Moving Management: 6 Common Selling Mistakes

Deciding to sell your home is a significant decision requiring time, energy, and considerable financial preparation. When one decides to put their home on the market, there are many considerations and sometimes tough decisions to make but remember there are certain ways to make the selling process a bit more smooth. Here are a few moving management tips and common mistakes to avoid when listing and selling a home. 

1. Incorrectly pricing your home

Arguably the most important part of the sales process when selling your home is determining a price point. The price you set for your home can depend on a variety of different factors such as timing, location, neighborhood comps, and interest rates. Pricing your home too high is risky, even if you are selling in a favorable market. For example, pricing much higher than the true market value could lead to problems during the appraisal process or could send a red flag to buyers if it sits on the market too long. Conversely, you may consider pricing lower than market value to draw attention to your home or to start a bidding war. While this can work in some cases, remember that this strategy could end up backfiring if not done properly, so always do your research ahead of time to yield the best outcome.

2. Not having the correct paperwork in order

There is a significant amount of preparation involved when selling, so getting organized and preparing all necessary paperwork ahead of time can lead to a more smooth process when it comes time to sell. Here’s some paperwork to have prepared ahead of time:

  • Loan information 
  • The deed
  • Your original sales contract
  • The title report
  • Your homeowners’ insurance policy
  • Maintenance and repair records
  • Property tax information
  • Utility bills

Additionally, it could be helpful to have a copy of the survey, especially if you have a large piece of property or if you have fencing or obscure boundaries on your land. Also, if you are including appliances in the sale of your home, try to look for any warranties or user manuals to serve as a resource for potential buyers.

3. Being inadequately insured

When you are preparing to sell your home, don’t overlook the importance of carrying adequate insurance policies. Even though evaluating your current coverage might seem like a daunting task when you inevitably have a significant amount of other items on your to-do list, it is nonetheless an important piece in guaranteeing that you are adequately protected. For example, if you have made significant improvements to your home leading up to putting it on the market, look back into your homeowners’ coverage to ensure the policy is sufficient. For instance, if you installed a new gourmet kitchen to attract buyers but only have builder’s grade coverage in your current policy, consider updating this amount to reflect your home’s improved value while you are still an owner.

Whether you are downsizing or upgrading your home after you sell, it can be helpful to re-evaluate your financial situation to determine if your needs are going to be changing. For example, some may consider updating their life insurance coverage if selling their home will significantly change their new obligations. This is why it can be helpful to use a cost calculator to have a better understanding of how costs could change should you consider obtaining a new policy when entering this new chapter. Term life insurance tends to be a more affordable option and provides your chosen beneficiary with a lump sum of funds if you were to unexpectedly pass away. If you are moving to a home with a higher monthly mortgage payment, this could be an added consideration. 

4. Not budgeting for moving management costs

While you most likely have a grasp on the price point you are looking for in a new home and have a general idea of what you are hoping to sell your current home for, remember not to overlook some of the additional costs associated with moving. In addition to the standard costs of selling a home such as lawyer fees and realtor commissions, there are also additional fees to account for when selling your home. These could include the cost of using a reputable organizing company, cleaning fees, scheduling movers, and repairs that need to be made after the inspection. 

5. Not showcasing your home’s features

When you’re ready to put your home on the market, take some extra time to ensure that you are highlighting and displaying your home’s features. For example, making sure that you have quality pictures taken of your home can make a difference when attracting potential buyers. Depending on your situation, staging your home or virtually staging your home could also be a wise investment if you already have moved out all of your furniture. Having a staged home helps potential buyers take mental ownership during their showing because seeing furniture helps them picture what their life could be like living in your home. Additionally, consider making certain upgrades to your home such as painting the walls a neutral color or enhancing the curb appeal to appeal to a wide audience of buyers. 

6. Not having a moving management backup plan

When selling your home, having a backup plan is key to save you from any potential headaches during the process. In particular, buying and selling a home at the same time can be a challenge, so having a solid plan is critical. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • If you sell sooner than expected, where will you stay while you look for a new home for yourself? 
  • Is it possible to have a contingency in your potential deal to allow for time for you to find a new home? 
  • Are there short-term housing opportunities in your area and will you need a storage solution if you are in between housing? 

These are all things to think about when selling your home but also looking for a new residence as well. 

