Military families on the move may not have time to get their old home in pristine condition before it’s time to relocate. But don’t let the change-of-station rush sink your hopes of a quick sale.
Home HQ spoke to Realtors and other real-estate experts, and most agreed that barring any structural problems, massive renovations or redecorations aren’t smart choices for a home you’re about to put on the market.
“The best advice I can give is to declutter, depersonalize, and price it right,” said Juanita Charles, an Army veteran and Realtor in the Clarksville, Tennessee, region, near Fort Campbell. Anything beyond that could be a waste of money and may not help sell the property.
Some basic tips, from our experts and around the web, on getting your soon-to-be-former house in order:
1. The great wall debate. Our experts, and much of the internet, appear split on what to do with your walls: Some advocate a fresh, neutral coat of paint, while others suggest it could be a waste of money, since buyers will want to refurbish with their own color tastes anyway. However, most agree that outdated, distracting or shabby wall treatments should go, especially aging wallpaper.
2. Don’t make it worse. Heading down the online rabbit hole for decluttering advice can turn up a number of organization systems, shelving options and storage containers that promise to help you sort your possessions properly. You might find the perfect fit, or you might end up with more materials you don’t really need.
3. Ask for help. A Realtor may not appreciate your design tastes, but they’re more likely to know the tastes of prospective buyers and offer advice on how to clear and stage your rooms. One example: While you might see a big sofa and multiple chairs as a functional space for large family gatherings, a Realtor might want some of that furniture gone to showcase the size of the living room ... to buyers who might not like the sofa.
4. Stay neutral. It’s impossible to know what your buyers will remember from listing photos or an open house, so it’s best to remove any potential problem areas. Those could include an abundance of sports memorabilia, bookshelves with partisan or family-unfriendly offerings, or wall art that may resonate with you, but not the homeowner-to-be.
5. Pack it up. If you can’t part with certain items but you can’t find a spot for them in your new or old home, consider your storage options. PCS movers may qualify for non-temporary storage, or NTS, near their current residence; this can be especially useful for those making long-distance or overseas moves for a relatively short period. Rules vary by service; contact your local transportation office to find out if you‘re eligible.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.