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Sellers Tips and Timeline

Posted by Emma Parker on September 8, 2020

Hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Over the weekend, I struck up a conversation with someone who was looking to sell down the road (maybe 1-2 years), but had no idea where or how to start after living in her home for over 20 years. Crazy how time flies!! I can understand how stressful it can be getting your home ready to sell, especially after being there for an extended amount of time. After going through the buying and selling process with my parents in a whirlwind month, I thought that it might be helpful to have a suggested timeline if you are thinking about selling your home down the road, if you may need to make a quick move and want to be prepared, or if you just want to tag along for the read! Being prepared, especially in a market such as this one, where homes are snatched off the market just days after being listed and there may not be as much time to prepare to move, can accomplished over time and with little stress. Here are my timeline tips to get you in selling-shape!


A fellow realtor once told me that every 6 months – 1 year PURGE YOUR HOME. Get rid of clutter, items you were saving for use later or gifts/childhood memories that you didn’t have the heart to throw out just yet. It may sound harsh, but if you go through a complete calendar cycle without using something, chances are, you’re probably not going to use it ever again. Childhood toys, arts and crafts, and other sentiments are held on for sentimental reasons, but if they are not going to be displayed, or handed down to your children or grandchildren, it may be worth going through those boxes and either organizing or thinking about donating/ throwing away.

With that being said, pick a month or 2 every year that you’ll dedicate (I know life gets busy, but at least a weekend or two in the month) to your purge (I usually try to pick a winter month since, here in New England, we’re hanging inside anyways)

Need additional storage space? Check out your local storage companies to determine their long-term, short-term rates and specials, as well as their available storage units and their sizes. As you start to weed through all of your belongings, it will become easier knowing the items that you can find a neat place for, and those that may need to go away for a while. I would recommend renting at least 1 storage unit to start, especially if you have years worth of regalia that you don’t have time to sort through.

TIMELINE: If possible, start 1 year from the time you plan to move. Best practice is to continue throughout that year and plan a 6 month check-in to see progress.


Depending on your home, you may have an oil tank, hot water tank, fireplace, wood stove, septic system, dehumidifier, well water, or air conditioning/heating system that requires some sort of maintenance. One of the big things that can come up during the sale of your home, and in turn, something that may clog up the works in selling your home, is the maintenance and/or repair of these major appliances. Since you’ll be conveying these in the sale of your home, it may be a good idea to check when the last maintenance or repairs you’ve had done on these systems, and look into having someone come out to check that everything is clean and working properly. OBVIOUSLY, if something is not working, it is in your best interest to have this repaired or replaced prior to putting your home on the market (would you want to buy a house with no hot water??).

Once your home goes under contract, the inspector that the buyers hire should complete a thorough examination of your house, and its systems. If the inspector finds something needs repairs or replacement, this can gum up the works a bit in negotiating repairs and you may have to decrease the sales price of your home in order to make these necessary repairs. ERGO, make sure everything is in working order by a licensed professional prior to getting into the nitty gritty of the selling process.

TIMELINE: 6-8 months prior to putting your house on the market.


Ever heard of a good old thing called CURB APPEAL? It sounds silly but there are certain aspects of your home that can really make or break their attraction, and eventually offer, on your home. The first impression they get is their drive up to your house. Depending on the season, there are a variety of ways to beautify your home so that people are drawn to want to see the inside. My suggestion would be have a friend or family member come by and ask them what they would like to see or how they would change your entrance to become more welcoming. Usually, these are the people who are brutally honest and will give you their answer straight up (if not, you may want to find new ones because honesty is important). I wouldn’t go hiring a landscaping company and changing the whole look of your front yard, but I would suggest cleaning up any weeds, planting new flowers or simple shrubs (depending on the season), and removing any yard furniture/ yard regalia that looks like it’s becoming a part of the ground, sinking in like quicksand. Power wash any moss or growth on the exterior of your home and make sure the entrance is sound and functioning.

TIMELINE: 3 months prior to listing your home, with continued maintenance throughout the time your home is on the market until it is sold


Here’s a big pro tip – if you think something may be seen as strange, even if you don’t, it may be time to put it in storage. Just like the exterior of your home, you want the interior to have an inviting feeling. You don’t have to go all Martha Stewart and spend copious amounts of money decorating, but my suggestion is this; Declutter and Simplify. All of your knickknacks, personal collections, and pictures make your home feel like a home, but it may not send that same message to potential buyers. The best thing that you can do is give your potential buyers the clearest view into what the house will look like with their furniture and regalia in it. People feel more comfortable when they can visualize themselves living there. Simplify your spaces by storing your personal items and leaving your furniture and simple decorations on display.

TIMELINE: 1-3 months before listing your home on the market


A big misconception that my clients sometimes have is that they have to re-paint entire rooms, re-do their kitchens, or re-finish their hardwoods. STOP THAT! Everyone has differing opinions on color palates, carpets vs. hardwoods, and other design choices. Do me a favor, the next time your at a friend’s or family’s for dinner, take a tour of the house (with permission) as if you were looking to buy it. Think about anything that would deter you from buying the house – unknown water stains, mold/mildew, rodent presence, chipping or peeling paint, holes or other functional issues. These are the issues that you need to focus on resolving, repairing or fixing prior to selling your home. Then, think about anything that you would change – lighting, wall colors, carpets, kitchen appliances, countertops, window treatments. These are all of the things that you should not be worrying about because, chances are, the buyers are just going to come in and change them to their liking anyway.

Touching-up paint, replacing water stained/ rotted wood, and resolving any rodent or insect issues are all of the aspects of your home that you should put your time and hard-earned money into before selling your home. Don’t focus your efforts on design choices that stem from opinion.

TIMELINE: 1-2 months before listing your home.

**DISCLAIMER**: I will ALWAYS suggest if there are signs of water or insect damage to find the source and alleviate quickly before any permanent damage occurs. If you are aware of any area that may have been subject to on-going damage – hire a licensed professional to take a look; sometimes it’s nothing and other times it’s something, but either way it’s good to know what you’re working with.


As you get closer to putting your home up for sale, life may get a bit chaotic! Best practice – try to maintain a clean space. You want to get in the habit of keeping your home neat and clean so that when you are subject to open houses and potential buyers and agents walking through your home on any given day, there is no stress about blocking out hours of cleaning beforehand. Your home will need one amazingly thorough douching. By this I mean cleaning EVERYTHING – top to bottom, left to right, inside and out everything should be spick and span. Don’t have the time as the listing date approaches? Hire a cleaning service! Ask me for recommended vendors to alleviate you spending hours that you don’t have cleaning! Whichever route you choose, you will have to maintain some level of tidiness throughout the showings of your home, but knowing that it has been deep cleaned prior, makes these smaller cleanings a bit quicker and easier.

TIMELINE: 1-2 weeks before listing your home


Moving can be very stressful and my hope is that this timeline will help you and your family make a game plan for your big move. Planning ahead is a tough idea to wrap your head around, but I promise, it makes a WORLD of a difference in this process! Being ready for a quick transition in this market is important, and being ready to move as soon as your home hits the market will be a life (and back) -saver.

Want to chat further or have additional questions?? Call or email me anytime to chat about your next move and how we can work together to make it a smooth transition!

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