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Biggest hurdle to selling your home might not be what you think

Selling a home comes with many potentially stressful confrontations:

  • Arriving at an attractive listing price
  • Negotiating an offer
  • Home inspections
  • Bank appraisal, and then
  • Moving out

While many people will admit that selling a home can be one of the most stressful experiences they ever went through, they are often referring to the memory of hoping someone will make a suitable offer on their home.

But one of the biggest hurdles in selling a home involves dealing with the contents of the home.
While arriving at an acceptable, bottom-line offer price can account for many a sleepless night, most people expect that they will have to negotiate the sale price of the home.

Likewise, they realize the buyer will want a home inspection. Thus they bite their nails, hoping the inspector will give them a good report.

Then, once money matters and home inspection issues are resolved, sellers often ignore the essential final step awaiting them as settlement approaches.


Dealing with cleaning out the contents of a home, condo, townhouse, or whatever, can take its toll if sellers are not adequately prepared for that dreaded, move-out event. The common refrain being, How did we ever get so much stuff?

The fact is, most people have accumulated a massive amount of objects over the years. Often relegated to the basement, garage, attic, or yes, even a costly storage unit, they are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Forgotten. For years. Until it's time to move on.

So to keep the stress of de-cluttering and packing at bay, here are the top 5 things to consider when it's your turn to clean out and move on:

1. Evaluate the contents of your home well before you put your house on the market. Once the 'For Sale' sign is posted and listed on the multiple listing service, it's almost too late to de-clutter. First impressions matter, so to get the best chance for an offer at the start, make the home as lean and clean as possible.

2. Don't get overwhelmed. Looking at the contents of an entire home at one time can freeze you into inaction. Instead, develop a plan for approaching every room in the house as a mini-living area. Decide which items will stay, and which can go, and make a list.

3. Don't procrastinate. Set aside a couple of hours each day to deal with each room. Have boxes, trash bags, storage containers, etc. already available for each room. The size, type, and number of containers will vary, depending on each room and the decisions you will be making about the contents there.

4. Line-up helpers. Don't wait until the last minute to find out who's available to donate time and muscle to your project. Be sure to dentify how you will dispose of unwanted items. Donation centers often have free, pick-up services, provided dates are scheduled in advance.

5. Do not underestimate how long the process will take. It took years to collect. It will take more time that you imagine to clear it out.

Most buyers will do a 'walk through' of the house prior to settlement. They expect the house to be 'broom clean' and empty of your contents. If it's not, you may risk having a delayed settlement, or having to paying someone else to move it for you.


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