Monday, November 26, 2012

Time to sell: suggestions for removing the clutter

Ah, time to sell the house, and you are still living in it....  What do you do?

 Well, the house is not “your home” any longer, it is a property that you are showing to the whole world, with the purpose of selling it for the higher price, with the least amount of hassle. Here are a few of my suggestions:

* Money and valuables: Cash, checkbooks, coins, jewelry, watches, figurines, anything of value that is small and can be easily removed: it is best to put all these away. It's just better for everyone if it's out of sight (of course, there are some exceptions, depending on the property). Many people will go through your property, kids as well as adults and their agents. Some items which may not have any monetary value, but are very valuable to you (i.e. sentimental value) are best removed too. Why take a chance?

* Personal photos. In some cases, a few pictures of your family can give a feeling that the house is full of love. But if you have pictures everywhere, it is too much. Buyers really get distracted by them. If buyers spend their time looking at your pictures, they will leave the house not remembering the property so well. I can attest to that.

* Bills and personal papers. You may not be able to remove these documents from the home all together, but it is best to take the time to organize them, and put them out of sight, or show them in an organized way. Bills and papers laying around will attract the buyers’ look – it is almost instinctive, isn’t it? Again, there, it distracts the buyers away from looking at the house.

* Guns, weapons. Wherever they are and with any form they take, it's better to remove them from the home prior to listing. For some reason, I have seen buyers become either very distracted, or uneasy.

* Clothes, Shoes! Unless there is a good reason for it, a pile of shoes or clothes gives a buyer two impressions: 1/ that there isn't enough storage in your home. 2/ that the house is messy. So, in order to avoid wondering which one, on the part of the buyer, it is best to put them away.

* Medicine. To avoid any trouble it's best to simply remove medicine from the counters, the cabinets, the bathroom etc… if at all possible.

* Items on your kitchen counter (and bathrooms too). It is best to remove everything from your counters. The cleaner you can leave the counters, the more buyers dream of being in there. Also, if you store things on the counters it gives the appearance that you do not have enough storage space.

* Clean the drawers. Here too, it is best to show them clear of too much stuff, and organized. A good way to look at things is: you are going to move eventually; why not move stuff in boxes ahead of time? Clean drawers are like clean cupboards: when buyers open them, they feel invited to fill them out with their own stuff. – instead of feeling overwhelmed by the move that will need to take place before they buy the house. Perception is as important (if not more) as reality when you show a house for sale. Perceiving an “easy” move is so much more soothing to the mind than perceiving a mayhem to come.

* Refrigerator. It is really refreshing to walk into a home that has a clean fridge (and I mean: outside). Buyer's can't imagine their own children's drawing on there if it is covered with yours, and/or covered with magnets. Anything that distracts a buyer’s attention from the house is best left out.

* Furniture. Finally, any furniture that is not essential to you should be removed if at all possible. The property will show larger, more spacious, and buyers can better imagine their own furniture in it. This is why houses for sale often have garages full of furniture and boxes. The move has started !... The type of furniture that stays is a whole other subject… leading to the big “S” word: staging.

Thanks for reading!

Non-profit organization worth noting: Partners for New Generations.

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