A Comprehensive Guide to Preparing Your Home for Sale Before Cross Country Moving

Posted in Moving Tips & Tricks,Planning the Move on March 10, 2021

If you’ve decided to sell your property, you will have a lot on your hands. Preparing your home for sale requires a practical and detailed plan. Since the majority of properties don’t stay on the market for too long, act quickly to draw potential buyers with ease. As a matter of fact, most experts would recommend that you start decluttering and packing as soon as you decide to sell. Now, let’s see about prioritizing, timeline, and tasks you’ll need to fulfill. Here’s an extensive guide for you.

How to Prepare Your House for Sale – A Quick Overview

Although you can (and should) follow some universal preparing your home for sale tips and guidelines, there’s no such thing as a single timetable to match all homes. Still, with proper organization, this could be doable within one week. However, if you’re in for some substantial downsizing, the process could take more. Nonetheless, learning a few moving hacks will unquestionably help you arrange your household before selling it:

  • Declutter and pack your garage and storage items,
  • Move on to the living room and do the same,
  • Leave up to five days to arrange your bedroom and spare rooms,
  • Clean up and pack your kitchen and bathroom.

Once you have finished these tasks, got rid of the unnecessary clutter, and packed your belongings, you’ll have a few make-over assignments left:

  • Paint and fix the minor damage you encounter upon moving furniture
  • Scrub and clean thoroughly
  • Rearrange the items that aren’t packed in a way that will feel the most appealing and comfortable for your potential buyers.
residence exterior
Stick to the plan and create a customized timetable according to our guidelines

Create a Home Inventory Plan

Before you start to pack, create a household inventory list to be sure that nothing gets lost in the move. You should:

  • Mark the priorities,
  • List the moving essentials properly,
  • Come up with a system that works for you,
  • Print the list and look it over whenever you need.

Also, it would be helpful to download an inventory app that will help you sort things out. Take a picture of each box before closing it.

household inventory
You must prepare the full inventory list before packing

Garage and Storage

Even if you’re not planning to sell your property and move out, cleaning out the garage, basement, and storage rooms is a demanding and challenging task. These areas are most likely packed with unused or outdated items. Once you’ve organized these rooms and decluttered them, you will get the extra space you will undoubtedly need to store boxes later. Making room for your belongings helps you cut on the moving costs too. Once you’ve made more space to pack and preserve your stuff neatly, you won’t need to ask for a full service from your cross-country movers. This assignment will take approximately three days.

tools and equipment
The garage is usually the messiest area, so start your cleaning and decluttering there

Living Room Decluttering and Packing

Once you tackle this room, you will create an enjoyable, decluttered place to work as you move on to the bedrooms. Checking the prime living area off of your list is an important step. That is why you should dedicate your time to the living room right after you’ve organized and packed your garage and basement. The small items from your living room are also easier to pack. As a rule, packing fragile items you have in your kitchen is a far more demanding process than your decorative pillows. And also, small living room objects are less likely to be essential.

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Bedroom and Spare Rooms

This process usually takes up to five days. Firstly, check your inventory list again and start decluttering. Since the living room represents a more functional space and you spend more time in it, bedrooms should come right after it. You probably invite your guests to your living and dining room, so the area where you sleep is most likely more cluttered than you think, which is why you will need more boxes than you know. You could try and get some of the packing materials for free to relieve your moving budget a bit. Still, you could rely on the professional long-distance movers you hired for your relocation to take care of packing supplies, as every company offers this service as well.

Take one box or a container that you will label as “necessities.” It should be filled with everything you will need right upon moving out, including carefully folded clothes, packed shoes, and other everyday-use objects.

bed, nightstand, and a lamp
Regardless of how tidy you think your bedroom is, you will have to provide more packing materials than it seemed at first

Pack Your Kitchen and Bathroom

Although the kitchen is the most complicated room for packing, getting it ready for the visits of real estate agents and potential buyers only takes around two days. The drill is the same as it was for your bedroom:

  • Pick up the essentials from your kitchen and bathroom and pack them into separate boxes with proper labels,
  • Set aside your cleaning equipment and products because you’ll need them again soon,
  • As for the kitchen, start by assembling the basic cooking kit.

