed. Repairs keep your current home value from falling.
    • Once you have your list, it’s time to determine if the undertaking is worth it. Here’s a handy list of improvement projects that generate higher returns.
  2. Make a plan
    • Is it a do-it-yourself project? Or do you need to hire a professional? Hiring a professional removes the stress from your hands but increases the cost.
  3. Consider a pre-sale inspection
    • An inspection typically costs between $200 and $500, but it can ensure all repairs necessary for the sale are identified. If a costly issue is identified, it can help you decide whether you want to address it or adjust your sale price accordingly.
  4. Declutter and clean
    • We will dive deeper into the steps of downsizing in our February blog. So, let’s start with just cleaning up your space. Which areas look cluttered? Which cabinets or closets are dangerous to open? Professional home stagers recommend removing 50% of your items, including many personal touches to help buyers see the full potential of the space. Of note, decluttering doesn’t have to mean getting rid of just yet or even at all. For smaller items, you can start with storage bins or cubbies. But decluttering does extend to furniture. Can you move easily through rooms without bumping into furniture? Does the scale of the furniture match the space? If not, consider rearranging, putting things in storage, or starting the downsizing process now and rehoming the pieces that don’t fit.
    • Does all of this feel overwhelming? Consider hiring a professional organizer. The cost will be a little higher than doing it yourself, but it can also remove stress and make the moving process easier by helping you identify items to discard, store, or donate from the beginning.
    • Once the decluttering process is completed, it’s time for a deep clean. If getting on your hands and knees to scrub the floor is outside the realm of possibility, hire a professional! Again, it may cost a little more, but the decreased stress and final result may very well be worth every penny.
  5. Stage your home
    • Everything you’ve done so far has led to this moment. The goal is to create a lasting, positive first impression on potential buyers. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more.
    • Don’t worry about spending a lot of money. A few minor updates, such as a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or a decorative blanket on the sofa can make a room feel fresh and new.
    • Remember the importance of curb appeal in your staging! A pleasant exterior can increase your home’s value by up to 17%. Mow the lawn. Trim the shrubs. Plant flowers. Or, if you’re selling in the winter, decorate for the season. Wreaths or holiday lights can go a long way in the absence of lush grass or budding trees.
    • Again, if decorating isn’t a strength, hire a professional stager, brush up on HGTV, or search the internet for tips. A wealth of information awaits!

It’s easy to get comfortable in your home and overlook the quirks that buyers might be put off by, but selling your home doesn’t have to mean expensive upgrades. It’s about taking an objective look from a buyer’s point of view. Imagine seeing your home for the first time.

The perks of using a Realtor

As you can see, preparing your home to sell can be overwhelming, even when it’s broken down into small steps. And that’s not even considering the actual sale. The paperwork. The inspections. The negotiations.

But do you really want to bother with a Realtor? Selling your house on your own may seem easier and more appealing. Surely you can get more out of it if you don’t have to pay someone else, right? What do they really even do besides show your house and cost you more than they’re worth?

  1. They provide expert guidance. It may have been decades since you concerned yourself with the housing market, but a Realtor works in it every day. They know the regulations, market values, and what’s selling. They’re familiar with the required forms, reports, and disclosures. They know the jargon. And they will help you prepare the best deal while avoiding delays or costly rookie mistakes.
  2. They are objective. Where you use emotion, they use data.
  3. They will negotiate for you. Offers. Counteroffers. A Realtor will look at every angle from your perspective to make sure you get what you need out of the deal. In fact, they are legally obligated to do so. As a result, agent-listed properties fetch about 30% more.
  4. They are there for you. Don’t discount the importance of having a concerned, but objective, third party. Realtors know a house is more than four walls and a roof, but they are also there to help you stay focused on your goal when things get emotional.

The bottom line is that when it comes to making a move, the smartest thing you can do is recognize when you need help and then ask for it.

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