How long did it take you to get your home ready to show?

maurenemmMarch 18, 2011

Another question from me as I'm starting to freak out a little about the prospect of putting our house on the market soon. We're interviewing realtors this weekend and hopefully one of them can calm me down some.

How long did it take for you to get your home ready to be put on the market? I expect a wide range of answers here but it might help me to know that others have been through this and survived (LOL). I think I'm refering more to how long it took to get your house clean/decluttered and minor repairs or cosmetic work (rather than bigger projects).

Did you try to space the work out over months or have a mad dash to try to get it all done? Were there things you didn't get done that you wish you would have? Or conversely, are there things you were sure you needed to do but then figured out later that you didn't need to do?

Any tips for me on getting my house ready? Thanks!

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I'm sure the free-cycle people will pass out over this, but we just rented a dumpster and had at it over a 2 week period. Anything we hadn't used in years got tossed. Anything we wanted but weren't going to use before the move went in plastic bins. We bought a couple of cheap, plastic shelving units for the garage and put the bins on them. Not counting furniture, we probably got rid of 25% of the "stuff" we owned. An added bonus was that organizing and packing early made the move much easier.

After that, we did a top to bottom cleaning inside and out. That took another 2 weekends.

I personally wouldn't stretch it out if you can help it. Things get dirty fast (especially if you have kids or pets), so if you go too slowly, the first stuff you cleaned will be dirty before you get to the end! Also, I found it much easier to keep things clean if EVERYTHING was clean. If there is a cluttered room left, the tendency is to just drop additional clutter there "since it is a mess already."

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:44AM
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I can't wait to hear answers...I am freaking out a bit at the prospect, but Bill's point about decluttering first is a great one!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Our house is currently on the market. We had to plan/budget for a few months before being able to get our house ready. We had some repair work that needed to be done first. We still have some things that need to be done, but funds have run out for this house. I did paint all of the public areas of the house and the master bedroom (we do have a small house so this was pretty quick). I rented a storage shed for some furniture items. We're fortunate to have the entire space over the 2 car garage floored for storage...alot of our stuff is up there. I did make several donations to Goodwill and the dump. I've cleaned and de-clutterd as much as I can. I get to stay home so I was able to really focus and got most everything ready inside in about a week.

I feel pretty good about all the work we've done. I have considered a few other projects, but at our price we just can't sink any more money in this house.

This has not been the most fun thing I've ever done and I certainly can't wait until we sell. We're finally getting regular request for showings since we lowered our price and I'm feeling stress about how clean my house is. I think this part of the process is worse than getting ready to go on the market.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 3:15PM
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I agree with the OP that you can't get too far ahead because things tend to "clutter up" again. Dh and I started a few months in advance with the de-cluttering, then fixing things around the house, and never ending cleaning. Funny how some things we had just not worked on for awhile, trim, landscaping, etc. but when we put the house on the market it looked so nice!
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:25PM
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I'm a clean freak so everything was already painted and clean. Then we took about a month to fix a couple of minor things and decluttered. I thought we were finished, but as we continue to be on the market, I continue to find things that could be improved and so I don't stop. Like today I decided to put a fresh coat of paint on a table and a milk can that I have on the porch. What I want to know is, why can't things be this nice when we're not moving? lol

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:19PM
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Longer than you will think it will take. Prepare for the unexpected. Like others we did declutter first. We had 1800 Got Junk out once and then did more work and decluttering and had them come out again. That did help a lot. We did staging and some fairly significant things (repainting, recarpeting and so on) so that took time. We didn't sell the first time took the house off the market and relisted and even then it took a few weeks to get it all done.

Also recommend having someone come in to do a deep cleaning right before you list. That helps.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:56PM
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One thing that helped me... My realtor has a stager who walks through the house and notes things that could be done, rating them by biggest bang for least effort. I implememented a couple of her suggestions, which took very little time and money, and they helped a lot. It made me feel like I could relax when I read "shows nicely" in her room-by-room report. Without her, I'd still have been freaking out; but her positive assessment took a load off my mind. As it was, I could stop changing things and just keep on cleanin'!

Another thing that really helped was that I
hired a handyman from one of those franchise places and he did everything in less than half a day -- replaced a shower trim kit, painted a window, tightened a couple of things, replaced a couple of door handle sets, tinkered with a toilet. Voila! Of course it took me a while to shop for the hardware and then order it and wait for it to come in, but I was busy with the magic eraser so the time passed very quickly. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 12:03AM
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I started a year before because there were repairs we knew had to be done. Of course, like a 'house of cards' one repair turned into 100! We needed to replace two sliding doors which had fogged up, doing this led to tearing out a sun-room (Carpenter ants were discovered and beams were eaten)...which led to rebuilding that room, which led to replacing the entire roof (we had no plans to do), which then led to repainting, flooring, etc.