You can mostly pack your dishes and move on to packing glasses you’ve chosen to keep. However, you will bump into some mismatched cups and mugs or unused pantry and pots with a missing lid. Those items should be immediately discarded. The food and bathroom products must also undergo the assessment process. Everything that is about to expire should be tossed. Essential bathroom items that must be stashed are products like toothpaste and toilet paper. Keep them close. Just don’t display them in front of potential buyers.

fruit by the sink
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets will require a second glance afterward

Donate or Sell Unwanted Items

Every household item that you no longer plan to use should find its way out of your home (new one included). You can separate them into three categories and pile them up room-by-room:

  • The things that aren’t in good condition and should be thrown away,
  • Items that no longer suit you can be donated,
  • Some valuable objects that you don’t intend to keep can earn you the extra buck on a garage or yard sale.
Packing instructions
Once you divide your stuff into categories, label their boxes properly

Additional Tips for Preparing Your Home for Sale

Aside from these major house-selling activities and projects, you might want to learn a trick or two regarding some of the small yet important stuff. Many forget about them. And yet, they should be part of preparing your home for sale checklist:

  • Make a positive first impression by taking good care of your entryway and front yard
  • Depersonalize the exterior and interior of your house
  • Make your home feel bigger and brighter by opening the curtains and blinds on all windows
  • Neutralize the smells with air fresheners and candles
  • Take a second glance at your drawers, closets, and cabinets
front porch
Start by cleaning up and refining the front entrance and its surroundings

Make a Positive First Impression

To welcome your potential buyer properly, direct your attention toward the area around your front door. While your real estate agent is unlocking the door, the buyer will look around and notice each flaw. When you decide to focus on this area, walk outside your home and take a look. Put yourself into your buyer’s shoes. Do you see anything that needs to be retouched? Get to it and make your doorway and its surroundings perfect:

  • Clean everything,
  • Put a new doormat,
  • Wipe and polish your mailbox,
  • Repaint your door if necessary,
  • Shine the metal door handles.

First Impression, Part Two – Your Driveway and the Sidewalk

Another eyesore you mustn’t allow yourself to miss is an uneven sidewalk. Not only will it look unappealing, but it could be dangerous. For those who aren’t moving alone and would want to raise a family in this house, this is a massive slip. Still, singles wouldn’t be impressed either. Fixing a jagged driveway most likely isn’t one of their favorite things to do after moving. You can learn how to fix the problem yourself or hire reliable local contractors. The expenses for this type of repair depend on the amount of work and necessary materials.

colorful doors
Paint what needs painting before showcasing your property

Depersonalize the Exterior and Interior

Depersonalizing goes hand in hand with decluttering. Even if your taste is unarguably impeccable, some personal stuff that lies around the rooms could feel distracting or weird to your buyers. Remove everything that isn’t part of your landscaping and box it up the same way you would store your Christmas ornaments.

Front Yard and Back Yard Clutter

When the real estate agent shows your garden, make them feel like showing off. By the time the interested purchaser arrives, you should remove:

  • Garden gnomes and ceramic animals,
  • Lost toys, balls, and similar objects,
  • Your trash bin,
  • Bird feeders and items with a similar purpose,
  • Erase any sign of pets.

Your yard shouldn’t look cluttered. Clean it up and keep it simple.