When selling your home, it can be helpful to prepare for the unexpected. Each situation is different, so being both mentally and financially equipped to handle any surprise situations that may come up can help you during this time. 

 

How to Declutter and Organize Your Closet

Having to clear out your home for whatever reason can be challenging. You’re aware that there’s quite a bit of work ahead of you and dread even thinking about beginning. However, procrastinating will only make matters worse, as you’re probably very well aware. This is why you should take a breath and decide to start. The sooner you do, the sooner it’ll all be over, and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. That being said, you shouldn’t rush into this process; there are some things you should inform yourself about prior to diving in. In the spirit of painless beginnings, let’s go over how to declutter and organize your closet without a lot of fuss.

Make an inventory of everything you own

making a list is a first step i a decluttering process when using a professional organizerTake the time to sit down with yourself before you start to organize and declutter your closet. Clear your mind and
thoroughly examine everything that you possess.


Write down your belongings in categories
in as much detail as you seem fit. You should find the right balance, meaning that the inventory should be informative to a productive degree. Don’t clutter the list that’s supposed to help you declutter. Whether you’re downsizing your home or just doing some spring cleaning, this step will benefit you greatly. Making home inventories in advance and adding to the list as you go along can save you a lot of time. However, it’s completely understandable if you’re not that kind of a person.

 If you wish to organize and declutter your closet, you should make an inventory first.

Detect your weaknesses from the start

If you’re someone who cannot focus on tasks such as decluttering and organizing your closet, admit this to yourself. By pinpointing certain areas of your character that are flawed, you’ll be able to aid them in the right way. If you’re too much of a perfectionist ever to start this process, make yourself get up. If you have a problem with being organized, write everything down and hire estate clearing services or a similar organization to help.

Clean your home

One of the biggest misconceptions about organizing and decluttering your closet is that it doesn’t include cleaning. A tidy home and a clean one go pretty much hand in hand. You cannot do one without the other. So when you start cleaning, decluttering, and organizing, make sure you use the right products. It will help you immensely. If nothing else, once you’ve purchased everything you’ll need, you’ll be much more motivated to start.

Hire a professional company to declutter and organize your closet

Much in the same way you’d hire move management and relocation specialists or cleaning services, you should think about hiring professional home organizing services to help you declutter and organize your closet. Especially if you’re not the most organized of people, there’s no harm in having someone to guide you through the process of decluttering and organizing your closet

Divide and conquer

criteria for separation is a key to good organizingIf you want a neat and tidy closet, you don’t necessarily need organizing services. Although hiring someone would help you out quite a bit, that doesn’t mean it’s required. You can involve your family and friends and delegate the work. This is especially advisable if you own a lot of things. Try not to look at this as some dreadful task. Make a fun day of it. Turn up some music, order a pizza, and reward yourself and your trusty helpers with some wine to help it all go down a bit more smoothly.

 

If you want to declutter and organize all your clothes, you should be decisive and get to it right away.

Organize a yard sale

Once you’ve separated the good from the bad, you then need to get rid of all the things you’ve deemed useless. One of the best things you could do to help this process move along quicker is to organize a yard sale. This way, you’ll earn and get rid of the old stuff. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, if money doesn’t play a grand role, you could also donate some of the items you’ve decluttered and organized in your closet.

Storage ideas

On the other hand, anything you don’t want to give away and get rid of, but you don’t want in your closet either, you should store. If you can make use of in-house storage ideas, go right ahead. Nonetheless, you can, of course, use a storage unit if you don’t have enough space. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to do it properly. Divide your belongings safely and efficiently so as not to have wasted all the time spent decluttering and organizing the closet.

Don’t stress about things not going exactly according to plan

Simply said, don’t stress over everything that might come your way. There will undoubtedly be some moments that won’t go as planned. That’s fine. Trusta job like decluttering can be stressful, but not if you are using a professional organizer with a decluttering specialty that you’ve done enough. Better yet, reward yourself for everything that goes right instead of punishing yourself for the mistakes that are out of your hand. Organizing and decluttering your closet can be very therapeutic if you let it be.

 Try not to stress out over the things that aren’t in your control.

