Saying goodbye: Selling up and how to step away

Written by Douglas Ross in Selling


How come no one ever talks about this? Selling up and moving house is physically, mentally and emotionally…exhausting. You’ve probably spent six months looking for a new house and had way too many meetings with a financial planner. You probably never thought you would have to worry about what prospective buyers would think about your nude self-portrait hanging in the living room.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed at all stages of moving. Homes are full to the brim with memories and emotions. These emotions are there for a reason though and it isn’t about finding tricky ways of avoiding them. ‘Emotionally separating’ from your home is not a thing, because your memories of a particular home will always come with emotions. But if you feel like your worries or fears are stopping you from getting your property ready for the market, then here are a few simple things to tick off.

Selling your home

The best way to emotionally jump ship from one home to the next is by slowly preparing your house like anything else you would sell.

As if selling your car the first step is to clean your house and declutter both outside and inside. A storage facility or a very nice friend can be great for storing some of the less useful or oversized knick-knacks you have collected over the years. Think about some of the houses you have inspected that stuck in your head, especially those that sold well. Starting with small changes, have fun playing with some styling options in each room. All these small decisions will help you view the house as something you are trying to sell.

Professionals vs DIY

Think about employing a professional stager for your inspections. The industry is somewhat split over how effective staging is on the selling price of your home, but it is worth thinking about. A professional will bring a continuity to the house’s styling and invite buyers to imagine their own belongings in the house. But it also risks making your house look like every other house on the market. Buyers are viewing countless places in their spare time and swiping past even more places on their phones. Who are you targeting and how will your property stay in their memory?

A stylist can give you some input on how to arrange your existing furniture and a single consultation may end up cheaper than renting new furniture. There is nothing to say artwork and other items you have collected over the years shouldn’t be shown off. If you are selling a family home, buyers may want to see that a family has enjoyed the house so don’t think you need to hide all the family pictures or turn the kids’ room into a second office.

Leaving a good impression

Come inspection day you might not want to hang around smiling awkwardly at people. But you should be in control of how people see your house when they first step in. Think about how warm, well-lit and comfortable houses have felt that you have recently inspected. If it is in the morning, brew some fresh coffee just before you leave. Don’t forget to think about the temperature of the house as well as the lighting of each room. Lighting is an underrated selling tool so don’t leave this to your agent. They have five other places to show in that single morning and may not think to turn on all the lights, especially the lamp you have specifically bought for this day.

Stepping away when selling your home

Just like a pot left on the stove, there may be a single moment one night, somewhere between selling your house and moving into your new home, where the past six months feels like it is going to spill over the sides. The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is by changing this fear of leaving into excitement about a new adventure.

Take pictures of your house and write down your favourite memories as well as the sad ones. Put these away so you can access them whenever you like in the future. After this it is time to start thinking and talking about your new home. Think about shades of paint, renovations, decorating, new furniture; and think about it long before you move. The sooner you start this process of imagining, the sooner your excitement will begin to overcome any feelings that may be getting in the way of your ability to move forward.

At the end of the day it is worth remembering that no amount of preparation or strategic selling will ever erase your memories of the home you are leaving. It will only help you get ready to make new memories in the home you are creating.