Selling a House and Moving...

Updated on March 23, 2013
B.B. asks from Wakarusa, KS
14 answers

We are going to be putting our house on the market. What do we need to do to sell it? We are also looking at other homes, what are typically people getting for asking price- meaning percentage off list price. Any tips for organizing, packing, moving day, negotiating, showing your home? I'm nervous about strangers being in my home. We will be using a realtor but have been in the same home for 11 years, so it is a big decision to move, kind of scary. Thanks in advance for your help.

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answers from Sacramento on

I've just sold, and am packing up to move. It's important to have curb appeal. Make your house look attractive from the road. Potential buyers will usually do a drive-by to check it out even before they decide to inspect. It's their first impression, and if it's bad they wont't come back for inspection.

Declutter, clean, and use lighting in your home. For inspections turn all lights on, even the ones under the range hood (if it has lights). Sell a lifestyle, not a house. If you think your target market will be young families, highlight the good stud for kids. If the market is double income no kids, place more sophisticated items around (such as French cookbooks, music collections etc).

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

When showing your home, take down all personal pictures and decorations. This helps the people viewing to see themselves in the house because they aren't bombarded with your family pics and decorations. Don't have alot of knick knacks out and make use of any architectual features. For instance, if you have built in book cases, don't have them full of stuff. Put one or two things on the shelves, or hard bound books you pick up at a thrift store to highlight them but don't have them so full that they miss the shelves, themselves. Take down blinds and put up sheer curtains to highlight the light coming in the rooms and any views outside the windows. On viewing days put some cinnamon sticks in some apple cider and simmer on low on the stove just a few minutes before viewing. Potential buyers are attracted to homey smells and this smells like an apple pie has been baking.

When you pack your things get some of those colored little circle stickers like people use at garage sales. Assign a color to each room and when you pack a box from that room put the appropriate colored dot on the box. For instance, if you assign the yellow colored dots to the living room, then when you pack up stuff for the living room put the yellow colored dot on the box. This allows you to put the boxes in the appropriate rooms as you unload the moving vehicles without have to do a lot of investigation as to what you are carrying. It makes it so much easier when you box a room at a time. DO NOT take the clothes off the hangers to pack them. If you do, then you have to put them all back on when you upack, adding to the time it takes. It is tedious work. Either get boxes (from uhaul) for hanging clothes or do what we do and just put them in the back seat of your car, laid flat and still on the hangers.

Go through every single room in the house and get rid of anything you haven't used in the last six months unless it's things like photos, momentos, or seasonal items. If you haven't warn that shirt in three years, donate it. You aren't gonna wear it. If your kids toys are broken, missing pieces, or they have lost interest donate them or throw them away. You don't want to be taking stuff you don't or won't use from one home to another.

If you can afford a storage, have room in your garage, or someone else will let you use their garage, start packing now the things that you can live without and just exsist on what you absolutely need. This helps declutter the home for viewing and it saves you a lot of time when you have sold and are on a limited time frame to move out before closing.

That's all I can think of for now.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

* De clutter - remove all items that make your house look overloaded and messy. Even furniture that is too big for a space or that makes the space seem crowded

* De-personalize - remove all pictures of your family, loved ones, etc... No one wants to see your kids pictures in a space they're trying to imagine living in.

* Clean, clean, clean EVERYTHING - baseboards, light switches, fans, lights, floors, etc... Don't give a potential buyer a chance to say anything negative.

* Remove pet items - even if it's just for a showing - pack up the bowls and beds and put in your car. Nobody wants to see (or smell) a pet.

* Make sure your closets are organized - it's a pain, but remove all out of season clothes to make your closets seem bigger. Pack anything you store in a closet and put it in your attic

* Make sure your house has curb appeal. Trim bushes, cut the lawn, plant some pretty blooming flowers in some beds and put a couple pots on your front porch.

* Make known repairs now, so a potential buyer can't ask for $$ to have it fixed.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'll pile on to the great advice you already have been given. We just went through this less than 2 months ago.
De-clutter is the single best advice I can give. Do what you can to clear your kitchen countertops. Most of the things you will have to do to sell the house will be an inconvenience, but keep in mind the long term goal.
Fix as many small things as you can, patch any crack, replace any missing/broken switch/plug covers.
Depends on the market in your area, but homes where we are only on the market 10 days average. So the process is very quick. And the homes here sell for 90-95% of asking. Our realtor told us that 'women don't buy the furniture, but they buy the space' so what furniture you have and the placement does make a difference. And he said 'men buy depending on what they'll have to done once they're there'.
For outside, white flowers and fresh mulch. Our realtor actually wrote a book called "How the Pros sell their homes in 29 days or less", it's .99 on Amazon I think. Clean Clean Clean.
Good Luck!
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Clean out as much of your extraneous stuff as you can. You need to actually "stage" your house as much as possible. Getting all the clutter out is your second order of business after getting rid of stuff you don't need. If you have a basement, box up stuff and neatly put them in a corner. Take down family pictures and things that are really personal. People want to see "themselves" in your house instead of you.

