Tidying up and organizing guru Marie Kondo is everywhere these days, and if you don’t know who I’m talking about, maybe Netflix is not your thing. But it’s all over social media and this woman comes into your home, greets it, and then tells you that anything that does not “spark joy” needs to go. Now, while I might not agree with her theory on 30 books or less in your home, she does have some great ideas and tips, especially for those that are relocating and need to move.
Just this week, I had a young couple that found, what they hoped to be the home of their dreams, and because they weren’t really in the market, their home was in no way ready to list. We made an offer and the seller agreed to a contingent offer as long as the buyer’s house was listed within a week of the accepted offer. A week is not a lot of time to get your home ready for selling. But, it can be done with a few tricks and a few shortcuts.
If you need to stage and list your house fast, here are some of the best advice I can give.
#1. Enlist the help of friends and family.
And that’s exactly what this family did. They called in all the troops and for three days straight had friends and family stage, pack, clean, organize, and do landscaping. Are you the one that’s always loading out your truck? It’s time to cash in on a few of those favors. If you are part of a church or some community group, you might ask them for help. You’d be surprised at how many people can rally around you and because many hands make light work, you can list and stage a house in as little as 2 to 3 days.
#2. Time to purge.
As Marie says, anything that does not “spark joy” needs to go. Have you become too attached to too many things? If you’re holding onto old baby clothes, nostalgic items, and 352 DVDs and CDs, it’s time to purge. Do you really need that sweater from an old boyfriend from 1982? How about that art project from your third-grader (who’s now in college)?
#3. Take it room by room.
Looking at the entire house at once is extremely overwhelming. But, if you take it room by room in small, manageable chunks, it will make it much more doable. Each room should have three categories; things you will keep and relocate to the new house, things you will throw away, and things you will donate. Surprisingly, all three piles might be the same size, and that’s okay. Do you have a stack of papers from 2002 that you know you will never need again? Time to recycle. As you have friends and family helping you do this, give away things that you may not want to donate or throw away, but maybe one of your friends or loved ones would like to keep for you.
Once you have cleared out a room, stage it as if there’s practically nothing in it but maybe an office desk and chair, bed, dining room table, or whatever else that room was meant to be for originally.
#4. Reserve some time.
Now is the time to cash in on personal days or time off at work. Everyone in the family needs to pull their weight, come together, and spend the entire day prepping the house. Cancel lunch appointments, get a babysitter, call work and spend 2 to 3 days prepping your home.
Related: Easy and Interesting Cleaning Hacks
#5. Now is not the time for a garage sale.
Garage sales and yard sales are perfect for people that have several weeks or even a couple of months to prepare and sell. But for those that have just a few days, don’t waste your time on a garage sale. It’s better to donate the items, take an account of each one, and use them as a tax write off. You might actually get more in the tax write off then you would sitting at a yard sale all day wasting your time and energy.
#6. Use the garage sparingly.
A lot of sellers think that they can throw everything into the garage and it will be fine, but buyers look at the garage as well and if they see mountains of personal items in a garage they might think there’s not enough room in the actual house to store personal property. If you can, ask friends or family to borrow their garages or portable storage facilities and once you have a truck full of boxes and items, take it to another location to store until you move it to your new house. The more clean, open, and available every single room is, including the garage, the more buyers will feel a sense of peace and calm when looking at your property.
Related: 13 Tips for Moving with Pets
#7. Call in the pros if need be.
Your friends and family might be able to tidy up and organize, but if you are lacking in the deep cleaning area, it may be time for a professional. Get a professional cleaner out right away to handle the deep cleaning, nitty-gritty stuff of the house. Also, consider hiring a landscaping company to spend several hours getting your front yard up to ideal curb appeal status.
#8. Ask for an extension.
If for any reason you cannot seem to get the house in order before the listing requirement, ask for an extension. Depending on the market, sellers may give you more time, especially if their property has been on the market for a long time. Remember who has the upper hand. If it’s a buyer’s market, you have the upper hand, if it’s a seller’s market, they do, but that also is good for you as well as the seller of your home.
At the very least, stay in communication with your real estate agent. Chances are your real estate agent is the same one helping you buy the new home as selling this one, so the more communication and connection you all can have, the faster things can happen.