It’s the phrase everyone hates to hear when they ask their Realtor® “What do I need to do to sell my home fast?” The standard answer, “Clean and declutter your house”.
You don’t have to be a hoarder, for your house to need a little decluttering. Most of us would admit we have too much stuff anyway. Maybe a better phrase might be to de personalize your home, instead of decluttering your home. After all, the ultimate goal is for potential buyers to fall in love with your home, not with your stuff.
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Here are nine reasons why tidying up your home and minimizing will help you find the perfect buyer faster.
Decluttering lets buyers see your home rather than you
As we’ve mentioned already, you want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, not your knickknacks and pictures. When buyers come into your home, personal items are a distraction. You want buyers to imagine it’s their home, without being reminded that someone else lives there.
To keep your buyers focused on your home, remove the personal family photos. If you have collectible knickknacks, pack them for moving and put them in storage. Give your buyer’s imaginations blank canvas. Let them fill in the canvas with pictures of their children or grandchildren. The key is to minimize everything except the best features of the home itself.
Minimizing, maximizes the size of your home and makes it feel bigger
Have you ever walked into a room or house and said, “This house feels smaller than it really is?” People feel space more than anything other measurement. That’s why ten foot ceilings make houses feel bigger than eight foot ceilings, even though the square footage is the same.
Decluttering has the same impact. It increases the perceived size of your home. Whether it’s removing pictures from hallways, kitchen appliances from the counter, or the removing the bathroom hair dryer, all of these things consume the perceived space in your home. The phrase “less is more” is really true when it comes to showing your home. It makes a difference in your buyers’ perception about how big your house feels.
Does your living room or master bedroom have too much furniture? Maybe it’s time to give away that old couch or loveseat. When we hire staging companies to stage our homes for selling, they usually put very few items in a room. Stagers add just enough furniture to make the room feel comfortable. The reason? It makes the rooms feel larger.
Reducing clutter shows off your storage
It can be tempting to put everything away in closets and cupboards. Resist that temptation. Instead, empty your closets and cupboards. Have a garage sale and sell all of the stuff you don’t want to take with you when you move, or put it in storage offsite.
When buyers open up your closets and cabinets, it will give them the impression that there’s lots of storage in your home. Instead of seeing cabinets full of miscellaneous food containers, let them see a simple set of containers, but leave the majority of the cabinet empty. You want your cupboards and closets to be 2/3’s empty.
It’s our experience, it’s actually easier to sell a vacant house than one that is lived in. The reason? It simply has more storage space and looks bigger than an occupied home. However, this isn’t always practical. For a few hundred dollars, you can rent a storage unit and put everything that isn’t necessary for your home in storage.
Note: See our related article 10 Questions to ask estate sale company before hiring them.
De-cluttered homes feel cleaner
You may not be a person who keeps a dirty house. However, a house with little to no personal belongings feels clean. Notice we said, “feels clean”.
I know we keep saying this, but your buyers aren’t always going to be logical about your house. They cannot always see past the stack of magazines. Instead, they will have an emotional reaction to your home. Realtors® talk about how their buyers “just love the house”. This isn’t a logical reaction, it’s an emotional reaction. A decluttered house simply appeals to your buyers’ emotions.
Make your home look better online
Buyers shop for homes on the Internet more than they shop in person. Gone are the days of buyers driving from house house before making a decision. Most buyers are looking online at the photographs of your home. They’re making the decision to either go physically see your home or a different home from the comfort of their computer screens.
If the photographs of your home are filled with personal items, your buyers may choose to spend their limited time going to a different house that looks spacious, clean and has lots of storage. And they make that decision mostly from the pictures they see online.
Less stuff will be easier for your move
While this is not directly going to help your home sell faster, it will help your move be less stressful. Force yourself to prepare for your move a little early. It seems like every time I move, I find there’s a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t need anymore. Packing to move, forces me to downsize and reevaluate if I really need that old exercise bike or computer table anymore.
By beginning to pack before you move, you’re also decluttering your home making it more attractive to buyers. If you haven’t used something for more than a year, what’s the chances you’re going to need it in the next six months? Maybe it’s time to either sell or donate some things.
Make your home feel newer and well maintained
A decluttered home will simply feel newer and better maintained than one with lot’s of personal belongings everywhere. People perceive that clean homes are well maintained homes. Whether it’s your buyers’ ability to see into every corner and know that there’s nothing hidden, or just the sense that the person living here took care of their possessions, including the home, your home will appear in better condition when tidied up.
Decluttered homes reduce liability
Clutter creates hazards. It might be potential trip hazards from items sitting on the floor, or blenders falling out of kitchen cabinets and hitting buyers’ on the head. You can avoid potential lawsuits or insurance claims by keeping your home clutter free.
Keep the focus on your home, not on clutter
We’ve said this a few different ways. We want our potential buyers to look at the house, not everything else. After all, we’re selling our house. We want buyers to fall in love with our house, not our stuff. To do that, we need to minimize every personal item that might distract a buyer.
Helpful resources for decluttering