Thursday, February 22, 2018

Budgeting for Your Move

My home has been on the market for three weeks as of today, and we've had no offers yet. We've had a lot of interest, four very well-attended open houses, and numerous private showings. There have been questions and second visits, and even some back and forth between agents. But nothing on paper. Yet. I remain hopeful.

Meanwhile, I am exhausted. I'm sure part of that is the emotional drain of selling our home, or rather trying to sell our home, and not knowing when this will all be over. Most of it though is physical exhaustion. From all the prep work and purging to the constant cleaning I have to do to keep this place ready to show 24/7. I just want to sleep!

And then there's all the unexpected costs involved. I mean, I'm fine, but I've spent a ton of money on things like eating out that I hadn't planned on. Naturally I factored in the obvious costs, like lawyer's fees, land transfer taxes, and moving trucks. But there are many more I hadn't thought about in advance.

1. Repairs and Maintenance - If you want to sell your house with a minimum of fuss, you'll likely need to play catch-up on repairs and maintenance issues you've ignored or gotten used to over the years. We've lived for 14 years with a cracked toilet tank lid. But I can't sell the house like that, so I bought a new toilet and had it installed. We just never got around to it, although it came up quite often in the first couple of years we lived here. Much like the master bedroom. I had every intention of painting over the sponge-painted faux finish peach walls back in 2004. But after a few years I really didn't see the walls anymore. For the record, my contractor painted them a lovely light grey for market. Plan for a contractor, or add in the time to do things yourself. A new coat of paint here, a cracked switch plate replaced there, it all adds up.

2. Cleaning - Particularly if you've had contractors through and there's drywall dust everywhere, but even just for everyday dirt, you will want to give your house a major top-to-bottom cleaning. If you have the time to do it yourself, awesome. I saved myself the time and aggravation and paid professional cleaners to come in. Now they've done the solid "spring cleaning" type base and I just have to keep it up. Daily. Argh.

My kitchen has never been so clean.

3. Eating out - This relates directly to "cleaning" as well as to the exhaustion you'll feel from all the prep you are doing. At first, I was too tired to cook after purging and packing all day to get the house de-cluttered. So we ordered in. A lot. Then once the house went on the market and people started to book viewings, two things happened. First, cooking a real meal makes a mess. I can't have a mess. So, we went out to eat. Second, in an ideal world, the home owner is not actually home when potential buyers visit. So, when they book around meal times, we go out to eat. This is getting expensive! (But yummy.)

4. Entertainment - Especially on Open House days. We absolutely can't be home then. We have invited ourselves over to hang with friends for some of them, but we've also gone to movies. Think about how you will fill your time when you have to be out of the house. Set up some free options, family and friends who will shelter you for a while, etc. Otherwise this can really get out of hand.

5. Staging - OK, so this one hasn't been bad. My agent isn't big on staging. She believes in de-cluttering and presenting a bright, welcoming, clean space. But, she did bring fresh flowers for picture day, and I've been buying more as needed to keep a cheerful display. I am enjoying them as well, of course, but it is money I'm spending each week. I also bought new towels and mats, and a basket for each of us to use for quick tidying.

6. Storage - This is one I should have thought of from the beginning. There is a ton of "stuff" in this house, and I needed to either toss or hide a lot of it before we could let potential buyers through the door. The house actually has great storage in the crawl space, but my late husband had that packed, and I needed to get things out of the house so I could start thinking about what to keep and what to toss/sell/donate. So, I rented a portable storage unit that is currently sitting in my driveway.  If you have a lot of stuff you will move with you, but you need out of the way for your house to show at its best, look into renting a storage unit, either in a storage facility nearby, or have one brought to you.

7. Junk/Garbage Disposal - Two stages to this one. In my purging stage, and with the contractors working on the house, we created a ton of garbage. In Toronto, we are limited to how much garbage we can put out on our appointed day. If it doesn't fit in the bin, you have to pay extra. I had 6 extra bags. Each one was $4 I think. Once the house sells and the weather clears, I'll be creating a lot more, big garbage as I clean up the yard and sheds. And as I pack and purge the crawlspace, I know I'll have a crazy amount to get rid of. I expect to be hiring a junk removal company to look after that. I really miss the big garbage and recycling bins at our rental townhouse. That move was eased greatly by our ability to toss anything and everything we wanted to without charge!

So, yeah. There's repairs, and cleaning, and prettying up, and storage and garbage, and eating out and entertainment. I could have done a better job of budgeting for these things. And I could have done less and not spent as much. Or done and spent a lot more. It's all a part of the process. I hope this helps give a picture of the types of things you have to spend money on when you're trying to sell your home. Maybe it will help someone else go into the process a little more prepared!

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