Is anyone else trying to move right now? It is insane how quickly the East Tennessee market is moving and how few houses there are for sale. When my husband and I bought our first home, we said it would be our “starter home” and we would stay around five years. Well, the five years was up this year and here we are getting ready to list our home in one of the wildest markets in a long time. Even wilder? We have a three-year-old.
I know we can’t be the only ones moving with a toddler right now (or more kids!), so here are a few things I’ve learned in the past few months:
What to pack first and when to start
It’s tempting to pack everything as soon as you know you’re planning to sell. But you have to be careful or you’ll end up diving back into boxes and fishing things out that you thought you weren’t going to use. Some of the things I have been able to pack pretty successfully and not go back for are:
- The majority of my son’s toys. There are so many little plastic things and books in his room that I filled two boxes already, and if he hasn’t missed them by the time we move, I’m probably donating them rather than moving them.
- Miscellaneous kitchen items: the stir fry pan, the fancy cake platter, the Christmas mugs — they’re all probably safe to pack.
- Seasonal clothes. Since we’re coming into spring/summer, all the sweaters, winter coats, and boots can go!
Declutter, declutter, declutter (and clean)
Besides taking care of any glaring home projects, probably the best thing you can do is clear and clean surfaces. Get the mail and tissues and snacks and pens and all the daily clutter off the countertops. Declutter your closet shelves to show how much storage space is in your home. Take everything but the matching mugs and plates out of the kitchen cabinets so that they look clean and spacious. And believe me, people will open your cabinets, closets, and maybe even your dresser drawers! Hide things like toilet scrubbers and wipe everything down to the baseboards.
Know where you’re going
When we decided we were ready to move, we had a vague idea that we could rent until we found something we loved for our next home. As it turned out, there was nothing to rent due to the high influx of people moving to the area with the exact same idea! Our realtor advised us (and we’re so glad he did) to have somewhere to go before listing our home. We just didn’t realize how little there was available at this time. It’s a great time to sell, but it’s a really difficult time to buy or rent.
Have plans to occupy your family for show time
Once your house is the cleanest it’s ever been and ready to show, you don’t want to keep cleaning it over and over again. I remember my parents doing that when I was a kid: it would take a few months for a house to sell, which meant being ready at any time to drop what you were doing, clean up the mess, and get out of the house with three small kids in tow. In this market, the current norm is to have multiple showings and offers the first day a home is listed. Because of this, it’s a good idea to have somewhere to go all day and maybe even overnight. That way you don’t have to clean up all the toys, food, bathrooms, etc. from being home in the evening and morning. And I would much rather have the showing done in one whirlwind weekend than over a span of several months.