I watch quite a few home shows, and I have to say I love them. Watching these shows gives me an opportunity to briefly live in another part of the country, or even the world.
One thing that many people on the show have in common is this: They want to upgrade to a bigger home. Maybe a second child is on the way, or a tax credit becomes available and people feel like they must move now to take advantage.
But Do These People Really Have To Move?
Obviously, I do not live in the people’s shoes that are on these shows, but often when I watch, I wonder “why are they leaving”? Quite often, prospective ‘movers’ walk through a new home and say “well these countertops aren’t granite, waaaaahhhhh”. They want a massive amount of amenities in a new home but at a low, low price. In the end, they buy a more expensive house and then spill a bunch of money into the upgrades. (In other words, the new home may be in even worse condition than their current home, but maybe a little bigger.)
Instead of deciding to up and move the minute a house feels a little cramped or outdated, why not really take a close look at your existing living space instead? You can even involve a friend you trust that has an aptitude for design or just has good home ‘vision’. (Obviously if your neighborhood has suddenly become a crime zone or you need to relocate for work, your focus needs to shift from following these steps to make your home more sellable than to decide if you need to move or not.)
10 Steps To Take Before Putting Up The FOR SALE Sign:
- Identify A Third Party That Can Help You With the Process. If you and/or your spouse evaluate your living space, you may just see things a certain way to justify a decision to move. Walk through the house with your ‘home helper’ and list everything you don’t like about the house and why you need to move.
- Declutter. Maybe the reason you feel like you are outgrowing your space is because of all the excess toys/books/knick knacks laying around. I know I feel very unsettled when the family rooms seems ‘out of control’. Don’t know if it is a lack of feng shui or what, but I know I am not calm and serene when books are stacking up and mail is strewn across the table. Also, be ruthless about what goes into the donation or trash pile. Is the shelf full of Precious Moments figurines really still appreciated? Are there some bikes in the garage that are no longer used? Are there other children out there that could benefit from some of the toys that are strewn everywhere in the basement?
- Create Usable Storage Space. Once all the extra stuff is gone, look around and see how what is left could be properly stored. I have this issue with photos and mementos from the kids. I have boxes that are falling apart and are crammed with old drawings, reports cards, etc from the kids. I want to keep these items, but I don’t want them sitting in a collapsed box in my bedroom. Actually, just seeing that box is frustrating for me, and I see it every single day. Look at how you are storing mementos and such. Are random boxes of ‘stuff’ taking up usable space in your home? Is there a way instead to store important items that are not accessed much in a different way that would not make you feel closed in?
- Clean and Polish. Once everything has its own place in your home and the clutter has been donated or thrown away, look at your home and make the most of what you have. Make those kitchen cabinets and counter tops sparkle. Clean out the refrigerator inside and out (and behind). Have the carpets professionally cleaned. Vacuum the blinds and wash the windows. In other words, clean your house like it actually is going on the market, and you know you want top dollar for the house! Clean to impress, not to just get it done.
- Evaluate Each Room. Now that each room is cleaned and organized to perfection, sit and think about how you use each room. Does the dining room sit there empty 360 days of the year? If so, then maybe that room needs a different purpose. Does one of the bedrooms act as a catchall for leftover stuff? Then you need to change your habits and not bring things into the house that are just going to sit in a spare room, never to be seen from again. You can rearrange furniture, do whatever you like to try and get the most out of each and every room in your home.
- Decorate! Now that your rooms are nearly perfect as they are, see if there is an extra touch that can be added to make the room more aesthetically pleasing. Maybe it is a nice centerpiece on the table or a new painting on the wall. Design the room in a way you like and can appreciate.
- Walk Outside. Stand at the sidewalk and see what you do and do not like about the look of your home. Do you hate the color of the front door? Have the plants gotten overgrown? Have you always wanted a little bench underneath the giant maple tree that you could sit at and read a book? Making inexpensive changes to your yard can make a big difference about how you feel when you pull up in your driveway each day.
- Take Some Time To Think and Then Walk Through the Home Again. Now that your home is spotless and clutter free, live in it a little bit. See if there is a new paint color you would like on the wall, or maybe there are other ways rooms could be repurposed. Do you still feel cramped? Do you still have a negative feeling about the house? Make a list of things you still do not like. Is the Formica countertop really wearing on your nerves? Is the pink tile in the bathroom an eyesore? Do you still have legitimate complaints about the house?
- Think Renovation Instead of Relocation. Every home has some areas that need improvement, and maybe it is the countertop. Instead of picking up and moving to find that perfect kitchen, could a few changes be made to your own kitchen instead? Remember, moving is an expensive endeavor, and you will spend thousands of dollars in closing costs, realtor fees, and more if you do move. Not to mention that the new house will not be perfect either and will most likely need some improvements. Add up just what the ‘sunk costs’ would be for moving such as the closing/realtor/mover fees. What if you spent that amount of money renovating your current home intead, would that bring you closer to owning a dream home?
- Think About Why You Want To Move. Is it because there are so many ‘deals’ out there in the market and you can now buy a huge house for the money? If that is the case, then disregard that thought. There is never a guarantee that your house will not go down in value, and there are huge costs that accompany a huge house. Buying more space than you need just because you can is still a waste of money, and totally unnecessary. Sit down an evaluate why you think you need such a big house instead. Maybe you need to evaluate your spending habits in general.
Moving Is Not A Party, No Matter How Much Pizza You Buy