Tidying Up When Selling – Lesson Four

Komono is the miscellaneous items category. And there is one thing we know for sure: komono is just about EVERYTHING. If it isn’t clothing, books or papers, it is komono. It left us yelling “THAT IS SO MUCH STUFF MARIE!”

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Just like Marie’s other lessons, komono is so important when selling your home. As REALTORS® we know that personal items and clutter can prevent a buyer from seeing themselves in a home. Home buyers peek into drawers and cupboards, in kitchens and bathrooms to see how they can store their belongings.  So, this category is actually the most important! One of our favorite rooms with a lot of komono is the kitchen.  Kitchens are one of the top features that home buyers look for, and a well maintained and organized kitchen can mean valuable dollars at the negotiating table!

The process starts the same: bring everything out! Remove everything from your pantry, bring out all of your dishes and Tupperware, and put them somewhere you can see them all at once.  Then, sorting through the items one at a time, make sure each item sparks joy, and will be useful for you moving forward. Especially in the pantry, this is a great time to remove anything expired!

Once you are ready to re-store your items, make sure you keep them in categories – group like food items together, group similar dishes together. Marie also recommends using clear containers when possible, so you can see what you have and how much of it. We love this tip, because it helps when showing your house as well! When a buyer sees that you have plenty of room for all of your dishes – both every day and seasonal or limited use, they will instantly imagine they can store all of their items as well. Not to mention how handy it will be to have all of your snacks in one spot!

One REALTOR® tip as you are evaluating your food and kitchen goods – if you find that an item is no longer practical for you, or no longer sparks joy, but is still functional and not yet expired, consider donating these items to your favorite local charity like shelters, food pantries or soup kitchens! Establishments like this often rely on donations to help a lot of people, so you can clear out your clutter and help others at the same time!


Tidying Up When Selling – Lessons Two and Three

Home offices, or bonus rooms can be a big selling feature for many homebuyers. But what happens when your valuable extra space is cluttered with bills, papers, books and more? Buyers start to see the space as a burden rather than a bonus! That’s where lesson two and three on the KonMari Method™ come in especially handy!

Lesson two focuses on books.

These could be adult, child, textbook, novels, dictionaries – if it has a binding and you’ve been holding on to it, time to tidy it up! The process for books is the same one you followed for clothing: get everything out and pile it on the floor or a table. Then evaluate one at a time if the book sparks joy for you. Marie also points out here that you should consider whether the books will be valuable to you moving forward.  And do not forget to thank each book for its service to you as you tidy.

Lesson three is all about papers.

These seem like they would be a little easier to judge whether to keep it according to the KonMari Method™ but we actually found this really hard! Cards, artwork, little notes can often hold a lot of sentimental value! Remember, Marie’s 5th category is sentimental items, and she recommends completing those last. So, if you’re finding something too difficult, save it for later in the process.  Each paper that you keep should fit in to 1 of the 3 categories in the method.

  1. Pending: these are papers that you need to take action on. Think bills, a letter you haven’t yet responded to, that notice to make a check-up at the doctor or dentist. Sort these in their own location so you can attend to them in a timely way.
  2. Important: It seems self-explanatory, but these are papers that you need to keep permanently, like insurance forms, contracts, etc. Sort them somewhere they are protected – we recommend a fireproof safe where you can also store bank documents, passports, birth certificates and more. And remember, all of the papers should be together, so keep your safe with your other papers.
  3. Miscellaneous: these papers are items you want to refer back to regularly and ones you want or need to read frequently. This could be magazine clippings, recipes, seminar notes, instructional manuals, etc.

When you take care to tidy up that bonus room or office, it will have buyers singing praises of your home’s space and will help them picture their life in your home.

 

 

 

 


Tidying Up When Selling – Lesson One

The first lesson in the KonMari Method™ is to evaluate and tidy your clothing. Closet and storage space is one of the top 10 items that homebuyers tell our REALTORS® they need in their new home, so Marie is on to something here!

To get started with your clothing, you have to make a little mess.  Pile all of your clothing in one place – a bed or a living room floor work well. Kondo says that when you see all of the clothing you own, you are more aware of how much you actually have and it will make the process easier.

Once everything is out of drawers or out of the closet, you need to hold each piece one at a time and determine if that piece sparks joy in your life. If it does, simple, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you have to keep in mind if you truly need it or not – for example, an undershirt might not be particularly exciting or spark that excitement for you, but you may need them to wear other clothing that does spark joy.  Not sure how to know what sparks joy?  Our last blog post gives you some examples.

As you pick the items you will keep, Marie has very specific folding instructions.  Check out her youtube page to see all of the methods!

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Aside from the benefit of giving you more closet space, we are really loving the focus on only keeping things that spark joy.  Each and every day, our REALTORS® help homeowners find joy in their homes. We believe in finding that special new home to start your next chapter or the perfect new owners to love your home the way you have.

So, take a look around – does your home spark joy? Give us a call, and let’s make Marie proud!

Tidying Up When Selling

If you’ve been online in the last two weeks, you know one thing for certain: Marie Kondo is taking over!

From her #1 New York Times best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, her proven KonMari Method™, and her new Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”,  Marie is everywhere. It seems everyone is cleaning up and clearing out for the new year, so that made us curious – could you use Marie’s methods to help sell your house? Through the rest of this month, we’ll take a look at the strategies Kondo uses, and give you some great tips to get that house ready for the market!