In my foyer, we had 3 lose tiles. I used a handiman to cement the tiles which led to tearing up the entire foyer floor and replacing with new tile one week before we went on the market.

We refinished all our wood floors in January which was the biggest mistake of all. Even though they said they were 'dustless' the whole house was full of fine saw dust.

We rented a storage unit and filled it to the brim eventually. It was difficult because we had the holidays and didn't want to remove our holiday things and waited until February to finally clear it all out. We replaced some bathroom counter tops which led to replacing a sink and vanity. I refinished a tub.

Long and short, I am glad we started early as we ran into unexpected problems which took time. When we finally listed, the house looked new and spotless.

Never looked as good all the years we lived there. I didn't want to move!

We listed June 15, 2010 and went to contract Oct 15, 2010.

It is never too early to start. Good luck,


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:18AM
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past 3 years. But, it was gradual. I had the kids go through their toys. I also took off wallpaper and patched nails, painted. I repainted all the wood work. replaced all the carpet on the first floor with laminate wood flooring. De-cluttered!!! I should of went through stuff a long time ago! We finally rented a storage unit. Best thing we ever did! It's half full of plastic containers (someone recommended those on this site). It has toys, clothes, and all sorts of other stuff. We are running to goodwill this weekend with a van load. We cleaned our attic out last summer. Our attic is full, 2 huge closets in our finished basement nearly filled. I took down all the shelves. sold some, stored some. Basically, I am getting everything out of our home. I have another month, and in comes the new carpet for upstairs bedrooms. First thing we did the first year, was take out outdated lighting. It was the easiest to do, but time-consuming for us. Flooring was also time-consuming. Right now, you can't walk in this house without passing containers partially filled. Trying to balance so kids and I can carry them. Start now, and get rid of stuff!!If you want to keep it, rent an storage unit.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:06AM
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Here's a post from when the forum was busier- Sellers, what are you doing to prep?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Thanks everyone! Lots of good tips!

I started purging the house in mid January. As of this past weekend, I've been through all of the rooms and closets except the linen closet. Our house looks so much bigger now! Now I'm onto little repairs and cleaning and making appointments for the work we're hiring someone to do. Our plan is to get the house on the market in 3-4 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:49AM
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One tip that stands out to me right now with the weather getting better would be grass seed if it applies. I found quick start seed & it made a huge difference.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:19AM
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roselvr: Thanks for that link to the previous thread. Makes me tired just reading it. And YES we definately need to re-seed some of our grass where it got chewed up when we had a shed installed and where we had this big old pine tree. Also have to replace the nandinas my DH mowed over last year. (I'm still miffed about that.)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Purging and cleaning can be very cleansing, can't they? I was amazed when we did it - I have also made a conscious effort to keep it decluttered and stop accumulating so much crap. "One in, one out" rule for clothes and cookbooks (I had a problem - lol) has been really helpful. A year later, and still clutter free!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:35AM
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About two months. I was in grad school a year ago, and our plan was that we would start getting the house ready when I was finished. I started purging/donating some things right away the following summer after I graduated, but only started doing repairs, upgrades and that sort of thing a couple of months before we put the place on the market. I would wake early, paint or work on repairs until it was time to get ready for work, work, pick up kids, feed them or take them to activities, then put them to bed. Then start working on some project. I would come home during my lunch breaks to let service guys in and out of the house.

House went on the market right around Thanksgiving, and there it sits four months later. Have one lowball offer and we're just waiting for and acceptable one soon.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 4:18PM
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It took me a little over a month to get the house ready to be put on the market. We had already decided when we bought the house that we were going to fix it up nice for us so we could enjoy it while we lived there. The main things we needed to do were stage, clean, declutter, repaint the non-nuetral rooms, and upgrade sinks and faucets that we hadn't upgraded yet and replace carpet in the bedrooms. I did some extras like freshly painting the closets and laundry room white.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 6:06PM
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The houses we have sold we dug in and ran at it -- cleaning, fixing, painting and staging. As others have said, it makes sense to not space things out.

But it all depends on your own schedule, how motivated you are to sell quickly, and what condition your house is in.

One advantage to taking it more slowly is that you may get new ideas for things like rearranging furniture and improving curb appeal. And if you are staging, you'll be able to take advantage of sales and second hand purchases that help keep the budget on track. Also, you could select the best time of year to actually list the property -- probably early spring unless you're in a seasonal resort area. The most serious buyers are often the first ones to show up.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Home Staging Tips

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:21AM
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