 

Don’t keep items for the wrong reasons 

As the world has gotten to know people like Marie Kondo over the years, some things have become common knowledge. However, just in case you’re not yet familiar with the inner-workings of one of the most organized people known to man, we’re here to help. She’s practically given the world of decluttering and organizing closets a completely different meaning. One of the most important things she’s preaching is that we should attentively think about what we should keep in our homes and hearts

Here are some questions to help with decision-making:

  • Do I love this item, and is it giving me joy?
  • Do I still fit in this outfit, or am I holding on to an older version of myself?
  • Does it project the picture that I want to show off?
  • Do I feel comfortable in this?
  • Am I trying to impress people by owning something that’s just not me?

Sometimes asking yourself some simple and seemingly shallow questions such as these can really help. You’ll be able to declutter and organize your closet much more efficiently if you’re not holding on to specific pressures and triggers. Minimalism has never seemed more appealing.

A rack of clothes that can help you declutter and organize your closet.

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Organizing Services Can Make Remote Work and School a Breeze

decluttered home office desk organized by a professional

All over the country, families are about to enter a grand experiment. The question: Can we handle working remotely while our children take virtual classes? Unless your family happens to be naturally suited to this setup, it’s probably going to be a bit of a challenge. One of the simplest ways to make it easier: A solid organizational scheme. 

Home organization is about more than simply putting things away. When everything has a place (and everyone knows what that place is) you save time and eliminate chaos. Moreover, you can use your organizational scheme to create psychological barriers between workspaces and living spaces. This will be one of the most valuable tools in your pocket when it comes to keeping everyone sane during the upcoming school year. 

Invest in professional organizing services to ensure your family is well prepared to juggle work and school from home. Here’s a look at a few of the ways that this service can help keep your family productive and happy while you adjust to this new normal: 

Enhancing Professionalism 

If you weren’t working remotely before the pandemic, odds are your home wasn’t set up with this in mind. In the early days, no one thought twice of barking dogs or messy desks in the background of Zoom meetings. Now that we’ve all had some time to adjust, however, you need to be thinking about how to stay professional during remote work. Think about what your webcam shows in your background: An organized office is going to give a much better impression than a messy, cluttered space.

Your kids should have this in mind as well. After all, virtual learning is going to be tough enough for them and their classmates without a ton of distractions. When your home is well organized, you can limit distractions on video calls and keep yourself, your kids, and work (or class) on track. 

A Clear Path’s Ninja Organizers can make sure your space gives the right impression, as well as ensure you have all the tools you need to thrive virtually, including: 

  • A high-quality webcam to join virtual meetings or classes
  • Ergonomic desks and chairs to stay comfortable throughout your workday 
  • Drawers, baskets, cubbies, and other organizational tools to keep you and your kids on track 
  • Fast, reliable internet that can support work, school, and downtime

school work from an organized decluttered space

Facilitating Focus 

Your headspace can make or break remote success. This is as true for you at work as it is for your kids at school. We need defined boundaries between work and life to be able to focus properly. When that’s all happening in one space, we have to create those boundaries for ourselves. Keep this principle in mind when working with your professional organizer, and ask for their insight about how to create these psychological barriers. Here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Specific workrooms: If you have spare rooms in your house, consider turning them into an office for you, or a study space for your child. Depending on your workflow and your child’s school schedule, you could conceivably share a space
  • Visual barriers: When you can’t set up a workspace in a specific room, visual barriers such as room dividers can help create mental barriers. Home inventories are a great way to figure out what should go where and define each area’s function with items you already have. 
  • Avoid blurring lines: Wherever possible, avoid setting up your workspace in an obvious relaxation area such as a living room, den, or bedroom. Not only will this make it harder to focus during work and school, but it can also get in the way of unwinding and getting a good night’s sleep. 

Overcoming Roadblocks

As if this year weren’t complicated enough, many families are bound to face obstacles that make it even harder. For example, you might need to move at some point during this year. On your own, juggling remote work while packing, unpacking, and organizing your new home can be a nightmare. With relocation specialists on your side, however, this process can be a breeze. Not only will you have an easier time with the move itself, but your move manager can also set your home up for virtual success from the get-go. 

a move manager can help re-arrange items to create a clean organized space

Here are a few more roadblocks that are much easier with an organizer on your team: 

  • Starting your own business or expanding a freelance career 
  • Managing a blended schedule, where children transition between in-school and virtual classes
  • Keeping a multi-generational household happy, healthy, and productive. 

Finally, go easy on yourself as you begin this upcoming school year. Your family has a major transition to navigate, and there are sure to be challenges along the way. Professional organization services can set you up for success, and a flexible mindset can keep you sane while you learn how to function in a brand new environment. 

