1. Build in time and money before staging
Typically, agents work with a network of staging companies. You can pick two or three, conduct brief walk-through meetings with them at your place, and solicit bids. This process can take upward of two weeks, so it pays to get a jump on the consults well before you intend to list.
If youre going to use a staging company, make sure you have the cash on hand. In San Diego, partly staging our two-bedroom homeran us a cool $3,000, which was due immediately upon signing the contract. On the plus side, staging usually pays for itself (and then some) once the house sells, experts say.
2. Clear your closets and bedrooms by at least 50%
Whitney Parrott, lead designer at Everything Creative Designs, suggests declutteringfor her clients who choose to stay (at least part of the time) in a staged or listed home. You want your place to look inviting, but not necessarily lived-in.
Takeyouout of the home, she says. Remove your emotional attachment and look at the home as a product youre selling, which I realize is easier said than done.
This means reducing the stuffin closets and bedrooms by half. This is a good time to get rid of things you dont use; you can put the rest into storage.
3. Secure storage space
Even if you arent going to have your home professionally staged, youll likely need a storage unit for your excess belongings. Get a slightly larger unit than you think youll need. In an attempt to save a buck, we chose a smallish unit that ended up barely fitting our stuff. Now, as we approach close of escrow with no new home in sight, wellneedto rent a second unit for the remainder of our day-to-day items.
4. Hire movers to put your stuff in storage
Trust me on this oneyou do not want to be moving your stuff into a storage unit yourself or with your partner or spouse. Save the headache, and hire professionals to maximizeyour storage spacewith their professional packing hacks.
5. Find a place to crash
I was adamant that we minimize the time spent in our staged house, mostly because I was afraid of the havoc my toddler, infant, and highly inconsiderate pooches would wreak on the rented furniture.
Sowith our tails tucked and pride wounded, we turned to my husbands parentswho fortunately live a mere 10 minutes from us.
Clearly, living (rent-free) with family is the best choice if you can swing it. But if you dont have that option, consider some others. For example, my neighbor lived at a Hampton Inn for five weeks while between houses. (I was both horrified and intrigued.)
This can obviously become expensive rather quickly, so consider extended-stay hotels, which offer longer-term suites at a lower weekly price than their average daily rate. Some apartment communities also allow short-term or month-to-month rentals of furnished executive units. And theres always the VRBO/Airbnb option.
At the end of the day, the key is to either get out or make it look like youdid.
6. or get insanely organizedand stay that way
If you must stay in your home while its up for sale, heed these expert-approved tips that willhelp you (and your Realtor) stay sane.
- Create a cleaning schedule, and stick to it. If you can afford it, invest in a weekly cleaning service. Before each showing, vacuum the floors, dust all furniture, and wipe down all kitchen and bath surfaces.
- In the kitchen, keep countertops clear. Stash paper towels, sponges, and dish soap under the sink when theyre not in use. Make a habit of placing dirty dishes immediately in the dishwasher, and keep most appliances off the countertops.
- Buyers will open cabinets. Be sure your glasses, plates, pots, and pans are well-organized and stacked neatly.
- If you do a lot of cooking, use natural air freshening methods like boiling lemon slices or cinnamon on the stove to neutralize odors.
- Use totes or bins to keep daily bathroom items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap out of sight.
- Immediately sort mail when it arrives at your house, and dispose of anything that isnt vitally necessary.
- Stash a few of your kidsfavorite toys in a large decorative bin or tote in a corner of the room or hall closet, and clear the rest away.
- Put your iPhone cords and enormous charging block in a drawer out of view.
- Avoid the lockbox, especially if you have pets or children. Ask your agent to schedule showings in large blocks of time a few afternoons a week to ensure you can get everyone out of the house.
- If you have a 9-to-5 office job and pets, consider boarding the pets on weekdays when showings might occur.
Source: Realtor.com by Holly Amaya