An old friend who just retired from his career called me last week to inquire about downsizing. He and his wife are empty nesters, and have no need for the size they needed with kids in the house. They aren’t interested in shoveling anymore (and I can’t say I blame them for that.)
So, what are the steps you can take to begin the process of downsizing?
1.) Call your realtor.
Just like my friend did, calling your Realtor for a free, confidential analysis is the best first step you can take. Before you put the home on the market, a realtor can pin-point the specifics about your home that need attention. As you know, some simple cosmetic changes can increase curb appeal, quickly. A Realtor can help you prioritize these, and even connect you with certified, reliable contractors to help you out. (And if you don’t have a Realtor you’re working with, call me anytime at 414-962-8888 – I’d be happy to help!)
2.) Begin the de-cluttering.
This is the tougher part. Having moved a few times ourselves, my wife and I have now sent the toys and books our children loved along with them — or had them throw out the items they didn’t need. Items that seemed sentimental when they graduated high school may not be quite as sentimental anymore, so you may be throwing out more than you anticipate. For items you keep, organize them. Stacked boxes in a basement look far more attractive to a potential buyer than messy piles, so do your best to make the items you will be moving as pleasant as possible. And, if you do have excess items you don’t know what to do with, consider donating them to a local charity, or posting them on Craigslist. It’s a great way of having a rummage sale — even in the middle of February.
3.) Dig into the deep clean.
Mopping and vacuuming is a good start, but deep cleaning a house before listing and showing it is also an essential plan. This means cleaning out cob webs, wiping off switch plate covers and ceiling fans, and absolutely no mildew in the shower. Bathroom cleanliness can be a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Re-grout tile that needs fixing, wipe down toilets, and make sure showers are spotless. Taking care of little issues like this can easily save you from a buyer asking for a new coat of paint or a complete bathroom re-do (to the tune of $5,000 or more.)
These are the first three steps you’ll need to take before even putting your home on the market. We’ll continue to discuss what happens when you list your house staging, showings, open houses and more in future articles.
Desty Lorino has been a Realtor in Shorewood for half of the nearly 50 years he has lived in the village.
If you’ve downsized, or know someone who has, I’d love to hear what worked for them as well. Have them comment below, or e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org