Thanks for reading!

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina’s 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris

Dr. Regina Lark

regina@aclearpath.net

 

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3 

Should This Stay, or Should This Go?

Should it Stay, or Should it Go?

Professional Fiduciaries are first responders. They are often first to advocate for the welfare and well-being of a new client, and, more often than not, first to step foot in the door of a home overrun with benign neglect, or, basically intact but filled with a huge number of things. 

Responsible for the health, welfare, and fiscal oversight of their clients, Fiduciaries are called upon to make some hard decisions. Sometimes this means finding room for caregivers or divesting a home filled with a trove of old and new treasures. 

Your client lives here

Home is where the heart is. It is also the place of deferred dreams and incomplete projects. It is the place where folks stash their bowling trophies, grandma’s plated silver, and signed first editions. Over years the home becomes the repository for everything life has to offer – clothes, kitchenware, and place-settings. The “average” household often contains the possessions of adult children who had long ago moved from the family home but never quite got around to removing yearbooks and toys,always organized Barbie dolls high school ephemera, and everything else assigned to the category of “memories.” Don’t forget the so-called “collectibles” – from Hummels and Barbie dolls to entire runs of Playboy and National Geographic magazines. 

Why do we own so much stuff? It’s a difficult question to answer. Older adults who lived through America’s “Great Depression” tell us that growing up with nothing means holding on to everything. While that may or may not be true, I wonder how we understand younger generations’ seemingly insatiable consumption, or how we account for the growth of self storage

Fiduciaries will of course come across clients’ self-storage units. Dark and depressing, public storage facilities are frigid cold in the winter, overwhelmingly hot in the summer. With a multitude of enticements to bring in the customer, it takes a lot of time and planning to get out. If you’ve seen A&E’s Storage Wars you know that there’s no guarantee of hidden treasures behind the padlocked door.

Hold tight

We tend to cling to our things for two very broad reasons. First, we don’t want to let go of stuff we may need “someday” (note cards, car wax, vases), or that we may wear again “someday” (golf shirts, skinny jeans). Of course any and all items may have future use but if we’re not already in the habit of writing notes or losing weight, then these “someday” items do not have current value; they just clutter our lives today. At the same time, we hold on to things that have been in our lives forever such as Grandma’s good china, music boxes, report cards – contain therein our “memories,” along with the stories we attach to each and very item. 

With a tight hold on that which we may need someday (the future), and an emotional hold on that which has already happened (the past), our “stuff” tends to hang around. The longer it hangs around, the value of the “stuff” either increases or decreases.  

It’s tricky business determining the value of art and clothing, furniture, first editions, and the array of what is unearthed in clearing the path for what’s next in the life of the client or the life of a trust.  And so I asked a pro. 

collectables can be organized in reduced space or sold as part of decluttering What is it really worth? 

Joe Baratta, the vice president of Business Development & Valuations with Abell Auction Co., is a USPAP-qualified generalist appraiser with over 15 years’ experience helping fiduciaries separate “the wheat from the chaff.” I caught up with Joe at his home in Los Angeles to talk about the value of “stuff” he comes across when he’s called in to appraise the contents of the Fiduciary clients’ home. 

Everyone has “stuff,” some of which is brought home to serve an immediate need (a bed or a dresser) or purchased because of the item’s perceived “someday” value. “Beanie Babies” are a perfect example of this,” Joe surmised. The stuffed toys had a high market value at a particular time but many people held on to their “collection” believing that the value would soar the longer it remained in their possession which hasn’t been the case (although there are exceptions). True collectors follow the appropriate markets for their collections through trade shows and major auction houses. Still, anything that is mass produced will usually not hold its original value nor see an increase in value. 

