I often get asked “When do I need to pack my belongings and move out of my house once it is under contract?” While it would be nice to just hire a moving company to come and pack your belongings a few days before closing while you are off on a vacation in the Bahamas, that is not a realistic for most people. When do you need to start packing and when do you need to be out of your soon-to-be-sold house?
Declutter prior to listing your home
Actually, you should have started packing prior to putting your house on the market. Most houses should be “decluttered” prior to listing. That is a good time to pack away unnecessary furniture, remove personal photos from the walls, pack away all the extra kids toys, and make your home seem larger and roomier because it is not full of your stuff.
Start with the small items
I recommend that you start packing more agressively as soon as we have a signed contract. Start clearing out the cabinets and closets. Pack away linens, bedsheets, toys, and anything that you don’t need prior to closing. Store them in a garage, or better yet, order a PODS container and start putting items in there. You can get packing supplies at Lowes, Home Depot or U-Haul. Label your boxes with the name of the room where they belong and a short summary of the items in the box.
Pack everything but the most critical items you will need before closing
You will want to start packing the big items a few days prior to closing – even sooner for items you won’t need prior to closing such as lawn furniture, extra chairs, and that hutch your grandmother gave you but that always just seems to be in the way. Packing always seems to take longer than you plan, so getting started early helps alleviate stress as your closing date approaches. You can wait until the final day or so to pack your bed, sofa, and a few kitchen utensils. Keep just a few changes of clothes in a suitcase so that if there is a delay in your move to your new home, you can still have clothes to wear.
Budget time to clean your home after everything is moved out
The best time to do a final cleaning of your home is after everything is moved out. This is the time to clean cabinets, ceiling fans, vacuum or mop the floors, clean baseboards and make sure the home is ready for the new owners. It is important to not skip out or skimp on this important step. You don’t want any unexpected surprises or unhappy buyers at the closing table. Buyers expect a clean home, just as you would expect to move into a clean home. If you don’t have time to clean prior to leaving, I can provide the names of professional home cleaners that can give your home a thorough deep cleaning at an affordable price. This is oftentimes easier on sellers since they are stressed with the move to begin with.
Everything should be out prior to closing
In most cases, the title of your home passes to the new owners at the closing table once all the documents have been signed and the funding is complete. The new owners will want to move into their new house immediately, without any of your “stuff” left behind. They will also expect the home to be clean and clear of trash, dirt and debris. A happy buyer makes for a smoother transaction. Treat buyers like you want to be treated by leaving them with a clean, well-maintained home they can be proud of.