Just under a year ago we found ourselves in the position where we had to sell our house, and sell it quickly (we’d found the block of land of our dreams and had baby due in less than 8 weeks). Our real estate agents advised us that selling our house quickly was all about presentation.
We needed to make our house look like a show home.
Long story short, we sold our house in 12 days but of course, after getting it looking so beautiful, it ripped our hearts out to put it in the hands of other! And I wondered, why is it we wait till we’re going to hand our houses over to someone else before we make them look beautiful? Why don’t we make them look beautiful for ourselves?
And going on my experience getting our home ready for sale, it really doesn’t take a huge amount of time and money to do so either. Here’s what we did.
Nothing makes a home look tattier than cobwebs everywhere. And we did have them everywhere, particularly outside and in hard to reach places like the top of the stairwell. Getting rid of the cobwebs gave our entry portico and our alfresco area an instant lift. And all it cost was $8 for a cobweb extension broom and about 20 minutes in time.
Spruce up the garden
We had a pretty small garden, and I understand that many people have large backyards, but again, making things look neat and tidy shouldn’t cost the earth. All it cost us was time (half a day) and several bags of mulch (~$10 a bag for 40L – we needed 5 bags).
All we did was weed the various garden beds, trim back hedges and remove dead branches and leaves from tree. Then we put down new mulch and voila! Everything looked much tidier and more appealing. I suspect all our plants appreciated the fact they were getting more water thanks to the mulch too.
Now I am a fairly compulsive de-clutterer already. So when it came to de-cluttering I thought there would be little to do. Boy was I wrong. Every cupboard in the house (and we had many) was hiding some manner of stuff we were keeping for ‘one day’. There were clothes the kids had grown out of. Old computer equipment. 11 billion platters from when my husband and I got married (platters are the safest wedding gift ever).
And there wasn’t just stuff in the cupboards, there were pieces of furniture scattered throughout the house we had found a place for just because we didn’t want to give them away. There was furniture that we made fit into a room even though they just didn’t belong there. Our books (we have a LOT of books) were housed in 5 different sets of shelves that didn’t match each other, or the main furniture of the rooms they were in.
So what did de-cluttering cost us? Mainly time.
We could have tried to sell the furniture we wanted to get rid of but we didn’t have time so we just gave it away on Gumtree to the first person who would come take it off our hands.
Then we bought one single, big bookshelf from IKEA for all our books (the biggest Expedit one – $299).
We could have hired professional to do the painting for us, but decided that we’d hire professionals to paint our new house, not the one we were going to be moving out of. If you’re sprucing up a home you’re staying in, I suggest getting it done properly because then it will last longer.
You don’t have to do your whole house either. We found it was the main living area (dining, living, kitchen) that looked the shabbiest (I guess because that’s where we spent the most time). The same is probably true for you. If you’re going to spend money sprucing your house up, a professional paint job is a good place to spend your cash.
Since we were moving out of our house we decided to paint the living area ourselves.
What we did was hire our parents for the cost of feeding them lunch. We did all the prep work (taping, drop sheets, cleaning the walls) prior to them arriving. This meant that the six of us were able to do the job over the course of a morning.
A little bit of re-decorating
Finally, the fun bit.
As a home decorator, I like to have a neutral base colour scheme (in the case of our house whites and greys) and add colour via cushions and other ‘accessories’ because this allows me to change things up by simply replacing cushion covers, vases etc.
So off I went to IKEA and purchased new cushion covers, little fake pot plants for the bathrooms, a cheap rug for the living room, new throws for the bedrooms and a few other little things that just added some interest to each room. All up, the things I bought cost around $300.
So there you go. All up, it cost us a couple of weekends in time plus just over $900 to make our house look so beautiful we didn’t want to sell it anymore. And we’re not even particularly handy or home-decoratery people!
Imagine what you could achieve if you are that kind of person!