By Clare LeSage
As I catch up with my Realtor friends, the spring real estate market is in full swing this year. With February and March seeing a surge in home listings, the good news is that properties are swiftly changing hands. While the pace of sale varies, the trend is upward. Recently, I advised a client that the worst-case scenario would be her home selling quickly and necessitating a swift move. Why? Because she wasn't prepared for such a quick transition.
Caught in the whirlwind of excess belongings and a limited timeframe, the tasks at hand can feel overwhelming. During the time her home was on the market, awaiting that pivotal moment – the offer – my client remained inert. Although her house had been prepped for sale with depersonalization and staging, she didn't take any further action. But now, with the offer negotiated, accepted, and the purchase and sales agreement inked, she's left with just six weeks to manage it all.
Having inhabited the home for more than four decades, an accumulation of possessions resides in the attic, basement, and garage, not to mention the closets in the three bedrooms. The excess furniture, household items, and appliances further complicate the situation. Six weeks may seem like a reasonable timeframe, but it's quite short, especially when physical limitations or limited available assistance restrict progress to evenings and weekends.
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Reflecting on what could have been accomplished while the house was awaiting its buyer, here are five suggestions:
- Tackle each room, methodically sorting, cleaning, and organizing closets, drawers, cabinets, and surfaces, all while maintaining the staged appearance during showings.
- Dedicate quality time, leveraging available help, to continue organizing the basement, attic, and garage areas.
- Capitalize on evenings and free moments to sort and organize photographs, rescuing them from the confines of shoeboxes and drawers.
- Engage in ongoing efforts to curate your collection of books, CDs, records, video tapes, and DVDs.
- Initiate a garage sale or arrange for charitable pickups of excess furniture and household items you won't be taking with you.
As you might imagine, my client was plunged into panic mode as none of the above was addressed, and now time is of the essence. While moving day eventually arrived, it wasn't without its share of drama, a few tears, and multiple anxiety-inducing moments. There may have been a few items inadvertently discarded that could have been sold, donated, or given away, but the damage was minimal. Forces were rallied, and outside help was enlisted to expedite the process.
In conclusion, the moral of this story is clear: when faced with consequential decisions, it's always more manageable and cost-effective to make well-considered choices when you have the luxury of time and space, rather than being thrust into a state of panic.
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