Clutter-Free Helps Sell Homes

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Fine Properties

 A new year brings new motivation. To some of you, that might mean giving your homes a good cleaning. It is a way to clear both the physical and mental clutter and, if you're selling your home, it's a must-do to help draw in potential buyers.

Hard to believe, but cleaning and de-cluttering your home can increase the amount of the sales price and cost you as little as a few hundred dollars, if you use professionals, to complete the job. That small amount is little to pay when it is getting your home organized to escalate the chances of selling your home.

Most of us have more than we need. Having more stuff than you need in a home is not appealing to buyers. It can make them feel overwhelmed and apprehensive in your home, which may result in a lower offer or no offer at all.

The best approach to de-cluttering is to have a plan. Make a list and stick to it. Making a list will keep you on track and organized. If you do not have a plan, there is a chance you may get discouraged and give up. When making your list, keep in mind the best place to start clearing out the clutter is the hall closet. Why? Buyers are certain to open it up and check it out for space.

"The thing to remember, particularly with closets is, it doesn't matter how big the closet is -- if it looks crowded, the buyer still thinks it's a small closet," says Mary Pankiewicz, an expert ogranizer.

De-cluttering a home can be a huge task that can be made even more laborious if you're not careful. "What people will want to do is haul everything out of that closet and then they don't know what to do next because they've got too much stuff to deal with."

A systematic approach is recommended to clearing clutter. First, Pankiewicz tells clients to start with everything on the floor. Pull those items out and leave everything else inside. Go through the items and get rid of the things that you do not have a use for. "The golden question to ask is not 'Will I ever use that?' That's what I call the keeper question because the answer to that [question] is 'Who knows, maybe.' So then I better keep it," says Pankiewicz. She says the better question to ask is, "What will make me use this or what will make me need this?"

Pankiewicz says when that question is asked, often people realize that they're never going to use the item and then are more willing to let it go.

Once you have all of the items seperated that you are ready to let go, what do you do with them? Many sellers will store them until they are able to have a garage sale. Others donate the items. If you donate your items, make sure you take a look at the book Money for Your Used Clothing by William R. Lewis, CPA. The book tells you what the IRS will let you take as a tax deduction in 2008 for various items.

The mistake most sellers make is not clearing the clutter before they pack things up for the move. That can be a very costly mistake for sellers. "They put stuff in storage and they pay for it year after year and then when they finally look at it, it's nothing they want," says Pankiewicz.

The sooner you get your house organized and ready to sell, the better decisions you'll make and better offers you'll receive.

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Gina McKinley

ABR, CIAS, CDPE, CRS, SFR -Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa
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