We all think about it, right? Listing our house. It’s the middle of winter and we have spent the month of January binging DIY shows. Maybe it is time downsize or move to a quieter location to live a Hallmark movie lifestyle. #wink Or, maybe a move to the city with an elevator and parking garage. I get these calls from clients who just want to talk through a potential move. And, often that talk ends with my suggestion of the 10 items to pack before the 1st showing.
When my sellers get an offer (and go under contract) they never say, “I am so glad we didn’t pack any of this crap up before we listed our home.” Never.
10 Items to Pack Before the 1st Showing
Whatever your plans may be, here is a list of things to pack before the first showing. And, the best part of this list; it’s just a reminder to re-evaluate the missing game pieces or the college textbooks from three decades past. Have any of us re-read American History?
There are many reasons to pack everyday items before listing your home. I remind my sellers that buyers want to visualize themselves in the seller’s home. Potential buyers do not want to see 12 years of accumulated games, books and personal hygiene products in their future home.
One of the biggest mistakes sellers and listing agents make is in the excitement of getting the house on the market, the home needs two more rounds of the “pack & stack” method.
The pack & stack method is my version of Marie Kondo’s method.
With just a few additional days or weeks sellers can thoughtfully pack and stack boxes in a garage pane, basement or storage unit. It gives the seller time to make trips to the donation center or to make arrangments to haul out the big stuff.
This process makes rooms appear larger and cleaner. Here is a list of items I recommend to my clients to pack before the home is listed.
10 Items to Pack Before the 1st Showing
This list works to organize the clutter for a future list date too. No pressure.
Books can be a distraction in home offices. Buyers start to look at the jacket titles and all of sudden they are more curious about the homeowners than the house. Books in kids’ rooms get confused with clutter when a buyer’s eye scans the room.
Like books, trophies, are distractions. They inadvertently tell a story about the current family. The goal is for the buyers to create their own stories of their (your) home.
And, just like books, trophies scream clutter.
3. Barware & Serving Pieces
Unless you are selling your home during the holidays, go ahead and pack the majority of barware and serving trays. It is a good time to get lean the red and white wine glasses and the 1999 wine glasses with chunky stems.
4. Linens & Closets
Storage is a big deal for most buyers and a stuffed linen closet in a small home is a visual that buyers remember. Organized, lean stacks linens and empty cabinets give buyers a chance to envision their own stuff in those same closets.
And, yes buyers do open closet doors.
5. Toys & Games
See items 1 & 2. Toys & Games are rarely neatly stacked on a bookcase. Usually, there are smashed covers, random cards and dice. Put aside a few favorites (in a neat closet) and either donate or pack and stack.
6. Holiday & Seasonal Decor
If you are listing your home in April, the goal is to be under contract before Memorial Day. So if you are selling in April and your listing price matches the similar sold numbers you will be out of your current home before the 4th of July (depending on the market you could be out Memorial Day weekend).
So pack & stack the pumpkins, the flocked Christmas trees and the Thanksgiving garland.
7. Seasonal Clothes
They say, okay I say, a closet is a peek into a person’s state of mind! Ha!
You should see my closet right now. It drives my husband nuts.
Wardrobe boxes make it easy to hang clothes and store them in the garage. Of course, it makes sense to hold onto a jacket or puffy vest, but you may not need the snow boots in June. Of course, in Colorado, it is not unusual to get snow above 9000 ft. in July.
8. Paper & Junk Drawers
I have an entire cabinet of greeting cards, stationery, thank you notes, Christmas cards from last year. If a buyer opens a cabinet in an office, and you should assume they will, you do not want the contents of an entire shelf to slide onto the floor. Store them in plastic bags or donate.
Along this same line are the endless crayons, markers, pens pencils, staples, erasers, and notepads.
It will make your drawers appear larger and your home will feel neater.
9. Candles, Vases, Accessories
I have an entire cabinet for new and slightly used candles. I have a cabinet filled with 8oz mason jars from the one year I made strawberry jam. If you are getting ready for a move, chances are you will not make preserves six weeks before you move to a new home or a short term rental.
10. Toiletries & Meds
One of the things I tell sellers to get out of sight (and pack) is the unnecessary toiletries. Buyers do not want to see a homeowner’s morning routine. Pack up the travel size soaps and shampoos, the 11 bottles of nail polish and the Costco 2-pack of Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner.
And, please pack up the bathroom rugs.
The goal is to make your house shine and to remove your “footprint” from the home. And, guess what happens? Sellers get excited and motivated to sell. Cleaning, packing and stacking boxes is a great way to get the entire family involved. Let the kids decide what toys must stay on the beds and what games can be boxed or donated.
Yes, there are exceptions to all these things and there are birthday parties and Mother’s Day brunches during listings.
But I suggest sellers pack to the rule; not the exception.
If you are selling your home this spring; good luck. If you have any questions, please ask.
I am a licensed Realtor in Colorado and love all things home! You can contact me here.