Clutter Eats Equity

We’ve all heard about the importance of curb appeal in attracting potential buyers and making the right impact.  But what about when they first walk in to your home?  Following curb appeal, experts say “CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER” as the next step in staging your home – even more important than cleanliness!  After all, if they can’t see past all the knick-knacks, they’ll never see all that effort you put into scrubbing.

What is clutter?  Although some may define clutter as “things you don’t use or love”, there’s little room in home staging for such a tolerant approach.  It doesn’t matter whether you think it’s clutter if a potential buyer is turned off by it.  One general rule is to remove everything from sight that is smaller than the size of a football.  You can expect to reduce the number of items in your house by 30%, either by storing, selling, or finally just throwing out junk that has been lying around too long.

Why reduce clutter?  It has been estimated that a potential buyer will judge whether or not they are comfortable in your home within the first 18 seconds.  Too many items on display or in closets can make people feel uneasy and even edgy.  The space feels inefficient, bogged down, and gives off the impression of inertia rather than positive, productive energy.  Remember, you want people to take ACTION and make you an offer!

Another thing about clutter is it draws attention to the wrong thing: itself.  Rather than potential buyers noticing how large and spacious your closets are, or the potential to work on projects in your garage, all they can see is what looks to them like a pile of unused junk.

Finally, reducing clutter, even furniture, will make your house, closets, and garage look larger.  This will make it much easier for other people to imagine their own furniture in the space.  Make your home a blank canvas by removing political/religious and hobby/career-related items and help potential buyers picture themselves living there.

Tips on reducing clutter:

  • Clear off horizontal surfaces, including floors.  Take everything off tables, and counter tops; put almost nothing back, maybe a bowl of crisp green apples.  No piles on the floor.
  • Books and magazines upright and in order on your shelves.
  • Clean out your closets.  Clean them out again.  Repeat until spacious and well-organized.  Remove winter coats and sweaters for that spring listing.
  • Remove fridge magnets and small area rugs.
  • Keep a storage container under the bed for pyjamas and bedtime reading.

What should I do with good items I just don’t need anymore?  Prudential Town Centre Realty is sponsoring a community garage sale to raise funds and awareness for Sunshine Dreams for Kids – for details look inside this newsletter!

The pay-off  Yes, it can be a pain to stash your shampoos, toaster and coffee maker for each showing.  But, houses that are de-cluttered will sell faster and for more than those that aren’t.  This is no easy task, but it alone will see an average return on investment of nearly 600%.  Besides, you’re moving soon, so why not get a head start on the packing!

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