You learn a lot when you decide to sell a home. You learn that real estate is a challenging landscape. You learn that buyers are unpredictable and the process of finding the “right” one can be challenging.
If there’s one thing that everybody learns but nobody talks about, it’s this:
You have a lot of stuff to deal with.
What are you going to do when it comes to all that stuff in your house? Packing up everything you own takes time and effort. Not to mention getting rid of everything else you no longer need.
There’s plenty of advice out there about decluttering, minimizing and how to decide what to keep and what to toss. This article assumes that you are a decision maker. Assuming you know how to let go (of your Seattle area home and a lot of what’s in it), here’s a look at how to do it.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is: how much time do you have? Whether you’re preparing to sell a Shoreline mansion or a Beacon Hill duplex, working with a deadline ensures getting the most value for your stuff- no matter how much of it you have to sell.
Maybe you’ve earned some vacation days at work. Your instinct may be allocating them for appointments, showings or other home selling tasks. If you can, save a few of them for organizing and brokering sales for all your stuff. Planning a garage sale? You’ll need to dedicate an entire day for it. Most likely, you’ll also need to spend the whole day before to prepare for it.
As you sort through things you’ll inevitably come across some old treasures. It’s fun to try on old clothes or pore through forgotten photographs. Keep in mind that your time is best spent determining its value and where you plan to sell it.
The outlets on which to sell anything – anything – are everywhere. Apps and channels like Letgo, Instagram, eBay and Facebook Marketplace allow you to sell items quickly and easily, all from your smartphone. OfferUp is the largest local mobile marketplace for selling just about anything in your local area. Many consider it the modern version of yesterday’s Craigslist.
If you’re overwhelmed by the options, start by segmenting all the items you wish to sell into categories. For example: furniture, appliances, household goods, electronics, clothing, toys, books, etc. You don’t have to become a seller on seven different apps for all seven of your categories. On the other hand, listing everything on only one platform, doesn’t guarantee you top dollar or minimal effort either. The most efficient strategy is to match your goods with the best places to sell with the time you have.
Be realistic about the value of your things. Garage sales, community bazaars and consignment shops are excellent prospects for getting rid less valuable items.
Be generous if you get directly involved with buyers. Let them haggle with you. Consider it an opportunity to exercise your negotiation skills. Instead of lowering the price, suggest that buyers pick out more items for sale and then offer a deal on everything. Remember, you’re trying to get rid of things, not fight for them.
Set your prices fairly. Check out other for sale items, similar to yours, to gauge how much people are willing to pay for them in your area. You’re not trying to get back the original price (or even close to the original price) you paid for things. Typically, used items in good condition sell for about 25% of what they retail for. If they’re in less than good condition, that percentage drops significantly.
Obviously, selling things that are in demand will earn you higher returns. This is especially true for technology and fine art. Again, a little research goes a long way in determining an appropriate asking price. If you’re still unsure, online auctions are a great alternative. Allowing buyers to compete for your items lets the market settle the price.
Unsure if that painting isn’t a collectible? You may want the opinion of a professional eye. Understand that appraisers and their advice can set you back a considerable chunk of change, especially in metropolitan areas like Seattle.
Giving things away doesn’t have to be a last resort. In fact, donating should be part of your initial assessment. The key to setting things aside for friends and family, is having someone specific in mind for each item. Rather than, “someone I know might like this,” think, “Julie always wanted one of these, I’ll give it to her.” This guarantees a place for that item that isn’t another pile of unwanted things.
Stop by your local library to drop off books, visit Goodwill with your unwanted clothes and call Salvation Army about your furniture and appliances. In most neighborhoods, they can pick up your unwanted items out front your home. Think of donating to charity and second-hand stores as closing the loop of letting go. It’s for good cause and is considered a tax deduction.
Selling Your Home
Selling your stuff while you’re trying to sell you house can be stressful. Sometimes the timing can’t be helped. If you’re in the unexpected position of having to relocate at the last minute or sell your house fast, you’ll want to consider you options. Professional home buyers can help you through the process of getting a cash offer for a quick turnaround for your Washington state home.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your home the traditional way, get in touch with us to learn about your options. We help homeowners like you streamline the selling process so you can focus on other things… like what to do with all that stuff!