How Do I Move?

Written by Annie Bauman

Preparing your home to sell can feel especially overwhelming for parents with little kids. I sympathize with sellers who worry the home has to be immaculate in order to be presentable. Interestingly, a show-ready home does not require swapping out counter tops or other costly improvements. Based on the dozens of local homes I tour every week, I’ve established a four-step plan that should take a busy family no more than three weeks to complete. The tasks are broken down into four action items that can be executed in two hour increments. About the length of a  toddler’s nap. In less than a month, your home won’t be perfect. But it will be ready. 

1) Purge. Forget scoring boxes behind Roche Bros. Head to Wal-mart  and invest in a large plastic bin for every room in your home. Make sure they are clear and big but not so big that when filled with stuff, you won’t be able to lug them. For large rooms and perhaps your basement, buy several. It won’t be cheap, but you’ll use these again throughout your move and also to store stuff at your new home. 

Spend two hours every day for five days filling the bins with everything you will donate. All the stuff you don’t want coming with you but someone else might like or need. On the sixth day bring it to the swap shop at the dump or the church or the Salvation Army. The sixth day will be much more work and will include your partner or friends. But by day seven, your house should not have anything in it that isn’t coming with you. Put the empty bins back. 

Purge and it will be easier to pack and sell your home.

2) Clean. Deeply.  Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, a squeaky clean house is one of those unquantifiable features that will endear a buyer to your home. Two hours every day for five days should suffice. The first day should be a room by room trash collection. Devote the second, third and fourth day to surfaces and floors. This is yellow-rubber-gloves-on-your-hands-and-knees kind of cleaning. Use vacuum attachments. Take a baby wipe and clean the window grids. Wash out the basement fridge. Scrub stuff. On the fifth day and throughout that second weekend, turn your focus to the outside of your home. Again, no shame in hiring professionals. Time and energy may be wisely saved here. Regardless, give your house a bath. Rent or borrow a leaf blower for the back deck, garage and  front steps paying close attention to every cranny. Rent or borrow a power washer and blast off any dirt or unsightly mold. Finally, wash the windows. 

3) Fix. Assuming you are not aware of any major necessary house repairs, dedicate the beginning of week three to anything that’s broken. Does a ceiling need some touch-up paint, is there a hallway light that’s never worked? Could the nursery use some spackle around the curtain rods? Does the front step need replacing? Make a to-do list and tackle as many projects as you can manage each day.

4) Appoint. This is critical. We assume that a buyer won’t mind that the linen closet is in the baby’s room or that all the Christmas stuff is shoved into a corner of the basement. Not true. While your better half is working on repairs, this is the time to organize the home you always wanted. (But were too exhausted to!) Whether your ‘out building’ is used for extra storage or as a water color studio is beside the point. Just make sure the purpose and possibilities of every room are clear to a buyer. 

About the Author

-Annie Bauman is a Parent Talk member, mom to twin 8 Yr olds and a 3 yr old and a Realtor for Coldwell Banker in Needham. Her last two sales were the inspiration for this article. A bedroom from one of those sales is featured here.  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Needham, MA  
781.343.4068 (office)
617.510.4994 (mobile)

photo credit: dataceptionist via photopin cc

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