First up, we need to understand the KonMari Method™.  The biggest differentiator between Kondo’s method and other method’s you’ve tried before is her approach – rather than organizing room by room and never finishing, KonMari gives you 6 basic rules.

Rule #1: Commit yourself to tidying up.
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Okay Marie, we’re ready!

Rule #2: Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
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Our REALTORS® can help you realize this – whether your ideal lifestyle rests in your current home, or if it rests in a new dwelling, imagining the lifestyle someone can live in your home is key to selling (and buying!)

Rule #3: Finish discarding first.
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Makes sense – the saying doesn’t go ‘In with the new and out with the old!’ And discarding is going to do wonders to sell your home.

Rule #4: Tidy by category, not by location.
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This is the biggest difference in the KonMari Method™. We’ve been going room by room for too long! By focusing on categories, you insure everything can be organized as it needs to, all in one fell swoop. Remember when you perfectly organized the office and had everything in its place, only to realize there was a hidden stack of papers in the bedroom? No? Was that just us? Okay, moving on…

Rule #5: Follow the right order.
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I know, I know, the kitchen clutter is calling our name too! Afterall, REALTORS® know that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. But there is a method to Marie’s cheerful madness and we already committed to stick with it.

Rule #6: Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

We’re going to let Marie do the talking here:

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Whatever you want to call them, your items should spark a physical emotion – goosebumps, chills, smiles, happy tears, etc.  Everything you keep should give you that reaction.

In our next blogs, we will explore each of Marie’s categories to tidying: Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono, and Sentimental Items. Stay tuned!
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Real Estate in 2019

While much in a new year can seem uncertain, one thing is clear: there are a lot of opportunities in the real estate market in 2019! If you tried to buy a home or sell your home in 2018, you probably noticed a few difficult trends: a very competitive market, few homes available, and rising prices.  Some of those will remain the same in 2019, and some will change. We also expect some new trends to appear.

Competitive Home Buying Market

Unfortunately for you homebuyers out there, the market will most likely remain very competitive. Driven by some of our other trends (looking at you rising prices and lack of available homes), the homebuying market in 2019 will still have many buyers for each available property. The good news? Things are slowing down. We predict 2019 will be the year that the housing market begins correcting back to a ‘normal’ number of available listings.

Low Number of Available Homes

As we mentioned, the number of available homes for sale in 2019 is likely still going to be low compared to the number of potential home buyers. The good news? The new home building industry is continuing to see growth in 2019. Brand new properties available in the market could help relieve strain on the crowded buying pool.

Home Values Are Still Rising – Just Not as Fast

In 2019, we will continue to see home values at record level highs. However, we expect to see the rate of appreciation in home values slow down or even stay level this year. What does that mean? More people may be able to realize their homebuying dreams as their ideal properties drop to or stay in their price range.

Design Trends Are Shifting

2018 was the year of bright, light and airy home design. Modern farmhouse style dominated – with sellers and buyers alike preferring white, cream, and gray color schemes. In 2019, we’re living in color! More and more homeowners are opting for color in their paint and décor choices. Also contradictory to the 2018 trends, patterns are making a comeback in 2019. And finally, in 2019, comfort is key. Homeowners are looking toward soft edges, plush fabrics and cushioned furniture.

 

Whether the market remains as it was in 2018, or shifts dramatically, one thing is certain. A Berkshire Hathaway REALTOR is the best to help you navigate buying or selling in 2019. Get in touch with us today!


Five New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

As you set resolutions for personal or professional growth, don’t forget to set some resolutions for your home too! Our REALTORS® share some of their favorite resolutions for homeowners.

De-Clutter

Are you struggling with too much clutter? Remember the love you had when you bought your home? Clearing the clutter is one of the easiest ways to fall in love with your home all over again! Try to set goals for getting rid of clutter – we recommend going through one room at a time, and sorting items into 3 piles: keep, donate, and trash. Then sit back, relax and enjoy!

Decrease utility bills

Are you looking for some savings? One of the largest home expenses outside of any monthly mortgage payments or insurance policies are utilities and services. Take some time this New Year to evaluate all of your utility bills and see if there are some savings to be had! Many utility companies offer energy efficiency programs or have guidance for how to proactively lower your bills. Don’t forget to re-evaluate services like cable, phone and home/lawn maintenance! Shopping around or eliminating can put well-earned cash back in your pocket.

Develop a cleaning schedule

Wishing you had a cleaner house? We’ve all been there! Sometimes it feels like the cleaning never stops.  Our REALTORS® recommend developing a daily/weekly/monthly schedule for cleaning. Make a list of things that should be done daily, weekly, and monthly, then chart out times each day to accomplish those tasks. When the cleaning doesn’t have an opportunity to build up, you’ll find it easier and easier to keep it up!

Plan any needed or wanted home improvement projects

Dreaming of a new look for your home? The New Year is the perfect time to turn those dreams into reality! Start planning for those remodeling projects now, and this time next year you’ll be enjoying your new space. Evaluate everything you would like to get accomplished and decide if you’ll DIY or hire professionals to assist. Ask your Berkshire Hathaway REALTOR® for their recommendation on professionals, or which home repairs come with the biggest return on your investment!

Safety First

Are you ready for all possible home safety issues? If you’re unsure, it may be time to audit your safety procedures and preparation. Ensure smoke detectors are functioning, replenish first aid supplies, and review items like electrical connections for signs of decay or fraying. Our REALTORS® also recommend creating plans for evacuating your house in the event of a fire or plans to take shelter in the event of severe weather.