Then clean, clean, clean and paint. Cleaning is mandatory and painting is cheap. You need to fix anything that is broken. Walk around with a critical eye and make a list.

The hardest thing I found about showing a home I was living in was having to get the kids out of the house to keep it clean. I worked and the kids went to daycare. At night after I put them to bed, I cleaned until I dropped. In the morning, I put them in the back seat of my car in the garage and fed them breakfast so that I didn't have dirty dishes and food on the floor, groan! Of course, my car back seat was a mess, but it was better than having a dirty kitchen! I never knew when a realtor was going to bring by a potential buyer, and I had to have my house "showable". On the weekends I took them out or to families' houses. It was pretty hard, I have to say.

In this housing market, I do not believe that anyone will accept a contingency offer for you to buy their house after you sell yours. It does make it problematic, I know. Talk to your realtor about this part of the puzzle.

Good luck and happy selling!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Interview several realtors to find out what they would do to sell your home. Do they stage it themselves, require you to pay for it or do they feel it is necessary in your area? I would start with realtors who have sold homes in your neighborhood and are familiar with all of the highlights of your neighborhood. How do they advertise? Are open houses effective in your neighborhood? Do they host a caravan of realtors that come through on a certain day of the week/month?

If you find a good, experienced realtor that does this as a full-time job, you can trust them to set pricing, negotiate, use creative selling incentives, etc. At the buying end, find a full-time realtor (with all those initials after their name) as well. You want someone who has sold many homes in the areas you are looking so they can tell you if a home is priced well and what is a good negotiating angle. (For example, they can push for a lower price because of the construction of the home or location, even if it is ideal to you.) They can negotiate on resale pros and cons.

When going through your stuff (start now), ask yourself if it is something you really want/need. Is it worth paying the weight and volume to move it? Is it worth having to find a new home for it in your new place? Don't think about what you paid for it. Most of your stuff has gotten its value if you have used it. If you haven't used it, just accept that it was a bad purchase and get rid of it. Plan on having a garage sale. Or if you don't have time, energy, desire, etc. to have a garage sale, start filling boxes to donate. Then every week, start taking stuff to the thrift store of your choice. Remind yourself that you are helping someone by donating your stuff.

Declutter your home. Keep an empty drawer in the kitchen or somewhere that you can quickly stash your mail or other daily clutter. Don't worry about strangers in your home. They must be accompanied by a realtor. If you are home when someone comes by to look, leave if you can. If you can't, go outside in the backyard so they have the freedom to really look around. You want them to look in your cleaned out closets, and decluttered pantry. You want them to spend a lot of time in your home, as they try to imagine themselves and their belongings in it.

Start packing some of your kids' toys. That can really clear up a lot of clutter in your home. Don't worry about your kids missing a particular toy. It will be all "new" and appealing when they unpack at the other end. It will be like they got a lot of new toys since they will not have played with them in a while. And once packed, it stays packed. They have plenty to play with. If they have lots of toys out when they play, put their toys in organizing bins so that they can have one or two bins out at a time. It will be easy to clean up if some buyers are coming by.

Once your house is on the market, make a plan to do a quick pick-up every time you leave the home. You will want it looking clutter-free when potential buyers come by.

When packing, use as many boxes that are the same size. They stack easier in a moving truck. You can get moving boxes sometimes on Craigslist for free. Do you know someone who moved recently? They might still have their boxes. Or you can purchase moving boxes online. There is a lot of stuff that can be packed now that you will not need. The more you can get out of your rooms and closets, the bigger they will look.

Ask your realtor if you need to paint, plant flowers, replace the front door hardware, remove extra furniture, etc. They know what makes a home look inviting and spacious. They know what kind of curb appeal will bring someone inside. Clean all the nooks and crannies. Repair anything that needs it. If your home looks clean and well-cared for, it is much more appealing.

Find a sitter for your kids on moving day. It is a long day and they will want your attention. You also don't want them getting run over by the movers.

