SLT076: Simplifying to Sell Your Home

Or To Just Get A Fresh Start!

There are so many reasons to simplify. But one very lucrative reason to simplify is to increase the sale price of your home and set the stage for a quick sale. So, let’s talk a little about simplifying to sell your home.

To do that, we’re going to share some of our experiences with doing exactly that over the last couple of months, so if you’re selling your home…or know someone else who is…or if you’re simply looking for a fresh start in your current home, maybe we can shed some light on things that worked for us. Read More…

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Topic:  4 Key Points To Keep In Mind When Simplifying To Sell Your Home

Topic

We recently had a fantastic sales experience when selling our home in preparation to move to East Aurora, NY.

Our home went up for sale the evening of the 15th of May…and before our realtor was even able to put a sign up in the yard, it sold on the morning of 16May! The first 3 couples that looked at the home all put in solid offers. The first 2 for $10k over asking price! We accepted both and had a back-up offer throughout the entire closing period (yeah)! In the end, it sold for about $35K more than we had originally even hoped for!

Background

So as we mentioned in the last episode, we’re moving from the suburbs of San Antonio, Texas to the little village of East Aurora, NY, home of America’s simplicity movement back in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

Well, back in December of 2014, I was doing some backwards planning and realized that in order to build our new home on schedule, the right thing to do was sell our house in San Antonio in the Spring of 2015. So, we planned on listing at the start of the real estate season…1 May.

But in the mean time, all through Jan, Feb, March and April, I had been working out all the curriculum, scripts, testing the right platform, etc, for Vanessa’s soon to be released training product, Get Organized SOS, which is an intensive online course that teaches her proven system to organize any space. All this while prepping our house for sale. Vanessa and I planned to work on things in the background during this busy time, and launch a beta or test program in the late summer.

But while meeting with my marketing coach in April, he challenged me to launch the beta NOW. I insisted that now wasn’t the time

Vanessa was actually in the middle of attending her week long annual professional organizers conference…

Plus we were prepping a house, listing a house, selling a house, packing to move and moving into a new place over the course of the next 6 weeks.

And, while Vanessa and I had all the material ready, we had exactly NO videos done! Plus, some of the video conferencing platforms were new to us. We needed more prep time!

No…now was not the time to launch!

But as any good coach does, he gently nudged me (actually, it felt more like my old paratrooper days as he kicked my butt out the jump door of the plane)! I called Vanessa and she said “Let’s go for it!!” No guts, no glory, right? So we launched the beta, shot the videos, and…it was awesome!

But, man, it was hectic!!! The beta lasted all of May, and all the while we were prepping our home and the World Shedquarters for sale. Our home went up for sale, sold…done!

Trouble was, now we had to find a place to live.

So Here’s How It All Went Down…

There were 4 key simplicity points that led to that great sale experience, our ability to to juggle a “crazy busy” schedule and still stay sane. And candidly, you could glean something from each one of these points even if you’re not simplifying to sell your home, but just looking for a fresh start or some positive change in your life.

So here goes!

Key Point #1: Make sure your desires are in line with your life plan, your goals are in line with your desires, and your actions are in line with your goals.

Way back in Episode 32, we talked about how the choices we make impact everything in our lives.

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you’ve heard about the start of our journey and you were with us through the sale of our land out in the Texas Hill Country, scrapping the idea of the big house in the middle of nowhere, etc. If you’re a new listener you can check out our About Us video and you’ll hear all about our decision to pursue a path toward more simplicity in our lives.

So since then, we’ve taken consistent action. To a large extent, we shaped our own little world and how we live our lives in it. The world loves a self-made man or woman, but I love the saying from Earl Nightingale that “We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.”

You know we’ve been on this journey for a couple years now, and we’ve been taking all the steps necessary to shape our world. And you can shape yours, too! You may have a lifestyle you want to live someday and by staying true to that you can achieve it. Make sure you’re living your Now in a way that supports your tomorrow.

So again, key point #1…make sure your actions are in line with your goals. Stay focused. You can do this…but you have to be consistent. It’s the little things we do every day that keep us consistent and on path toward our goals.

Alright…if you’re simplifying to sell your home, take heed. Key Point #2 is: Planning is a must!

