I had a great home buying and selling experience in the midst of a real estate recession several years ago.
We didn’t have our home staged, and my decor is pretty sparse as a minimalist. I think having a decluttered home was a big part of our success. Decluttered homes were also the most appealing to me when we were house hunting.
While looking for our new home and trying to sell our old one, I spent a lot of time searching online listings and reading books, articles, and blogs about selling a home.
The overall consensus from real estate experts was that staged homes sell faster and for more money than non-staged homes. This seemed to be the case no matter what the real estate climate.
While staging can help a home sell, decluttering has to happen first, so staging is really the icing on the cake more or less. Pretty place settings at the table and rolled towels next to the bathtub do help, but aren’t necessary in my opinion.
A home also doesn’t have to be completely empty to sell, but it helped in our case. The owners had moved out of the home we bought, and I was able to see every surface and imagine how our furniture would fit. The funny thing is that we saw the home several months before it was empty and we didn’t consider it a contender.
The owners kept the house neat, but we had trouble seeing ourselves living there until we saw it empty. This is probably not possible for most people while selling their home nor is it necessary, but it makes a good argument for the importance of decluttering.
I’ve always heard that buyers need some sort of furniture to be able to picture the function and flow of particular rooms. I can see where this would help if the house has an open floor plan in which rooms are hard to differentiate.
When my brother sold his house, he chose a realtor who was one of the top sellers in our area. He had already moved to another house, but left some key pieces of furniture behind for that reason.
It didn’t sell as quickly as he wanted, and the realtor told him to move the rest of the furniture out because empty houses usually sold better. He did and it sold shortly after.
Unless your home is professionally staged, your furniture and belongings may not appeal to the masses. It’s impossible to please everyone’s tastes, so eliminate as much stuff as possible. Rooms will look larger when a bunch of furniture and stuff is not crammed into them.
Features that are too personal can destroy potential buyers’ ability to see themselves in a home. The fix can be as easy as boxing up knick-knacks and taking pictures off the walls. You’ll be that much ahead on moving day!
Personal items such as family photos, wall hangings, and collectibles should be packed and stored out of sight. This might mean renting a storage unit or borrowing space in a friend’s garage.
If the thought of paying extra money or asking for favors to house your belongings bothers you, you might want to make a fresh start and get rid of as much as possible.
In my opinion, nearly every surface should be clear. Don’t worry about decorating the space as much as presenting a clean, clear space that leaves room for buyers to imagine as their own.
From a buyer’s standpoint, I had more trouble looking past clutter than I thought. I knew the house would look different when empty, but a cluttered house truly was an obstacle in imagining the potential that was there.
The work you put into your home to prepare it to sell will help you get the best possible result when it sells. Decluttering will help your home show well, appeal to more buyers, and give it a winning edge over the competition.
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