8 Tips for Selling a House You’re Still Living In

by Matty ByloosJune 6, 2016

Living on the Edge

OK, so you have a job lined up in an exciting new city and you’re ready to move on with your life, but what if you can’t start shopping for a new home until you’re sure the old one is sold?

Well, you may have no other option but to continue living in your home until it sells, and that can stressful. Not to worry – just follow these eight tips to maximize the quality of your lifestyle while you improve your chances of selling your home.

staged kitchen in home for sale

Get an Early Start on Packing

Moving is no fun, but if you’re living in your home while it’s on the market, you’ll have plenty of time to get a head start. Pack all the non-essential stuff and store it in a storage unit or in an accommodating friend’s garage. The less stuff you have in your home, the less you’ll have to worry about cleaning. Plus, moving will be easier when your home finally sells.

If You Don’t Need It, Get Rid of It

This is a common piece of advice for anyone who’s about to move, but it’s doubly relevant for people in your situation. Again, you want to get as much of your stuff out of the house as possible, and this is an excellent time to pare down your possessions. Who knows? You might even be able to get by with a smaller moving van, and if you sell some unneeded valuables, you’ll have more cash for moving expenses.

Clean as a Whistle

It can be difficult to keep your home spec-house clean while you’re still living there, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. The kitchen and bathroom are especially important to keep clean, but you don’t want anything to dissuade a potential buyer, so it’s best to keep the entire home spotless at all times.

Protect Your Privacy

Potential buyers are gong to want to explore every last corner of your home, from the closet to the garage, so you’d be well advised to safeguard any valuables or sensitive personal information. Lock up or store sensitive documents, put a strong password on your computer, and don’t leave your mobile phone lying around.

Send Pets on Vacation

You love your pets, but potential buyers might not feel the same about them as you do. The last thing you need is Fido shedding all over the place when you’re trying to keep your home spotless. If you can send your pets on a vacation with a friend or doggy day care, now is the time to do it.

Nothing Personal

Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in your home, and nothing will prevent them from doing that more than seeing a picture of you and the kids on the wall. Remove any evidence of the life you’ve lived in your home. They’re your special memories, but they might make a prospective buyer feel like an uninvited guest.

This rule also goes for smells. The longer you’ve lived in a place, the more you become inured to any odors it might have. A deep cleaning should get rid of any strange smells, but you should also avoid cooking anything particularly fragrant when there’s any chance that a buyer could pay a visit in the near future.
clean bathroom for home staging

Make Yourself Scarce

When buyers come to look at your home, don’t hover over them. That might make them even more uncomfortable than seeing your personal effects around the house. Use that time to take the kids to see a movie, or head down to the local coffeehouse to catch up on work emails.

Communicate With Your Agent

Clearly, you’ll want to present your home in the best possible light, and if you’re like most folks, getting everything ship-shape might require some lead-time. Communicate with your listing agent and set aside specific times for showings. Sure, you might need to do a whirlwind cleaning session for a particularly eager house hunter, but setting a schedule should keep the intrusions to a minimum and allow you to feel a bit more relaxed in your soon-to-be sold home.

The Stage Is Set…

Selling your home while you’re still living there can be stressful, but we hope these tips help minimize the stress and maximize the sale price. Happy selling, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.
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