Organizing Your Home Prior to Listing

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Horizon

Step back and take a look at your home as a buyer would. Is it cluttered? Are there newspapers, catalogs and magazines piled up all over the tables? Kids toys thrown all over? Shoes out all over the floor? What is the condition of the furniture, would you feel comfortable sitting on your sofa, or does it obviously belong to the family dog?

One great way to start organizing the home is to start with empty boxes with the name of each family member. Anything that you find in each room that doesn't belong in that room goes into that person's basket. That pair of shoes, those comic books, that old sweatshirt, the toys. Deliver the basket to the appropriate owner. Once you've gone through the clutter, focus on newspapers, catalogs and magazines. Throw out the old ones. If you must have your magazines and catalogs get a nice magazine holder you can put next to your chair.

Once you have cleared most of the clutter take a look around again. You will need to take time to clean and dust each room. Once the home is clean you'll be more apt to keep it that way. Vacuuming is key, if you have the time do it thoroughly. Pull the sofa and chairs out and vacuum behind them. If you don't have the time, vacuum around the furniture until you do have the time for a thorough vacuum.

Next, focus on the furniture. If your sofa has been stained or frayed by the kids or the pets and if the site of it makes you cringe imagine how the buyer feels when they walk through your home. It might be time for a new one. If a new one is out of the question, you can easily give your sofa a new and updated look with a slipcover. There are lots of fitted slipcovers available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Choose something neutral. 


Comments (8)

Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003
Monica: great post, do you mean look at your home as a buyer would? It seems this is a post for sellers and that you advocate the person looking from a competing perspective.
Feb 09, 2008 06:23 PM
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate
Being able to look through the eyes of another is key.  We get so comfortable in our own ways and stuff, just as our clients do. We need to help them break out.
Feb 09, 2008 06:31 PM
Monica Pineda
RE/MAX Horizon - Elgin, IL
RE/MAX Horizon - Elgin, IL Real Estate

Matt: Yes, thank you...I originally wrote this for my seller's section on my website. (corrected now to read buyer) I originally was stressing the point that with so many homes on the market, the seller needs to make sure their homes is the best one. THANK YOU! :)


Feb 09, 2008 06:42 PM
Monica Pineda
RE/MAX Horizon - Elgin, IL
RE/MAX Horizon - Elgin, IL Real Estate

Laurie: Exactly, I have gone through so many homes that were decorated or "lived in" a certain way that would be an immediate turn off to the average buyer. Neutral and simple is best.

Feb 09, 2008 06:47 PM
Nancy Brenner
Referral Associates of Georgia, Inc. - Roswell, GA
Roswell Georgia Real Estate Agent

I remember when we had our home in Fla on the market.  I decluttered and cleaned.  I couldn't believe that I had let things get the way they did.  Once it was all cleaned up, I hated to leave.  :-)  But alas, a job transfer took me back to the Atlanta area.

Great reminder to sellers that clean sells!

Feb 09, 2008 06:48 PM
Quakertown, PA
e-PRO, Realtor - Bucks County PA - 610-952-3578

Hey Monica.  Great post.  good thoughts here.  Good job


Feb 09, 2008 11:03 PM
Kelly Shoemaker
Coldwell Banker SELECT - Broken Arrow, OK
Realtor Broken Arrow, OK

Often times when I am showing I go through alot of nice homes and pick up some ideas for my own!  I was at one yesterday where they have all these pretty baskets in the pantry!  Guess what I'm doing today!


Feb 09, 2008 11:22 PM
Scott Wall
StoneHouse Realty, Inc - Bristow, VA
What do you think about folks with young kids. It's hard to keep things "neat" with a 1yr and 4yr playing around. It's hard to get the seller's to find a balance.
Feb 10, 2008 12:09 AM