March 25, 2012
In real estate, buyers buy space. The more space you're able to show, whether it be living or storage space, the more you'll be able to sell for. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. Most people are pack rats. Rooms have too much furniture and you'll find stuff overflowing in every nook and cranny. De-cluttering is the process of reclaiming the space in your house from years of collecting and storing. Don't expect the buyers to ignore all this and imagine your house in its clutter-free state. Buyers sometimes see dozens of houses in one day and their brains are overtaxed. De-clutter so the buyers can see your house, not your mess.
If you have grass cut it, water it, keep it green. Cut down trees growing too close to the house to allay fear of roots eating into the house foundation.
All pets smell, period! (I know I have a dog) When practical, look for a temporary home for your caged animals. As a minimum, clean their habitats and open the windows to air out the house. Pets that roam around the house represent a bigger challenge.
This is very important. You want your buyers to visualize themselves living in your house, not you living in it. Personal artifacts distract so you have to put them away – photographs, souvenirs, trophies, medals, posters, and family heirlooms.
If you’re a collector, then pack away your collectibles and valuables. Don’t forget your refrigerator’s door as it is one of the most common place to hang cute magnets, memos, postcards and all sorts of personal stuff.
The other reason to de-personalize has to do with safety. Buyers rummaging through your house are strangers and it would be better if they don’t know who lives there, or have access to any other personal data.
If you do nothing else to improve the value of your house, at least de-clutter. It just takes time and elbow grease, yet a lot of sellers don't put enough effort into it! To re-iterate this important point: buyers buy space in real estate.