It’s almost Spring which means 2 things – Spring cleaning (we’ll get to that one next) and real estate season!
In February we discussed ways you can fall back in love with your home, but there are times when you know it’s just best to move on. There could be many factors that lead you to this decision, some of which could include:
- Space has become too big or too small
- Location isn’t right for your lifestyle
- Finances have changed
- Relationships have changed
Deciding when to pack up can be a difficult decision to reach for yourself and/or your family. Emotions can run high and there can be a lot of fears in relation to letting go, making the best financial decision and fear of the unknown ahead. I am not a Real Estate Professional, but I know a little about moving, as I have moved 12 times and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here are my suggestions on ways you can minimize the stress of this time and things to pay careful attention to:
- Hire the best – don’t try and sell your home yourself unless you’re a Real Estate Agent. It’s such a large legal investment that it’s not worth saving the money with all the potential risks involved. Let the professionals educate you, help you price well and know what the best moves are.
- Get real about your finances – if you are barely making payments on your monthly expenses now, chances are moving to a higher priced home isn’t the best decision for you. Sit down with your bank or mortgage expert ahead of time to get your financials in order so know what the budget is before emotions get tied to potential new homes.
- Know your timeline – do you have a hard and fast date you need to be out of your home or do you have some room bridging dates with a new home? Will you need time to complete some renovations before you move in? Do you want the kids settled before school starts? Knowing this head will help you stay firm with conditions in offers, closing dates for the new purchase and general preparing for the big move.
- Staging – the general public has a hard time picturing potential in spaces, so it is your job to stage your home to showcase a generic idea of what life could look like for the general population. If you don’t have the eye or time for this, hire a stager to complete this necessary task. Here are some specific ideas:
- Convert specifically designed rooms back to formal dining rooms, offices or guest rooms.
- Remove all personal photos and objects from rooms (basically anything that would make a potential buyer think of they type of people that own the house instead of picturing themselves living there).
- Paint all rooms a neutral or light colour.
- De-clutter everything (including closets, basements and storage spaces – rent a storage unit if you must).
- Simplify furniture and create ideal layouts in rooms.
- Take care of general maintenance you’ve been putting off – touch up dings in the walls, replace burnt out lights, broken handles, leaky faucets, chipped trim, etc.
- Place fresh flowers and bright accessories in rooms to provide a fresh and clean look.
- Give your home a thorough clean before photos, showings and open houses.
- Create a moving plan – Writing out everything ahead of time that will need to be taken care of can relieve last minute stress. Think ahead and consider the following: Do you need to hire a moving company? When do you need to start packing? Who will you be asking for assistance on the day? Will a great distance be involved in moving and you need to book overnight accommodations? Make arrangements for pets and kids if necessary for moving day. Contact Canada Post about forwarding your mail. Where do you need to contact for a change of address once you have moved?
- Prepare the family – Including kids in the process of selecting a new house and preparing your house for sale can help them greatly in processing what this change means. Answer fears they may have but let them know about what exciting opportunities lay ahead (will they get to pick a new paint colour for their new room? Will they be living closer to relatives? What parks are close by they may enjoy?). Have kids help pack up their rooms and toys allowing them to decorate boxes with their names and pretty drawings. (If you need to keep kids busy while you pack, a box with markers or a roll of bubble wrap can buy hours of fun!) . Allow them to visit any walk-throughs of the new house if possible so they can know where their new home will be and plan out how they want their new room to look. Walk the neighbourhood or visit local parks and restaurants so they get a feel for what their new neighbourhood is like. As something special for kids to look back on, take a family photo in front of the house on or just before moving day, and allow them to take something small with them, like a rock from your garden, they can put at the new house.
If you have pets, walk the neighbourhood together, visit parks and let them smell out their new neighbours.
Once you get the keys to the new place, a whole new ballgame begins. Stay tuned for the April’s blog post about Making A New House A Home.