That has been my experience. With most buyers, as soon as they walk in the front door their immediate reaction is either yes, or no. When a home looks fresh, clean, and uncluttered, it will sell faster than a similar home that is cluttered with personal items in even one room. Here are some of the suggestions I make to all my sellers:
1) De-personalize & De-Clutter
Since you are selling the house, that means it is no longer your home – it is just a house. You are going to move soon, so remove as much of yourself – emotionally and physically - from the house as possible so that buyers can see the property – not get distracted by looking at your stuff. This also gives you a head start on packing!
One of the best things you can do right now is pack up as much of your personal items as possible and store them in the garage, attic, or rent a storage unit. Go ahead and box them up. I’m talking about family photos, overstuffed closets, knickknacks, piles of books & magazines, etc. When you come across usable items you no longer need, consider giving them away on sites likeFreeCycle.org or donate them to Goodwill.
Keep your kitchen and bathroom counters as clear as possible. Buy a new shower curtain liner if needed. Put small kitchen appliances in the cabinets or a closet instead of letting them sit on the kitchen counter. De-clutter your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and keep things neat and tidy in the cabinets and drawers because buyers are going to open them! That includes the refrigerator – de-clutter the fridge and clean it – buyers are going to open it whether you are leaving it or not!
I recently saw an expired listing in the MLS and as I was looking through the photographs I knew immediately why the house didn’t sell. It had personal clutter in every room and on every surface. And the worse thing was the shower curtain in one of the bathrooms was designed with red (bloody) smeared hand prints – you know, Psycho (the movie) style.
Get in the habit of keeping the toilet lids down. Keep the bathroom mirrors clean. Don’t leave your toothbrush and toothpaste on the bathroom counter. Put all your cosmetics in a box that you can place in the cabinet or linen closet. Stow your hairdryer and curling iron in a cabinet or closet.
Take a look at your bedding. Now might be a good time to purchase inexpensive bed coverings. Make the beds every morning.
Keep the laundry room tidy. Keep clothes off the floor and in laundry basket – out of sight if possible.
2) Clean, clean, and clean! You want the house to shine!
Clean windows, tile/wood flooring, kitchen counters, cabinets, bathrooms, carpets, and bathroom mirrors. You want the house as clean as possible all the time (and less clutter helps you do that!). Install automatic air fresheners. Vacuum your carpets each morning before leaving the house.
Pressure wash the exterior of the house, patio, and deck if needed. Bleach tile grout. Knock down cobwebs. Freshen up your landscaping. Pull weeds and trim plants. Keep the lawn mowed and trimmed.
Don’t forget the garage. De-clutter the garage, sweep the floor, and knock down cobwebs.
3) Make minor repairs.
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
- Patch holes in walls.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Fix that toilet that “runs.”
- Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
- Consider painting your walls neutral colors. You don’t want buyers to remember your house as the one that needs to be completely re-painted!
Stand outside the house (front and back) and take a good look. Does it need some new plants, or flowers? A couple of pots of marigolds at the entrance might be just the welcoming touch it needs.
Stand at the entrance of every room and imagine what it will look like to a buyer. Is the room neat and tidy? Free of clutter and odors?
Remember that buyers want to envision themselves and their own personal belongings in what could be their new home!
I hope you will contact me when the time comes for you to sell your property. I will get your property in front of buyers throughout the Country and abroad. I can also help you “stage” the property for sale.