Depersonalizing the Interior

Regardless of how proud you are of your family’s accomplishments, strive not to advertise them during the selling process. Pack your family photos, your kids’ drawings, displayed diplomas, and other personalized items. Ship them off to your new home and substitute them with standard artwork. You could contact a professional cross-country moving company near you and ask for storage services. This way, your prized possessions will be in good hands, and your residence will look spotless.

flowers and cups
Simplicity is the key to selling properties

Open the Blinds and Curtains

Preparing your house for sale isn’t all about heavy-lifting and endless packing. You can do a few minor things to boost the overall performance. For instance, a simple move like opening up the blinds and curtains can create a completely different impression. This way, your living area and other rooms will look lighter and seem bigger. The entire household will appear to be fresher and cleaner. Also, if your old window treatments are worn out, replace them. Pick some of the lighter colors. And surely, go for physically appealing, simplistic, and inexpensive ones. This trick will be effective even when moving in winter.

white window and flowers
Gain more space with minimal effort

Neutralizing Smells and Making Your Household More Enjoyable

Every individual and every family has different reasons to move. Some relocate for love, while others choose to switch to get a job in a new city. Yet all of those who are house-hunting have some common criteria to go by. Regardless of the size of the property and its functionality, people tend to pick up on seemingly insignificant features. The smells associated with a physical space do play a tremendous role. So before the real estate agent shows up with an interested party, make sure to:

  • Open the windows for at least 30 minutes,
  • Remove your pets from the area,
  • Pack shoes, gym bags, workout equipment, and any other items with an odor,
  • Don’t cook any meals inside the house on that day.

Moving in With Pets

Although your household might be pet-friendly, mask the smells that give it away. Even people who would move in with pets will appreciate the lack of the previous owner’s furry friend’s odor. On the day of house-showing, you should:

  • Leave the windows open for a few extra minutes,
  • Use an air freshener,
  • Light some candles that have a pleasant aroma and neutralize other smells.
cat and dog
No matter how fond you are of your pets, ensure that they won’t interfere with your house-showing

Check out the Drawers, Closets, and Cabinets Again Before the House-Showing Day

Even after you’ve taken care of the clutter and cleaned everything, make sure that your place is ready for selling by double-checking each room and its corners:

  • Pack the clothes that shouldn’t be in your closet when the buyers turn up,
  • Store them adequately or ship them off to your new house,
  • Collect the medication from bathroom cabinets and box them up away from the prospective buyer’s eyes,
  • Clear your kitchen by removing unnecessary appliances, dishes, spices, and other items,
  • Empty the refrigerator and scrub it once more.

Additionally, you should brush everything up once more. Grab a broom and a vacuum cleaner to sweep up any dirt that you might have missed.

Garage and Basement

Although you have already dedicated several days to these areas, go over them again. If your basement is unfinished, you’ll need an extra effort to make it presentable. If you have an attic, deal with it as well. Your buyers will want to take a look in there too. Since most people use these rooms as storage units, especially during the relocation time, there has to be some dust, dirt, or packing materials that require cleaning up and shifting.

packed boxes
Impress your prospective buyer and gain more storage space simultaneously by cleaning up your garage

Bonus Tip: Gather Warranties for All Appliances

All real estate agents will testify the same. If your household appliances come with the home, be sure to collect the necessary warranty information for each piece of appliance. Hand them off to buyers and provide them with a sense of security. Since the relocation process can get a bit messy or stressful, create a moving binder. As you plan how to sell your property and discuss it with the real estate agents, encounter all relevant warranties and add them into the relocation folder so you don’t lose them. You could scan them and store them as digital files. Or, better yet, keep them in one of the top drawers (and save a copy, just in case).

documentation and files
Preserve all valuable documents and warranties

Ready for House-Showing and Selling?

As in every other detailed and important process, you must take your time to plan your house-prepping. Selling your property is a big deal. Wherever you choose to move afterward, you must smooth the whole process connected to relocation and real estate issues. Once the agents interest a purchaser into buying, you must find a reliable cross-country moving company. Adequate long-distance moving services will help you jump-start your new chapter easily and with enthusiasm. Follow our tips to finalize the sales successfully and quickly, and enjoy your next hometown!

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.