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Fresh Perspective: “Getting My House Ready to Sell” Part 1

by Stephanie Tyler

After 21 years of living in the same house I decided it was time to move into something smaller. I’ll find a real-estate agent, repair a few minor nicks and scratches, clean the house, put a sign in the yard and be good-to-go!  No problem. I can do this in about a week. Try seven weeks!

After sifting through what seemed like a million websites, I quickly learned it’s all about “staging”. These were my 4 stages of execution:

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1. Declutter
I threw away, donated, sold or stored everything unnecessary. I ordered an 8’ by 8’ portable storage unit. It was full in no time. I should have ordered a bigger one. All counter tops, dressers, coffee tables were cleared. Then I did the same with my clothes.

There was absolutely nothing on the closet floors and hanging items were about an inch apart from each other. I hung them in the middle of the rod so the closet looked bigger. I went from room to room and left only what was needed.

The only small appliance I left on the kitchen counter was the coffee pot. I removed a bulletin board/chalk board from the wall so there were no papers hanging anywhere.

For the open house I placed a bowl of lemons in a bowl. It really popped on the black granite counter tops. I removed all area rugs so the hardwood floors would flow from room to room. There were no clothes hanging in the laundry room and I got a couple of cute baskets where I placed folded towels and sheets. I kept telling myself the house had to look and feel like a hotel room.

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2. Replace and update out-dated fixtures
I purchased the home in 1994 when shiny brass door knobs were popular. Today the bronze and brushed nickel finishes are in style. I replaced every door knob and hinge to bronze. >> Read Easy DIY Hardware Update

The overhead light fixture in the master bedroom was the original from 1957. I replaced it with a new modern look. The back door was a Jalousie window door original from 1957. Jalousie doors have the multiple window slats of glass that are opened and closed by a crank. I replaced the glass with clear glass. Wallpaper was removed from a bathroom and it was painted and staged with cute towels and a candle.

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3. Paint
Every room and door was painted. I used the same colors that were there to save time and money. The baseboards and crown molding were just touched up. The front door was teal, so I painted it black to match the black window boxes…which I also gave a fresh coat of paint.

The front porch is your first impression. At one point my painter/handyman asked me what color to repaint a room because I didn’t have the original paint can. I was getting ready to go to the paint store and pick a color I liked. Then I stopped and asked myself, “why am I doing this? I’m not going to live here.” So, I told him to paint it a neutral color we already had from another room. I had to keep telling myself…”this isn’t my house anymore.”

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4. Depersonalize
I packed away every picture of family and friends. So there would be no nail holes, I didn’t replace most of the pictures on the walls after painting. I collect windup toys and have over 700 of them in a display cabinet. They were all packed away and the cabinet was put in the storage unit. You wouldn’t see those in a hotel room.

The house went on the market on a Wednesday. No one could see the inside until the Open House on Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. I had four offers by 3:30. Three of the offers were over the asking price! I received a fifth offer that night. Sold! All the staging work and money paid off.

Now I’m looking for a new home. Find out how that goes in part 2 of my moving series.

Stephanie-HeadshotStephanie Tyler has worked as the Business Development Representative at West Community Credit Union for almost ten years. She enjoys traveling, reading and concerts. Her favorite pastime is entertaining. She can’t wait to have friends and family at her new home.

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