Checklist For Downsizers: How To Prepare The Family Home For Sale

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In my years working as an agent, I’ve met a great many sellers who’ve been completely overwhelmed at the prospect of downsizing.

I definitely sympathise. After living in a home for decades, sorting through an entire family’s worth of possessions and preparing a place for sale can be a mammoth task. But I’ve also seen downsizers who’ve managed this process in clever ways.

Here are the tips I learned from these sellers about preparing their properties for sale:

1. Start de-cluttering as early as possible

No matter how daunted you’re feeling, don’t procrastinate on sorting through what you want to take and what you can live without. Don’t try to tackle it all at once. 30 minutes a day or a few hours each weekend will lead to better results than a huge, last-minute effort. The key here is to be ruthless: If in doubt, don’t keep it.

2. Sell it, donate it – just don’t hang onto it!

Soon you should have a collection of things that won’t be coming with you to your new home. If time is on your side it’s worth selling quality items through eBay, Gumtree or even a Facebook group. If that’s too time-consuming, donating to charity is always a good option.

If you’re still struggling for space after this first round of de-cluttering, consider calling on the expertise of a professional organiser to sort through those items you’re not ready to make a call on. And if all else fails, rent out an off-site storage locker until you’re ready to sort through the last few boxes.

3. Before you sell, call in the professionals

Now it’s time to enlist some help to get your property completely ready for sale. You can always tackle these tasks yourself, but to save time and energy I’d suggest outsourcing at least a few of these key tasks:

  • Consider a fresh coat of paint, at least in the main areas of the house.
  • Get a deep clean for carpets, walls and hard-to-reach corners.
  • Set up regular garden maintenance, especially in the weeks leading up to inspections.
  • Hire a handyman help to fix small issues like dripping taps and jammed cupboard doors.
  • Look at each room in your house in terms of lighting. Are there areas that need to be brighter when buyers arrive?
  • Budget for flowers on inspection day, or hire a few indoor plants to bring life to forgotten corners.

I know how stressful downsizing can be for people who’ve lived in their family home for many decades. But by starting early, asking for help when you need it, and checking off these few simple tasks you’ll be reducing stress and potentially adding thousands to the sale price of your home.