De-cluttering is such a buzz-but how can it help me sell my home?

Home Stager with Martin Designs

De-cluttering goes a long way to selling quicker and for top dollar.  It’s this month’s focus as one of the top ten selling tips.

De-cluttering and staging a home are crucial to success in today’s market.  Buyers need to ‘visualize’ themselves and their possessions in the midst of your belongings.  Inevitably their first impression is the one that sways their decision to make an offer.  How can they possibly see themselves as having enough storage space if they can’t get past the visual noise of stuffed cupboards, overflowing drawers and claustrophobic closets, all dead giveaways of the present family’s torment?

When you're ready to place your home on the market, start by packing personal belongings into a self-storage container.  They can be delivered directly to your driveway so loading can start immediately eliminating the need for extra packing and unpacking.  To simplify packing create 3 piles; packing, donating and tossing.  Once you’ve decided where the items are to go, you have ultimately created less packing to take along with you to your new home and saved a great deal of money for storage as well.  Packing at the beginning of a move liberates space in the house, facilitating carpet and floor cleaning or painting if necessary.

This fall is a perfect time to tackle all of those areas that have been out of sight, out of mind.  If the spring market is on the horizon, right now is the time to start. Here are a few helpful hints we use with our clients when packing:

-2 cubic-foot boxes work best for books and small kitchen items

-6 cubic-foot boxes work best for items in the linen closets (sheets, blankets)

When you're ready for staging, you can do it yourself although we suggest using a professional stager.  The reluctance on behalf of sellers to spend extra money on a professional is counter-productive as study after study shows that the increased selling price of a staged home far exceeds the cost of having it staged.  Professional stagers can turn a cold lifeless looking property into one that is warm and inviting. Many homeowners dismiss home staging as the process of de-cluttering and cleaning alone when in reality the real work of staging originates once the de-cluttering is completed.  The next step is to address those 9 other factors and strike a balance.

 master bathroom ensuite before de-cluttering and staging

 after de-cluttering and staging



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Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Great article. Photos are worth a thousand words.

Oct 25, 2009 01:25 AM #1
Susan Crema-Martin
Martin Designs - Sharon, ON

Thanks Janice,  I am finally getting back to posts on Activerain, I have been writing but not posting them here.  I have been building my business here in Toronto. 

Oct 25, 2009 11:27 AM #2

Great post Susan.

It is simple: the buyers cannot see past clutter.  If you want them to see the granite countertop, it has to be clear.

If you want the buyers to see the size of the rooms, you have to de-clutter & often remove large pieces of furniture so they can see the room and not the possessions - good or bad.

De-cluttering makes good business sense!

Oct 26, 2009 04:49 AM #4
Emer S
casaGURU - Toronto, ON

So true, a clear decluttered space looks not only nicer but bigger. And contrarily, if a place looks cluttered it may make a prospective buying assume there's not enough storage space, regardless if there is or not.

Oct 28, 2009 09:55 AM #5
Peter - Toronto Real Estate Photo & Video
StoneHome Photo & Video - Toronto, ON

Agreed. Clutter is horrible. As a photographer, I don't mind moving a garbage can or hiding a few things here and there to "clean" up the scene, but sometimes, as in your example, it's just not worth my time. And no matter what I do, no matter how well I shoot a photo, the clutter will ruin the shot, the clutter will be the first think everyone sees.

By the way, I can tell you know a think or two about real estate photography. I would suggest you increase your exposure or at least bounce a flash off the ceiling....or hire me for your next shoot! :)

Oct 29, 2009 04:14 AM #6
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