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Chapter 9 Selling Your Home in a Divorce

Selling your home in a Divorce
Chapter 9

Remember the discussion on staging?

When readying your home to show to potential buyers, you must encourage them to visualize living in the home, but not YOUR home.

Removing all of your personal items such as photos, trophies, and collectibles is the process of depersonalizing your home.

Knickknacks and wall decor are also personal taste items that may distract buyers from seeing the home as theirs.

Carefully pack and store your treasured items out of sight.

Storage units that can be rented monthly are a good option.

Declutter and Discard

It is understandably inconvenient to live in your home without your "stuff' anywhere to be found.

Think of decluttering your home as interior curb appeal.

Any extra furniture or unnecessary items like books, magazines, CD collections, and hobby supplies all add weight and visual distraction in a room .

The more spacious your home appears, the more appealing it will be.

Minimize as much as you can without compromising your lifestyle.

You want the home shopper to SEE what your home has to offer, not to guess.

Make a Plan

•List each room of the house, noting the amount of clutter in each room, including closets.

•Declutter rooms one at a time, attacking from the least to the greatest.

•Clear out each room, keeping only essential items.

•Donate or discard clothes, decor, toys, and other items no longer used.

•Box up possessions that you want to keep but don't currently use and put them in storage.

•Remind yourself to keep surfaces clean and free of collected things.

Here is a room-by-room list:

•Kitchen — Clear the counters, leaving only three or four essential items.

Keep towels, dishrags, and potholders out of sight Soaps and cleaners should be stored under the sink.

Rarely used small appliances can be packed and put in storage.

Pack away teacups, serving dishes, and platters if you showcase them.

If you want to draw attention to decorative shelving, put a few pieces out for show.

Seasonal dishes and accessories should also be stored.

Remove any pest control traps or poison from the pantry and closets.

Appliances are not extra shelving or storage.

Buyers will not want to find the microwave used as a bread box or the oven as cookware storage.

•Bathrooms — Remove everything from the cabinets and drawers.

Keep what you need or will use and dispose of the rest.

Store prescription medications out of sight and out of reach.

Find a safe place for jewelry, keepsakes, and perfumes.

Store hair products and styling tools in the cabinets.

Make the bathroom look like it is rarely used.

•Bedrooms — The main focus is showcasing closet space.

Only hang clothes that you wear most often, and store the rest.

When it comes to clothing, we generally only wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time.

•Dining Areas — Clear off any flat surfaces,including the dining table, leaving only subtle decor such as a vase of flowers.

•Living Areas — Living rooms, family rooms, and great rooms. Gather stacks of books, magazines, remotes, toys and gaming gadgets, and throws.

Again, clear all flat surfaces, packing away the unnecessary items and storing magazines and electronics in decorative bins.

Fold and drape throws on chairs.

•Office Space — Organization is the focus for office space. Overflowing shelves do not reflect useful space, just the opposite.

Keep all personal papers stored out of sight.

•Linen Closets — Organize and clean out Store seasonal blankets, clothes, and outerwear off-site. Keep linens to a minimum.

•Laundry Room - Whether your washer and dryer are in the basement, laundry room, or closet, you should make the room or area neat.

Organize what you keep with shelving or bins. Don't leave clothes on the floor. Store detergents, bleach, and softeners in cabinets.

Don't use the tops of the appliances for storage.

•Garage — Although cleaning the garage may be the most daunting of decluttering tasks, it can be as simple as getting rid of things you haven't touched in years.

Boxes of broken toys, useless sports gear, and rusty tools all seem to migrate to the dark corners of the garage.

This is the best time to donate or discard Other items like wall paint, extra tiles for the floor, and bicycles can be shelved or hung.

Pet items also need to be out of the way when a buyer comes by.

See the section on Pet Peeves on how to deal with pets while selling your home.

Deep Cleaning: Spotless Is the Name of the Game

Doing a thorough, deep cleaning of your home is vital. It works for people selling a car (they get more money), and it will work for you when selling your home.

Deep Cleaning: Now that the clutter is gone, move on to cleaning each room.

It makes sense to clean each room after you have removed the clutter.

Tidy each room from top to bottom. Be meticulous, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Home buyers will open cabinets, pantries, and closets to assess their storage opportunities.

General List of To-do's:

•Get rid of the cobwebs from every corner of your home.

•Dust ceiling fans and lighting fixtures while you clean out the cobwebs.

Dust your blinds.

Wash the walls.

This is a must before repainting as well.

Clean all glass surfaces: mirrors, television screens, patio doors, and tables.

Polish all wooden surfaces.

Wipe down any leather furniture.

Clean out and reorganize kitchen cabinets.

Buyers will open them.

Attack all appliances with cleaning fervor.

Make them shine!

Sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, faucets, and countertops need to be impeccable.

All tiled areas, including grout, must be free of discoloration, stains, and mildew.

Clean the window treatments.

Wash the windows so that the natural light will enhance your living space.

Vacuum rugs, shampoo carpets, and mop floors thoroughly.

Kitchen and Bath: Focus on These High Impact Areas

The most important rooms in your home are the kitchen and bathrooms.

A kitchen can sell a house because it is the heart of a home, the place family and friends gather to enjoy one another's company.

Buyers will be turned off by dirt and grime, cooking smells, and stinky trash.

Clean all cabinet surfaces as well as under the sink.

Bathrooms are so important to Canadians that most homes have at least two or three.

As you work towards selling your home, it is imperative that the bathrooms are kept clean and odor-free.

Potential buyers might forgive a less than stellar child's room, but a questionable bathroom or kitchen could cost you a sale.

Pet Peeves

Pets are wonderful, but home buyers want to see your home without excited, barking dogs or friendly cats.

Pet dander and odors are not going to provide a positive viewing experience for them.

Some might have allergies, while others consider pets an unnecessary distraction.

Do your best to minimize the presence of your pets.

Dog dishes, cat litter boxes, and beds need to be clean at all times.

Pets should be relegated to cages or backyards while showing your home.

With all the staging work complete, you are ready to list and showcase your home.

In the next section, you will learn how to price your home.

A real estate professional is your best information source for how to sell your home quickly without lowering the price.

There is much to know about pricing, marketing, and negotiations when selling your home.


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The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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