What can I do to prepare my home for sale? [Real NEastate]

Real NEastate columnist Stacey McCarthy is off this week. This installment was originally published in July 2012.

Q: After 40 years of wonderful memories, I am moving from my three-bedroom home in Fox Chase to a one-bedroom condo in Florida. It is daunting to think of selling my home because I have accumulated so many things over the years. I’m not a hoarder, but I’ve got a ton of stuff. What can I do to make it a more pleasant experience for the house hunters who come to see it?

A: I think you know what you need to do. It may be overwhelming, but the best thing you can do to make it easier is to start packing. You’ll be moving anyway, so no reason to keep everything in its place for prospective home buyers to ogle. It distracts them from looking at the home.

Here are the six best de-cluttering tips for moving I’ve run across:

  1. If you make a plan to tackle one room each weekend, it should only take about that many weeks to be ready to show your home.
  2. Don’t de-clutter alone, if you can help it. It’s faster and more fun to de-clutter with a friend or relative. Plus there’s the added bonus of them taking some items off your hands.
  3. Use at least four containers for each room. Label them: Move, Donate, Undecided and Trash. The “undecided” box will need to be reassessed another day, so don’t make it too heavy or you will be de-cluttering for weeks.
  4. Only leave a select few books on bookshelves. Ask yourself, will I really read it again?
  5. Take photos out of frames and put them in an album. Save the best frames and discard the rest.
  6. If you want your home to gleam among the many homes for sale, hire a professional cleaner to come in and perform a “deep cleaning.” Make sure they do windows. Windows are important!

If you can afford it, hire a staging consultant. Some will show you how to arrange your own furniture to maximize your space. Some will charge an additional fee for using their items to showcase your home for optimal selling success.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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