February 18th, 2010 Categories: Selling
Declutter: Remove the “Stuff” in Your Home
This can be the most time-consuming and most important thing you do to help sell your home. “Stuff” in your home works against you in several ways. Stuff takes up space – space in your closet, space in your bedrooms, space in your primary living areas. In effect, stuff we’ve collected can make our home seem much smaller than it actually is. You don’t want buyers to think “The closets are too small”, “the living area is too cramped” or “there’s no room for a media center in the basement”. Buyers only know what they see. You don’t want them to see small, stuffy spaces because of your stuff.
Stuff is distracting. Buyers can’t help it: they will will look at your things. They’ll look at the pictures, the books, the Nick Knacks and everything else. You want them to see the gleaming hardwood floors, the high ceilings and the great view of the back yard. A home full of clutter will easily steal the show distracting buyers from your home’s best features.
And let’s be honest: most of this stuff should be given away or thrown-out. Why pay to move and store things that you really don’t need? Sounds simple enough, but it’s often difficult to discard items that aren’t trash, but really don’t have much value. And, it can be hard work getting this stuff out of the house. Listing items for free on Craigslist can be a great solution. Families who really need your old furniture, toys, bikes and the like will have a need for it — and they’ll come and get it. If you have boxes of personal documents that can’t go out with the trash, plan to bring them to our 2010 Shred Event.
Painting walls a neutral, warm color brightens a room and gives a home a clean look. Fresh white paint on ceilings and trim make an even bigger impact. Light, earth-toned colors are the way to go. As a rule, avoid blues, greens and reds. However, professionally coordinated paint that’s in great condition does not necessarily need to be repainted.
What about wallpaper? If the wallpaper is shiny, really busy or peeling, then it should be removed and the walls should be painted. As a rule, wallpaper in small rooms like bathrooms should often be replaced even if it’s in good condition since most wallpaper patterns make small rooms seem even smaller. If a room has wallpaper that’s in great shape and it doesn’t overwhelm, then it doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced.
Carpet and Flooring
When carpet needs to be replaced, here’s what we hear from clients – “I’ll just give the buyer a credit so they can select what the want.” This is absolutely a common-sense, logical expectation. However, in practice, this isn’t the way to go for several reasons. Buyers only know what they see. When a buyer sees a home with new carpet, they see a clean, well-maintained, quality home. Impressions are important. When they see a room with old, dirty carpet that’s not in great shape, the see a home that hasn’t been maintained.
Also, with a credit, your buyer will assume that carpet is much more expensive than it really is.
What about hardwood and ceramic tile? Clean your hardwood floors as best you can. If the floors need to be re-finished, then your home will definitely look better if you take care of this yourself. Granted, this can be quite a hassle when your home is full of furniture. This is something that we advise on a case-by-case basis. For ceramic flooring, clean and re-grout where needed. Make them look as good as possible.
Garage and Unfinished Basements. A fantastic way to improve the look of an unfinished basement is to paint the concrete floor a utility-gray color.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Buyers know what they see. Even if your home could use some updates, if it’s clean, buyers are given the impression that it’s well-maintained. The kitchen and baths should sparkle. Also remember to clean light fixtures and make sure that all light bulbs are working. Cleaning windows and removing screens bring in more light. Buyers love bright, clean spaces.
Curb Appeal Matters
From the first step out of their car, buyers immediately begin to form an opinion of your home. External wood trim should be in good condition, shutters in great shape and the front yard should be nicely landscaped. Make it look good – you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
If you can only do five things to prepare your home, that’s your list. Want even more tips? Let us send you a Free Home Sellers Guide with even more guidance. Of course, contact us and we will be happy to take a tour of your home, give you specific advice and recommend painters, contractors and handymen.