How to Really Declutter Your Home for Buyers
HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN?
Your real estate agent has come to your house to assess what needs to be done to sell it the quickest. The word, “declutter,” continues to come up. You assure your agent that you are a very neat person and that everything will be clean when the potential buyers come to view it. Many sellers encounter the same situation each day. What agents wish their clients would understand is that decluttering is more than just keeping the baseboards dust-free and the countertops wiped down. Try some of the following tips and wow your real estate agent, and especially, your buyers.
With pen, paper and clipboard in hand, tour the outside of your home, then the inside. As much as possible, pretend that you don’t own the house and even that you’ve never seen the place. You will quickly see what your real estate agent meant by decluttering when you use this new perspective. Write down anything which is the least bit offensive to the eye, including unruly hoses, toys in the front yard, a busy mantle above the fireplace and newspapers stacked up in the laundry room. The list will seem longer the more times you go through the process. However, the more you notice, the more prepared your home will be for eagle-eyed buyers.
The biggest stumbling block for sellers preparing their home for the market is their lingering attachment to their house. From repainting a room neutral, to taking family photos off the wall, sellers must accept that their time in that particular house is coming to an end. To counteract this mental block, take your most personal items out of rooms first. Get plenty of clear plastic tubs, or boxes to store your items. Treat the decluttering process as if you are preparing a model home for viewing. In order to sell your home, you have to give the buyers room to imagine their personal belongings. Little forward-thinking daydreams about decorating your new abode should also counteract those strong attachments.
A good round of decluttering will often leave you with a pile of boxes and bins to contend with. Although stacking them up in a closet seems like a nice, out-of-the-way option, this may not be the best choice. Consider that closet space is often one of the key selling points for a home. Closets should look as impeccable as possible. This will aid greatly in creating a spacious feeling. If the closets are crowded and messy, the buyer may think that your home is just not big enough, even if it has the square footage they want.
Your garage is the most acceptable place for storage in the mind of the buyers. Of course, not everyone has this luxury. If you can convince a family member, friend, or even a neighbor to let you store those boxes and crates, then take advantage of the opportunity. However, if you really need or want your storage items in the house, then try to stack them up in the least conspicuous place you can find. A playroom or basement can usually stand to have a few of these bins stashed in the corner. Better yet, think about renting a temporary storage facility to house these things.
AM I DONE?
Despite all your efforts, be prepared to hear your real estate agent tell you that you still have too many belongings cluttering the house. If this happens, just remember that they’re on your side and that they’re the expert. Also, remember that a well-decluttered house is your quickest ticket to a “Sold!” sign.