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Beyond just being me, I am a wife, mother and entrepreneur constantly on the hunt for new ideas on how to live my best life. Visit me at www.clementsinteriors.com.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Preparing your home for the Spring... market.

I don’t want to jinx it so I’ll cross my fingers when I say it feels like spring has sprung!  For some homeowners the warmer weather stirs up up the desire to rake the front lawn of winter grime, clean out the linen closet and open the windows to let fresh air flow.  For others, longer days and sunshine means working double time to begin the process of getting their home prepped for sale.
Looking to list?  Maximize your property’s potential value by creating an environment in your home that any buyer can envision themselves living.  Sound easy?  Well, it can be easier said than done if you look around at the personal clutter and collection that has made its way into your life over the years.  It’s that very clutter than can be distracting for potential buyers, so priority must be given to removing things that represent the property as your home.  Often the thought of stripping away our most personal treasures and homogenizing our home into being merely a house, can be difficult.
You can make the process easier by breaking the mental and physical work down into three stages: 1) De-clutter, 2) Repair, and 3) Set the Stage.
For our purposes, let’s focus on what for many can be the most daunting part of the process:  Stage 1 – De-cluttering.  If the thought of a thorough clean out makes your head spin, start with a priority list and these helpful tips:
1.      Give yourself PLENTY of time.  Don’t leave the clutter clearing until the last minute.  If you start now, there’s still time to prepare your home for the spring market. 
2.      Divide your home into sections and attack one at a time.  There’s nothing more daunting then being faced with an entire house that needs help.  Divide the work up one room at a time to help make the task more manageable.  When you start clearing out a room, don’t stop until it’s done.  DO NOT under any circumstances move items from one room to another.  You’re just delaying the inevitable.
3.      Be merciless.  We ALL get caught up in the “It-meant-a-lot-to-me-15-years-ago” line of thinking.  If it’s something you haven’t seen or used in a year (or dare I say, since you moved into your home) get rid of it.   
4.      Give things a new home.  You’d be surprised at the items people will pay good money for.  If you’re cupboard and bookcases are jammed with things your kids no longer want, its great fodder for sale!  Better yet, consider donating some of the larger items to organizations that will put them to good use, like your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. 
5.      Enlist help.  Recruit your kids and you’ll find that weeding through the clutter can also be a great way to stroll down memory lane.  You’ll be able to reminisce about life in your home as you sort through items that bring back wonderful memories.
6.      Follow the ABCs (Always Be Clearing).  Establish a new rule of not leaving things around and vow at least for the time being, to not toss things into the spare room, spare closet or spare drawer.
7.      Pitch it now or later?  Not sure if you should hold onto a larger item until you get into your new space?  Think about the properties of the item:  is it multi-functional?  Could it be used differently and effectively in your new home?  If so, it might be something worth storing until you get into your new space and can see it in a new light.  
8.      No more!  Commit to not purchasing anything new (especially larger items) until after you’ve sold your home.  The less you have to store, the better.
9.      Keep only what’s necessary.  Remember that space sells, stuff doesn’t.  It might be uncomfortable to think about, but when buyers are looking through your home, they will likely open cabinet doors and kitchen drawers.  Filling these places with “hide-it” stuff will take away from how spacious your home is. 
10.  It’ll all be worth it!  Remember the more you do now to prepare your home for sale, the better position you’ll be in when it comes time to move.  You’ll be moving less stuff, will pay for less storage, and can move into your new space with only the items you really cherish.
Watch for my next column on tackling the repairs often needed around the house to ensure potential buyers see your property as a true gem!

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