Dmitri and I had been talking about relocating for a while. A little more than a year ago, Dmitri accepted an offer as a Web Developer in one of the firms located in Eastern Pennsylvania and had been commuting since then, spending more than three hours behind the wheel every day. This was such a waste of time and really-really exhausting. So, even though we were talking about moving, it was like something that would happen in the distant future. But recently during our late night cup of tea conversation, we were like, “What future are we talking about? A year, two, or more? What is holding us back from making a move now? A baby? Well, it is going to be little bit more complicated, but we are talking just 50 miles away. It is not that big of a distance!” Next day we called our realtor, and the next thing we jumped onto the tips of staging and selling the house and were little bit surprised to find out that we are pretty much all set. And that inspired me to write this post.
Make you house enjoyable for yourself
Reading through the tips and recommendations, I got to thinking about why people would make their house beautiful for someone else to enjoy? I understand that when people sell their house they want to give it the most appealing look to sell it quickly. But why not to do it and maintain it now, so YOU can enjoy your house NOW?
Certainly, there are some things that have to be done shortly before showing, but the majority of this can be done today, so you have a chance to live and enjoy your home.
That conversation about selling and moving took place in the middle of the week, and on the Saturday, we did some staging and took photos for the agent. Staging and taking photos of our three-bedroom townhouse took us 4 hours, not weeks or months as we read in some recommendations. This was because:
1. We kept everything maintained
There was not a single thing that required fixing, because we have a rule to address those kinds of issues right away.
Most of the house was painted within 2-3 years, and the paint still looks good. If the paint in your house looks old and dull, why not to apply a fresh coat of paint now, so you can enjoy it now. Painting the walls is the cheapest and fastest way to refresh the look. A fresh paint of coat indeed does its magic.
3. Deep clean
Do it to enjoy your clean house as often as needed. We don’t even have a specific schedule for deep cleaning, it is just matter of how it feels. There is no need to spend an entire weekend on deep cleaning, just focus on one area each time – kitchen, bathroom. Those are the ones that require the most frequent deep cleaning, and it usually only takes a few hours every once in a while. And then we do simple maintenance cleaning like mopping the floors, dusting, and cleaning the stove once or twice a week.
The magazine home decor pictures are amazing, aren’t they? They are of different styles – bold, subtle, traditional and contemporary, maximalist or minimalist, but they all have one thing in common – they are all clutter free. That is the first thing to do to get that magazine look, and it doesn’t even matter how expensive or inexpensive the furniture is. Even an inexpensive interior will look like a million dollars if it is decluttered. Finally, decluttering feels amazing! We have been on this journey and won’t go back. Not convinced? Read more about the benefits of decluttering. If you are wondering how to part with your beloved things and mementos that you have been accumulating for so many years? This is a great great resource: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. If you want to declutter and organize just once and forget about it, this is a must read!
5. Remove extra furniture
After you declutter, this step comes naturally. You will find out that, perhaps, you don’t need those extra shelves to keep the books you never read, DVDs you won’t ever watch again, or tons of knickknacks.
6. Organize your closet
Again, when you declutter and purge your stuff and keep just the things you love, there is no need to organize it at all! Actually, I recently got so inspired with the idea of a capsule wardrobe that I dedicated an entire blog to it. In case you are wondering how my closet looks (and how it has been since March of this year with no rebound!), take a look in this post. The closet itself looks 5 times bigger now, and I think our buyers loved it as well. 🙂
7. Eliminate bad odors
Hmm.. Why would anyone want to live with bad odors?… Another piece of advice that I think should be a big NOOO is to put out air fresheners with some “inviting scents like cinnamon or vanilla cookies”. I don’t know how about you, but I can’t stand the smell of those “fresheners” in the house. If you like them, that is alright, but if you are ever preparing your house for sale, it is not a great idea. When we bought our current house, it was a big drawback for us – the smell of some sweet air “fresheners”. It seemed even the walls smelled like cookies – this is how strong and persistent those chemicals are. We got rid of it eventually after we painted the walls, removed the carpets on the entire first floor and washed the carpets on the second floor several times throughout the year. I personally feel that adding air fresheners won’t help you sell the house faster. Fresh air is the best air freshener.
8. Curb appeal
We live in a townhouse, so our monthly fee covers lawn maintenance. If you want to smile and feel happy every time you pull into your driveway, you might want to make it pretty from outside, too!
Things we did right before each showing
1. Of course, kept it clean
No dirty dishes or crumbs on the counters, and beds were made up. Common sense.
2. Depersonalized it
Slightly, not completely though (we did this just once before taking pictures and decided to put those things away until we move).
3. Well illuminated
On cloudy showing days and evenings, kept the lights on.
4. Relaxing music
Relaxing ad-free music playing on low volume. Trip-hop was a great choice. We received lots of positive feedback on that one.
5. Avoid cooking smelly foods
On the day of showing, we avoided cooking smelly foods like onions, garlic, spices.
6. No trash at the curb
If it was a trash or recycle pickup day, we made sure no containers were left at the curb or standing on the driveway. We would pull them into the garage.
7. Fresh flowers
Put fresh flowers at the entrance and living room
We prepared treats and refreshments (as simple as iced water with lemon and mint or bottled water on ice) on the kitchen island with the framed message that people can help themselves.
That’s about it. We hope this approach will make you to love your house, and if one day you need to sell it to pursue better opportunities, it will save you some extra work!
Now I have to head out and help Dmitri to unpack the boxes. 🙂 We will definitely miss this house, because we loved it so much! But the new chapter in our lives is about to begin.