We followed our own advice from Episode 42, The Upside of Downsizing. We also took steps to make the 1800sf  home we had, live like it was much larger.

Long before we planned to move, we made improvements to the house using what we call organization-based design. It’s our perspective of how we design simplicity and organization into our spaces. Our remodeling projects in the kitchen and bathrooms had a great return. And the World Shedquarters was apparently a hit, too! Improvements like cubbies, built in storage, the Elfa shelving system in the pantry, the new kitchen cabinets with slide outs, etc, all tied in to our organization-based design concept. And trust me…people know organized and simple when they see. They’re drawn to it. Nobody “wants” to live a cluttered life. So, show people a little calm and they’re drawn right in.

On the tech side, we used Trello as a planning tool to manage, share, and track our To Dos. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. We had a “Get House Ready for Sale” board that had lists for Inside, Outside, and Done. As we finished tasks, we’d move the from the Inside or Outside board, over to the Done board. I like it because it’s very visual, as opposed to standard “list” based. I’ve been using it since. You can find out more at Trello.com. Steve Dotto has some great videos on Trello over at DottoTech.com. I’ll put a link in the shownotes.

So again, Key Point #2 is to make your plan. This will go a long way in helping to ensure you stay on track with Key Point 1, too, making sure your actions are in line with your goals.

OK…Key Point #3 is: Understand the value of margin.

Remember our definition of margin is “Uncommitted time and space in your life.” In this case, I’m referring to the ‘unused space’ portion of our definition. In the real estate world, nothing (meaning empty space and square footage) is worth a whole lot more than your “stuff” that takes up that space!

There were so many things we could have kept “just in case” but as we were going through this I kept reminding myself that “just in case” things do nothing but get in the way. When you really need something, you can find, rent, or borrow it. As a worst case scenario, yes…you may have to buy it again. So forget about the just in case stuff. It’s just getting in your way. If you need something, you’re smart and can find it when you need it. Trust yourself and your resourcefulness.

Tying in with that…our Edit & Forget It Challenge in 2013 and 2014 was key! It set the stage for truly decluttering our home and our day to day lifestyle. That said, we still got rid of well over 3000 more things in 2015 as we were simplifying to sell your home just before the move! We intend to live even more “light and lean” in our year in the apartment and in our new home in East Aurora.

We’ve just really embraced the idea of incorporating margin in our home and appreciating the openness and empty spaces in it. As we’ve decluttered our home over the past couple of years or so, we’ve really come to love the increased peacefulness that having less stuff has given us.

So again…Key Point #3 is to understand the value of margin. Free space. Both the Census Bureau and the National Assoc’n of Home builders list the number one reason for moving, as the pursuit of a better home. And one thing that consistently ranks at the top of desires for home attributes, is space. Living space and storage space. Show them the margin, they’ll show you the money. Or, give yourself some margin and gain a little more peace.

And finally…Key Point #4 for us was: Get past the mentality that you’re selling YOUR house. It’s far more about the buyers buying THEIR future home!

They need to see themselves there…the possibilities, the opportunities, and the wonderful memories they’ll make there. It’s not about you. If they walk into a messy, poorly maintained, or cluttered home, it becomes about you and how you live, and not about them. It needs to be about them!

So again…key point #4 is you’re not selling your house, they’re buying their home. It’s kind of like gift giving… If I’m looking to give you a gift, I look for a gift that you’ll want and appreciate, not necessarily one that I want to give. Same goes for selling your house.

Wrap Up:

So if you’re simplifying to sell your home, here’s a quick recap:

Key Point 1: Make sure your actions are in line with your goals
Key Point 2: Planning is a must!
Key Point 3: Understand the value of margin. Free space.
Key Point 4: You’re not selling your house, they’re buying their home.

So…there is no way we could have gotten more than our asking price, had such a great sale experience, and wrapped things up so quickly if we hadn’t simplified our lives and our home.

Vanessa was able to keep an influx of clients happy, and we were able to prep, list, and sell the house, move, and develop and launch a 3-week, multimedia and coaching product all over the course of 6 weeks! (More on Vanessa’s product in later shows).

And boy…were we ready for our road trip!!!

Question:

So, are you planning on simplifying to sell your home or do you want to make a positive change in your life? Do you think some of the key points we mentioned could help? If so, we’d love to hear about it and what tools or strategies you’re using that are helping you. Leave us a comment below!