Joe offers compelling insights about what he sees daily. Fiduciaries may find this information helpful when faced with downsizing a client’s home: 

  • Traditional dark wood furniture (tables, cabinets, couches) – not all dark wood furniture  held its value due to mass production over many decades. Chairs with cushions could be reupholstered especially if the bones of the chair are in good shape (think Eames or similar), and these items are often in high demand. 
  • Technically, an “antique” describes any item produced 100 years ago, or, before the year 1920. Still, not all antiques are desirable in the current market.  
  • The Industrial Revolution of the 1870s led to the mass production of wash basins (before indoor plumbing), armoires (most homes didn’t have closets), and sewing baskets (when people repaired or sewed their own clothes). 
  • Samovars: Every Eastern European family brought one or more to the US as these were important to family ceremonies, and carry a lot of sentiment. While some samovars have value, there is a large supply of them without much demand for today’s market.
  • Supply and demand: By mid-20th century, the marketplace was saturated with formal dining tables, china sets, table linens, silver sets, chafing dishes, ice buckets, and other forms of items designed for their entertainment value. 
  • Front entry, living room and dining room are the areas of the house where families display their most “prized” possessions – from art to furniture to home decor. 
  • Tricks of the trade: when Joe walks into a home, the first thing he notices are the walls – “Money is on the walls… most people want to show off their art. They are proud of what they accomplished.” 
  • Flora Dania Royal Copenhagen is among the most valuable dish sets today. 
  • The politics of “value:” When China closed their borders in the early 20th century, so too did the outflow of Chinese goods. Today, many wealthy Chinese are paying high margins to repatriate items seen as valuable to their upper-class heritage (Chinese silks, scrolls art, porcelain, furniture). Similar to Russia after the fall of the Berlin wall (think religious icons, Faberge, Russian silver – considered very valuable mid-1990s through early 2000). 
  • $10,000 and generational attitudes: Our grandparents may have used the money to buy something to enhance the home (think beautiful oil painting in an expensive frame). Baby Boomers’ purchases may extend to fine dining and travel. The millennial mindset covets watches and handbags. 

A Clear Path can coordinate the valuation and selling of collections as part of their organizing serviceBottom line

People have hard time letting go of items, regardless of perceived or real value. The family members in possession of the “family jewels” are stewards to protect the family legacy. Joe reminds us, “We’re custodians of items and feel obligated to hold on to at least some of it because of our family connection.” 


Are there 300,000 Things in a Home?

300,000 Things in a Home

I didn’t begin my professional life as an organizer. Rather, I spent the bulk of my career in higher education – as a student, a professor, and an administrator. Budget cuts in 2008 led to a job lay-off at the tender age of 50. It was the beginning of the 2008 recession and the first time in my life that I couldn’t find a job. So I created one.

In those first few months of stepping foot into A Clear Path, I read everything I could put my hands on the topic of de-cluttering and organizing. One thing I remember reading impressed the hell out of me: The average household contains about 300,000 things.

In order to grow my company, I needed clients, which I found by speaking to numerous groups and organizations about clutter, and where I often referenced “300,000 things.”

Are there really 300,000 things in a home. Probably if you count every little thing.

I’ve asked some colleagues and a few clients to conduct informal surveys in their clients’ home or in their own home. We’ve concluded that items in homes could very well number up 300,000 if one were to count every single thing from underpants to office supplies to photographs to silverware.

I’m serious. Go room-by-room in your home, starting with the kitchen. Count:
• pots and pans and lids
• storage containers (and their lids!)
• utensils, plates, cups and bowls
• spices
• cereal boxes

You get where I’m going? Next up, do the living room.
• Books in bookcases, tsotchkies on shelves
• TV, speakers, laptops, and myriad techy stuff
• A couch, chairs, and fluffy pillows

Dining room? Where do you eat? Count chairs, a table, cupboard, and table linens. And don’t forget candle holders and candles.

I often see a lot of stuff in home offices. My clients love office supply stores, and here’s what they take home:
• Packets of Post-it Notes in several sizes and colors and shapes.
• Copy paper, envelopes, file folders, hanging file folders, boxes filled with notecards and thank you notes, and birthday cards.
• Wrapping paper.
• Tape, scissors, stapler and staples.
• This is actually a nearly endless list – but you get the drift.
• Oh, and don’t forget the box of cords.

A working desk, but a little too much clutter. Some good organizing can reduce this to a manageable state.

Let’s move to the bedroom. How many pair of black pants does one need to own? Start counting:
• Shirts and blouses
• Undergarments
• Socks, shoes, purses, totes, robes, work-out clothes, jackets, belts. And all the furniture.

Don’t forget the bathroom.

And this is a small house!

I’ve often wondered if I had it in me to conduct a study about the average number of items the average household contained. If 300,000 things is where we land, it would be nice to finally put the query to bed. And I will never be out of work again.

 

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina's 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris