We’re Moving…and consequently learning a lot about home staging

It’s decided. We are packing up and moving later this year. After I landed a job in another city my husband and I decided it was no longer sensible to stay where we are. We only live here because it is where I always worked. My husband works in another town and now I am too. Both of us commuting is difficult. And with our son in daycare, it is nerve wracking to know that if there was an emergency we wouldn’t be able to get to him quickly.

We started looking late last year in the town where my husband works. I work in Mississauga now and the housing prices there are much higher than where we are now (Kitchener). With my husband working in Guelph we decided to look there. We ended up going with a new build and it will close in July 2016. That gives us plenty of time to sell this house right?

Well it turns out, if you want people to pay top dollar for your house you have to put some work into it. So for the last few months it seems weekends have been spent getting the house ready to move. Our realtor went through our house Room by Room and told us everything he suggested  to do to get it ready to sell.

This list is long.

At one point, I wanted to argue with the realtor. I said “Why do we have to stage? A lot of the houses we looked at weren’t staged?”

His response was something along the lines of “You didn’t want to buy those houses though remember?”

Oh yah, there is something unappealing about seeing a person’s dirty dishes in the sink when you are looking to buy their house….

Some of the jobs are not too hard and won’t be done until we’re listing. Like packing up most of Calvin’s toys and decluttering the house. But then there were bigger jobs, like installing a closet door in the front hall…yah, for some reason that was taken down before we moved in. I always hated it and we finally installed a new door and I can’t believe the difference. Previously, the first thing people would see when they walked in was a closet with no door. When you are selling a house and those people are buyers, it means the very first thing the buyer sees is a project. We also installed new counter tops in our kitchen. I guess the previous owners thought that cutting boards and trivets were optional items and decided to burn and cut through the existing laminate. The cabinets were a bit dated but we really didn’t want to tackle that job. So instead I bought new modern hardware and I can’t tell you the difference it made!

(If you hate your kitchen cabinets, try replacing the hardware. It made me stop hating them!).

These are items we noticed and didn’t like when we bought the house. But we also realized we could use them to our advantage and get the price down and we would fix them ourselves…as it turns out, we ended up living with a lot of the problems and are now only rushing to finish them as we are ready to sell ourselves. (Sigh. Lesson learned, next house, try to do some of the projects I want done so I can enjoy them too!)

A few weeks ago we took apart Calvin’s change table and rearranged his bedroom to make it appear bigger. And it really does make the room feel bigger. Of course, after 10 days of changing him on the floor constantly I was sick of that and now Calvin get’s changed on a bed. Which is actually rather inconvenient since the bed is not in the same room as all his stuff. I am not going to lie though. His face when we were rearranging his room was one of panic and stress. His facial expressions varied from confusion to stress to excitement about the finding of a random puzzle piece previously thought to be lost but reclaimed from the dreaded land of “under the crib”.

This week we have been working on touching up paint throughout the house which included repainting the bathroom ceiling completely. Cleaning out the trash left by the previous owner from the crawl space and taking a trip to the dump and recaulking the bathtub. (And yes, recaulking the bathtub was my job).

We are now a few weeks out from when we were planning to list the house and it doesn’t seem like the list has gotten smaller. In fact, it actually grew. We found water damage in the unfinished crawl space below the main level of the house and so we have a professional company coming in next week to fix that.

What I have learned so far from the tasks we have completed is that when you are selling your house staging is important.  Husband and I have both exclaimed how much better things looked after doing the changes suggested by our realtor. I know it is hard to take down personal mementos and remove furniture and keep nothing on your counter tops. Living in a house that is trying to sell is a pain in the ass. For that reason I hope our house doesn’t last long on the market) but when you are selling a house you have to think of it as “not your house anymore.” You want it to appeal to other people, and shockingly enough, your tastes are not the same as other people’s tastes.

So for the time being, we will suck it up. Spend our evenings and weekends doing projects and living in house that no longer feels like a home. But hopefully at the end of all this, we will get the a good price for the house.


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