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Special thanks to Jodialgara, Suea626 , Whitephone, and Ja-Ro-El-Sha for your reviews on iTunes!

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5 thoughts on “SLT076: Simplifying to Sell Your Home

  1. Great information about selling your home! Not sure if you remember our story from a comment back in March 2014 prior to our house sale but my partner and I sold our big old Victorian in Massachusetts last March to move to a small mobile home in rural Vermont and simplify our life. All your advice was great and right on target! We also had to really really really believe in our goal of a simpler life and selling the house was an essential step as part of that goal. Once we truly believed and could visualize it, we were able to stop looking at the house as “our house” and looked at it instead as the potential buyers “home” just as you stated. Once we did that, it was much easier to do the essential planning you emphasized and create the “free space” you talked about as well. We got rid of SO MUCH stuff. Why did we have all this stuff…including unopened boxes from our move from the West Coast 14 years earlier? A dumpster, Craig’s List, donations, giveaways to friends and just leaving stuff on the curb with a FREE sign. At first, it was a little difficult but I must say afterwards we felt great and I think it really changed our relationship with possessions forever! It also made the house look so spacious! We sold a lot of nicer pieces (although there were not that many) on Craigslist for a fraction of their value but all the people were so nice…we really felt like they were going to a great home. Our real estate agent used a “new to us” feature of “range pricing” which allowed us to list our house in a price range that would be acceptable. Our hoped for price was right in the center of that range. Our real estate agent also only scheduled ONE showing, weeks in advance and would not allow other real estate agents to show it or hang one of those lock doohickeys on our door. We were hesitant but trusted her. Demand built up and a line of cars filled our neighborhood on the day of that showing and we had 3 offers above our hoped for price minutes after the showing. One was at our desired price and the other two were above it by about $20,000. We could have been greedy and held out for more but since we had met (actually exceeded) our goal, we accepted the top offer and began the next chapter in our simpler life. One year later we are SO much happier and freer. We are now working in a mixture of part-time but meaningful work, consulting jobs and business ventures and have completely eliminated our debt…and have much more freedom to enjoy the outdoors, pursue our passions (including a lifelong passion of writing and publishing a book), getting involved in our community and just enjoying a much more free and creative life than we ever could have imagined. Your podcasts and other resources were a continual inspiration through that process. We continue to work at simplifying…it is of course a journey not a destination. Thank you both!

    • Wow, Erik! Yes, we clearly remember your previous comment and this is a fantastic follow-up! Thanks so much for sharing. It completely reinforces our home sale experience and, judging from conversations with our realtor, people who follow a process of decluttering definitely see a bump in sale price. That’s great short term validation for simplifying, but as you say it’s the long term benefit that are the REAL reward! All the best to you both!

  2. Hi!
    I’ve recently started listening to your podcast (I might be on episode 13? or something) so this might be something you’ve already talked about, in that case forget about it!
    Do you know of a good app to use as a blog reader – maybe an RSS feed app or something? I would love to follow all of my favorite blogs on my new iPad but have no clue how. And could you maybe explain how the whole RSS feed thing works…
    (I am terrible with new technology, but I’m pretty bright and once I get something it feels easy. So at the moment I’m lost. A combination of my husband and your podcast just got me into the whole Dropbox thing, a few years after I needed it.)
    Thank you for a great podcast!!!

    • Hi Ellen! So glad you’re enjoying the show! On my iPad, I use the Flipboard app for my RSS reader. Here’s a great little Flipboard 101 video. To add the site you want to follow, just type the full RSS URL into the search bar. Another RSS reader that’s pretty popular is Feedly.
      Basically, RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) searches sites you’re interested in to look for changes for you. When something is updated, RSS adds that to your “feed aggregator” or reader (which is what Flipboard and Feedly are). So, if you routinely read 100 blogs, RSS goes out and checks them for new stuff, so you don’t have to! Hope this helps!

      • Thank you so much, this helps so much! I’ve downsized the amount of blogs I follow just because I can’t keep up – or spend way to much time reading them… This would make it a lot easier, since it would mean I could keep the blog world in my iPad and focus my computer time on more important things (like web comics, most likely, I’m not good at doing useful things). Thanks!