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Before the move
It’s still early – maybe your home isn’t even on the market quite yet – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start. The more you do now, the less you have to worry about when your schedule gets more hectic later.
It’s time to start purging the things you don’t need, won’t want in your new home or can’t transport. Think big like couches and armoires as well as small like old t-shirts and craft supplies. Organize your closets and drawers because buyers will peak in them. If they’re cluttered, it sends the message that the home doesn’t have enough storage space or is dirty.
Make your house spotless, corner to corner, top to bottom and in all those places you normally ignore. Scour the bathrooms and kitchen with water and bleach to remove mold and mildew. Scrub and polish floors, vacuum and shampoo carpets and rugs. Clean and polish appliances. Need more tips? Try these.
It’s the flipside of baking cookies before a showing. Remove bad smells. No one wants a fishy house, even if you live on the beach. And it really shouldn’t smell like a litter box.
Depersonalize to an extent.
There’s a fine line between getting rid of your personal heirlooms and removing all personality. You want buyers to be able to picture themselves in the house, so while you don’t want a fridge plastered with family Christmas cards, you still want it to feel like a home.
Be gone, leaky faucets, running toilets, cracked windows and damaged screens! And don’t forget to fix cracking walkways, porch steps and railings, and driveways.
Do a “fake” renovation.
You don’t need a major remodel to make the home feel like new. Forbes.com suggests focusing on small details – faucets, cabinet pulls, door hardware – that will give the impression of a remodel without the elbow grease and expense.
Update your curb appeal.
Do a major cleaning – power wash the entryway, unclog gutters, and clean windows and screens. Apartmenttherapy.com says to spruce up your garden by trimming bushes and adding planters or window boxes. Add some beautiful finishing touches like new house numbers, mailboxes and a Schlage handleset, too. If you don’t have a lot of money for upgrades, make curb appeal the must-do on your list.
Experts suggest removing anywhere from one-third to half of your belongings when trying to sell your home. Pack up what you won’t need in the near future such as out-of-season holiday decorations or one of multiple couches. Get a self-storage unit, if necessary.
During the move
You’re staging, you’re entertaining offers, you’re getting ready to put everything on the truck. Your kids are asking for dinner, your cat won’t come out from under the bed, you can’t remember where you put [name that all-important thing]. Try these tips for staying organized when you’re in the thick of it all.
Get the packing essentials.
Think beyond the box: tape and tape dispenser, permanent makers, tool kit, color-coded labels, a box cutter. Your future self will thank you when it’s time to unpack.
Keep it clean.
It’s tough to keep your house clean for spur-of-the-moment showings, but you can do it. Make your bed every morning. Make it a habit to wipe down the sink as you go and clean the shower while you’re still in there. Assign tasks to the kids, like doing a toy sweep before bedtime.
Declutter and pack again.
Keep going. Throw out broken items. Donate what is still in good condition but not necessary for you or your new home. Label every. Single. Box.
Plan for pets.
Know where you’re going to put Fluffy and Fido during house showings so they don’t get caught underfoot or turn off potential buyers. And decide how you’re going to keep them safe and transport them when the movers come.
Find a place for your valuables.
When people are touring your home, you don’t want valuables like laptops, iPads and jewelry out in the open, says moving.com. Get a safe or a safety deposit box.
Pack a “go bag.”
When showing your home, you might need to leave the house at a moment’s notice. Your “go bag” can include those valuables we mentioned as well as snacks and entertainment for the kids.
Pack an essentials bag and a “first-thing” box.
Different from a “go-bag,” this is for when you get into your new home. Your essentials bag can contain a change of clothes, toothbrush, clean sheets, anything you’ll want that first night to feel human. Your “first-thing” box is the one you’ll unpack first – a set of dishes, paper towels and all-purpose cleaner, shower curtain or tool kit.
Create a document organization system.
Things will be shuffling around a lot and you don’t want to lose important documents. Get a binder or a box to help you keep track of receipts if your workplace is reimbursing your moving expenses, medical and dental records, school records for the kids, and contracts and quotes from movers.
Establish a plan and priorities.
Measure your furniture and your new floorplan, then start thinking about where you’re going to put your furniture in the new place to make life easier for you and the movers on the big day. Also have a priority list of what needs to get unboxed first (bedroom items so you can sleep or kitchen stuff to refuel?), what needs to happen immediately and what changes can wait for a few weeks.
Eat what you have.
Perishables and frozen foods won’t transport well. Get creative with your cooking to use up what you can’t move or donate it to a local food pantry.
After the move
Welcome to your new home! Before you totally relax, make sure to check these essentials off your list. It’ll make everything that comes next that much easier.
Reprogram smart locks and garage keypads.
If your new home came with a smart lock, set up your unique access codes. Do the same with your garage door.
Install an alarm system, have it activated or change passwords for an existing system.
If you’re creating a smart home, consider what alarm systems work with other technology in the home, including your smart locks.
Hang curtains or blinds.
People, including intruders, will be curious about the new neighbors and if they own anything good.
Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
If they don’t need to be replaced completely, install new batteries anyway.
Replace fire extinguishers.
Make sure you have them for the kitchen, garage, near heat sources such as fireplaces, and in each bedroom, at the bare minimum.
Update your insurance coverage.
Do you now need flood insurance? Earthquake coverage? Find more tips for moving in and getting settled here.
Locate the vital valves and controls.
Know where your electrical boxes, water valves and gas valves are and how to use them before there’s an emergency. You’ll also need to know where they are if you’re installing new appliances or updating the plumbing.
If you’re getting new appliances, it’s worth it to spend a bit up front for energy- and cost-saving options now. And when you’re installing lightbulbs, go for LED or CFL.
Make a get-away room.
At some point, you’ll need to relax and escape from box city. We suggest your bedroom as your first nesting space so you can sleep easy.
Now it’s time to celebrate and enjoy your new place a bit! Find the perfect pizza place, the gorgeous park or invite your neighbors over for a casual meet-and-greet on your new patio.