Selling your house can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. Downsizing and organizing the house can come with additional emotional and physical challenges for senior citizens. You’ll have to decide what to do with a lifetime of possessions; what should be donated, discarded, sold, kept or stored? It can be daunting.
Here are a few tips to help you downsize and prepare your house for sale:
Get started: Create a timeline and keep a folder with all your lists, notes and phone numbers. Set realistic expectations and determine if you need to enlist help. You may tire or become easily stressed so be careful not to overdo it.
Eliminate the Clutter: Exteriors need to be clutter free as well as interiors. Remember, you want to show the house and not the belongings. On the outside – remove excessive yard decor and debris. On the inside – tackle kitchens, closets, and storage areas. Start with flat surfaces; clearing floors, tabletops, furniture. Next, address the hidden areas that will be opened by potential buyers. Eliminate or move furniture pieces that impede traffic flow or overpower a room. The house should be tidy, clean and orderly. For more tips read Decluttering and Transitioning With Seniors.
Repair: Once the clutter is gone, evaluate if any items need repair. Do cabinet drawers and doors stick? Are the appliances (hot water heater, A/C units, etc) in proper working order? Does the faucet drip? Buyers prefer homes that are in move-in condition and that don’t hint at neglect. Do enough to show it has been cared for over the years and to bring you the best sale value.
Refresh: Do shrubs need to be trimmed? Does the house need to be painted or power washed? Do the rugs need to be cleaned or the windows washed? Take an extra step and add a new welcome mat or replace heavy drapery with light shears to bring in light. This can make an impact.
Maintain: Now that the house is ready for sale, it’s important to keep it that way. You will need access to your everyday necessities, so arrange these items in a way that they are easily accessible while the house is on the market. Develop a plan to keep it neat and ready to be shown. You don’t want all your efforts to be negated by new clutter.
Realtors recommend that to get the best sale price, the home should be clutter free, have curb appeal and leave the perspective buyers’ with a good first impression. Start early, have a plan and seek help if needed and you’ll get your home ready for sale with a lot less stress.