Our home officially changed hands today. Settlement day was today and it heralds the end of an era for my little family. We lived in our home for 10 years, where we brought our babies home to from the hospital, where we’ve had plenty of parties, BBQ’s, birthdays, laughs, tears and an abundance of good memories. Other memories I’ll never forget like remembering my late brother on our deck laughing, and hours and months slaving over a renovation whilst pregnant and nursing a newborn. So many emotions yet strangely, when I dropped off the keys and shut the door for the final time last week I didn’t feel sad, or upset. I guess I had already moved on. An empty house is just a shell, without your loved ones in it.
In the process of selling our home I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve learnt that I don’t want to do this for a VERY long time, preferably not EVER again! Getting a decent chunk of time to do anything with small kids is hard enough as it is. We had a short marketing campaign for three weeks which actually felt like forever! Styling the home for sale myself I learnt a thing or two which I thought I’d share with you.
As they say, maximum effort equals maximum reward. We put in weekend after weekend of hard work to get our home looking as good as (I think) it did. Our home achieved a result above and beyond what we were hoping (a whole $95K above the advertised price). We were thrilled with the result. Here are my top tips to prepare a home for sale to achieve maximum reward, because after all, that’s the name of the game when you’re selling…
Declutter. And when you think you’re done, declutter some more. I walked from room to room every weekend and with a fresh set of eyes I would edit and declutter each time. People don’t want to see clutter. They want to buy the dream! Decluttering and clearing out stuff means you will claw back space, and make your rooms and home appear more spacious. Pare back the space till you are making it shine.
Go Vanilla. I love colour and have pops of it everywhere in my home but when it comes to selling, you want to appeal to the majority of people. Use neutral furniture, accessories and bedding to appeal to the masses, and to make those photos appealing. You can add interest and some colour through accessories but on the whole, I would keep it ‘vanilla’. I kept things neutral but added in black and beige linen cushions on the sofa and plain white or beige bedding with grey and a little bit of mustard to make it interesting.
Think About the Space. We never owned a proper dining table, having always used a bench and stools my hubby made. Thinking of potential buyers, we knew we had to create a dining space that people could imagine themselves in. We bought a white IKEA table and chairs which created a perfect sense of how people could dine and relax in the open plan living/kitchen. Think about how spaces will be used, and how you can show them off to their full potential.
Move the Hell Out. We had a very short marketing campaign of three weeks which seems to be standard these days. Once we decided to put it on the market, we spent weekends getting it to a point where we were happy with it. Like anyone that has sold a house will attest, we did all the jobs we’d been putting off for years. Once all the big painting and gardening jobs had been done, I began styling. But with two small kids – I began wondering how on earth we were going to keep it looking clean and tidy.
And so, the biggest piece of advice I can give is (thanks to a friend who had gone through it before me) – MOVE OUT. We decided to pack the dog and a bag each (with most of our belongings shoved in the shed – see point 1!!) and move in with my parents. It was the best thing we did! It meant not having to constantly clean and tidy up mess. It saved us a shit load of stress and work. We were lucky we had the option of staying with my parents but we seriously contemplated paying for short term holiday rental and we would have. It just made sense. It adds to all the other costs you have when you sell, but it’s worth it for your sanity!
Sell the Dream. You want people to fall in love with your home, and want it as their own. (So much so they’ll bid for it!). You’re not styling for you, you’re styling a lifestyle, a dream. Sell the dream, baby! Remove photos of yourself and your family, basically remove anything that resembles people living in it. Ha Ha! It’s true that your home resembles a quasi display home. With no signs of life. Ha ha. Yes, funny! But is it true, yes! Ok, well kinda…