Find ways to relax and get away from time to time. Moving is one of the major stressors in your life and you do not want to get in pointless arguments just because you are stressed. Don't expect your husband to feel the same kind of stress that you do. Everyone goes through the process differently. Just get away to the park with the kids for a few hours here and there. Or enjoy the quiet of the library and find new books. Plan ahead what works for you when you get stressed - a bath, some good music, some time to read a magazine, taking the kids for a walking adventure, etc. so you can drop what you are doing for a little break.

Can you tell I have moved a lot?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You've gotten some really great advice. One thing I did before we listed (aside from major cleaning, organized EVERY closet, cabinet, drawer, etc.) was I took a picture of each room of my house and looked at them on my computer. It was amazing what little things stood out when looking at the pictures - "decor" that looked like clutter, dated light fixture, ugly comforter etc. Then I made sure all of those things were fixed so as not to be distracting to a potential buyer. You really want your pictures to stand out as most people will look at your listing online before deciding if they want to schedule a showing. Only other thing I would add is plan to keep an empty laundry basket handy for showings. When you have a showing (and often times you get less notice than you'd like), toss all clutter such as toys, mail, phone chargers, etc. into the basket and throw it in your car when you leave for the showing. I also threw the bath mats in there (no bath mats makes the bathrooms look bigger) and emptied the trash as well. Sold in 9 days!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

First thing is to pack up ALL personal items. Then de-clutter, clean and make sure there are no unfinished projects (make sure everything works properly, if not fix it). You want people to be able to see themselves in your home so keep the rooms simple.
I have found that a fresh coat of paint and professionally cleaned carpets help so much. People want to just move in and not have to do any of that work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

All the advice is good, but make sure you clean all the windows, and change the filters, and clean up your utility room where your hot water heater is! We were surprised that people really spent time in there! Good luck I hope you sell fast! We sold in 5 days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Start by packing personal items and extras. You will be on your way az far as packing for moving.take everything to bare minimums of what you have to have to function. Use paper plates as it is a fast cleanup and you can pack most of your dishes. Pack all but a set of silverare per person. Learn to cook in 1 pan. Less dirty dishes the better. Pack up seasonal clothing and spread out bare essentials in closets to make them appear roomy. Freshen up paint back to builders white. Just because you love a cranberry dining room doesn't mean the next person could see it in their scheme. Interview several realtors and fund out who ia going to work hardest for the least commision and has the best record. Pretty up outside too. Edge sidewalks and driveways, disquise not so nice areas with cheap but nice looking items for camouflage. Clean your fridge make sure it, bathrooms, and basement have no residual odors. Odors that are either known or unexplainable makes one wonder how the whole house was cared for. Run a vacuum every morning once kids leave and wipe down surfaces that easily show dust nightly. If you good views open blinds, clean windows, if the views are questionable get cheap sheer drapes or thin blinds to camo this but keep the space bright.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

all the 'junk' so to say that is visible, remove and put away. less stuff, the better. clean the house top to bottom and then keep up with it as showings happen. if there are things that need to be repaired, do them so now. don't invest anymore into the current home, do enough so that it appears in fine condition. same thing with the yard.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My realtor said to make my home look like a sample home. We rented a storage unit and packed up most of my house including our bedroom closets. We had very few clothes hanging and only a few pair of shoes but my small closets looked spacious:). Same thing with the pantry.
Good luck it is not fun or easy to move especially when you have kids. fyi...our house sold in 9 days but we were also realistic about the price. Price your house right when you first put it on the market. When I see listing that say price reduced , I don't think good deal I think they were priced too high.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Clean out as much stuff as you can. Make things very clean, neat and streamlined. Take down most personal photos so people can envision themselves in the house and not your family. If you can, take some of the furniture out so rooms feel more open and not too cluttered.

Giving advice on a pricing is too hard, since it really varies everywhere you go. Where I live, inventory is low so places go fast and often at or above list price. There are usually multiple offers on a nice home.



answers from Norfolk on

In addition to the great advice you've gotten, here are two tips from when we sold our house a few years ago...
consider getting an inspection done now. It's around $300-500 but will highlight any mechanical/structural items that need to be addressed.
Take a few moments to type up an information sheet that spotlights some of the unique or outstanding features of your home. Potential buyers spend such a small amount of time in your house--make sure while they're walking around, they are aware of, say, the surround sound in the living room, or the closet organizers in the master bedroom. Remember, they're probably looking at several houses today, and you want yours to stand out.
Good luck!
Oh, and when we had a showing, we put relaxing, jazzy music playing softly on the stereo. It helped set the mood. Like another post said, you're selling a lifestyle, not a house.

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