Your clutter is communicating with potential buyers more than you may think.
Imagine walking around your property for the very first time ever as a completely different person—with different interests, different family dynamic, different needs when it comes to housing. Be honest in your assessment. Is the patio so crammed with furniture that half of it is unusable? Can you open the door to the storage closet to see its' size? As a completely different person, do you feel welcome in this home?
Clear the clutter from your home to convey these 4 things to potential buyers:
1. “You could live here.”
To sell your property, you want it to feel as welcoming as possible! This means that anything that could make a buyer feel uncomfortable or “uninvited” should be removed. The kissing-at-our-wedding photos are very sweet and wonderful to your loved ones, but may not be appreciated by someone that doesn’t know you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your home needs to be void of all signs of personality! Just understand that there is a difference between overly-personal items and items that are welcoming to everyone.
NOTE: Ask yourself while walking through your home, “which items might feel unwelcoming to someone that doesn’t know me?” You may be uncomfortable removing things that are so personal, but gently remind yourself that the goal is to move into your new home. These items can be unpacked in your new home after this one sells!
2. “There is plenty of space.”
Clearing out the excess allows the home’s positive aspects to be highlighted and the potential downfalls to be downplayed. Maybe the closets in your home aren’t very large, but having them jam-packed with belongings only makes them seem smaller. Maybe your home has a ton of kitchen counter space, but a potential buyer can’t see that when the counters are covered with appliances and unsorted mail. Understand that, during a showing, a lot of buyers will want to see the insides of closets, pantries, et cetera.
NOTE: A good rule of thumb when it comes to closets is to have 30% of the space open. It’s up to you whether you do this by storing out-of-season items away or by purging items you no longer want. Another thing strongly suggested for kitchen counters is to have visible only items that are used every day. When these things are done, buyers can see the home itself instead of focusing on your “stuff”.
3. “This home offers a great lifestyle.”
For some buyers, the importance of the house itself is pale in comparison to the lifestyle that the home offers. What people are really hunting for is a fresh start in the perfect space for their sought-after lifestyle. For example, they want to see that there is plenty of shelving space to organize their tools in the shop; they want to see that the whole family can sit on the deck while they grill. A buyer has to be able to envision themselves living in the space!
NOTE: Another thing to take into consideration while talking about lifestyle is that undone chores remind buyers of the upkeep that will take up their time. It may sound trivial, but imagine a home with a huge yard. If the lawn hasn’t been mowed, the buyer will be visualizing mowing this huge space instead of visualizing their kids running around, having fun. The size of the yard suddenly goes from being a positive thing to being a huge chore. Your undone chores are like “mind-clutter,” making it seem more complicated to live in this home.
4. “We are ready to move out, so that you can move in!”
Anything that you can do to make your home seem more move-in ready needs to be done! Buyers can subconsciously envision how much work you have left to do in order to move out. Your clutter could potentially add to their stress. We really don’t want potential buyers thinking that you might not be ready to move out in time.
NOTE: The added benefit for you is that the process of packing and sorting better prepares you to move—physically and emotionally. Packing away or getting rid of items that you can do without will make it much easier to move. It will save your time, energy and money during the stressful moving process. Save yourself from being overwhelmed by thinking ahead!