What are the first steps a homeowner should take before putting their home on the market?
The first steps to prepare your home for the market are mostly the same things you should be doing to prepare to move. So it’s a great opportunity to hit two birds with one stone!
The main issue we see with our home organizing clients is simply too much – too much furniture, too much decoration, too much stuff. Homeowners accumulate items over the years and become immune to the first impression others get from their home.
Buyers put a LOT of weight on first impressions, and homes look larger when they have less furniture in them. This is why model homes are very sparsely decorated, with just a few select pieces of furniture.
So I recommend homeowners go through the home and look for things to donate or get rid of. There are even organizations that will come and pick up your donation free of charge like the Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul.
If there are items that you’d like to pack in advance, make sure to write a general description the contents on the outside of the box, and store them out of the way in the garage or basement, where they won’t affect a buyer’s first impression.
What about putting items in storage while the home is on the market, and then moving those items into the new home?
I try to direct homeowners away from storage units as much as I can. Most likely that storage unit will never get 100% cleared out, and you’ll pay for it month-after-month to store things you don’t use.
Plus items like photographs and keepsakes don’t do well in non-climate-controlled units, so there’s always a chance your items will be damaged in storage.
I recommend going through your home and letting go of anything you’re not currently using. If you absolutely must use a storage unit, here are a few tips:
Keep everything off the floor.
Make sure you leave aisles, and label your bins so that everything is accessible.
For safety purposes and to avoid lower bins from being crushed, don’t stack storage bins too high.
Put everything in plastic containers to protect from critters and from water damage
Many homeowners use professional movers, any tips for working with a moving company?
Yes! We help a lot of homeowners prepare for that type of move, and we have some great tips.
First, remember movers are flexible; you can hire them for certain parts of the job, or let them handle everything. I do recommend if you handle anything yourself, it’s the UN-packing. Movers are not organizers, you will spend less time looking for things if you unpack yourself or better yet, leave that job to a professional organizer.
A quick counter-intuitive tip: Professional movers are experienced in packing and moving fragile items, so if there’s one thing you leave to the pros that would be it.
If you have very valuable items such as high end art work, we suggest you move these items yourself or hire a company that specializes in packing and moving these types of items.
Beyond that, keep your movers (or helpers) happy, provide donuts in the morning or sandwiches for lunch, drinks in the afternoon, tip them well if they did a good job etc.
Lastly, if you do your own packing, make sure each box is clearly labeled with the box’s contents, and the room it’s going INTO, not the room it came FROM. You can also put up signs on each room to match the labels on the boxes, so that everyone knows exactly which room each box goes into.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever you pack first, will be the last to come off the moving truck. So do not pack items that you will need right away until the last minute.
Where can people learn more about home organizing and preparing to move?
We have some great tips for handling pets on moving day, which items to pack last, and so forth. You can visit us at www.cleanclutterfree.com or call us at 402-443-9673 and we’d be happy to answer any questions!
Thanks to the good folks at WestOmahaHomeGuide.com for interviewing us!
If you’re looking to buy a home, we highly recommend their site.
It features all sorts of useful information about West Omaha homes for sale, neighborhoods, events and local businesses like ours.
Click here to search all homes for sale in West Omaha.
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.