Banish Clutter to Sell Your Home Faster!

Two of the most important ingredients in a successful house-marketing campaign are competitive pricing and making a great first impression on prospective buyers. Although your real estate agent can assist in achieving both of those goals, keeping your home in “show ready” condition will be up to you and your family.

When your home is actively being shown, the process is not unlike a job interview. The main similarity is that you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Potential buyers have a mindset that’s similar to that of a hiring manager: They are intensely focused on making the right decision. Since the last thing they want to do is make the wrong choice (or a less-than-optimal choice) it’s up to you — the home seller– to present your home in its best possible light.

Other than keeping your home squeaky clean and your lawn looking as manicured as possible, it’s also to your benefit to reduce clutter. A house that’s filled with clutter will definitely send the wrong message to prospective buyers searching for their next home. Clutter takes many forms, so it often requires a concerted effort to identify and remedy it. Here are a few key areas to focus on:

Furniture clutter: Having too much furniture in a room or entryway can give visitors the impression that your home is cramped, too small, or disorganized. If you’ve had a tendency to add furniture to your home, over time — without putting some pieces in storage — then you may have inadvertently created a cluttered “look and feel” to your living space

Surface clutter: Have you ever noticed how things that belong in drawers, cabinets, and recycling bins often end up on tables, counter tops, and bookshelves? If that’s taking place in your home, rest assured you’re not alone! However, if you’re preparing to put your home on the market, you’ll make a much better impression on potential buyers if you remove as much surface clutter as possible.

Storage-area clutter: Although there’s a lot of truth to the saying “Out of sight, out of mind,” that usually doesn’t apply to preparing your home for the real estate market! Serious house hunters are pretty thorough, and are generally going to glance in closets, basements, attics, and garages. So if you simply move your clutter to another part of the house, it will still be noticed! Granted, your clutter will be less prominent in storage areas, but it will still have a detracting effect on the overall impression your home makes. The solution involves a combination of strategies, including selling or donating unwanted belongings. In some cases, you might even consider renting a dumpster or calling a reasonably priced junk-hauling service to get rid of things you don’t want and can’t donate, sell, or give away.

It’s not always easy to be objective when staging your home or evaluating its marketability, so an experienced real estate agent can provide you with invaluable guidance, advice, negotiating help, and marketing assistance

Help Your Real Estate Agent Sell Your Home Faster

If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, your real estate agent will create a focused marketing plan that will help attract interested prospects to your home. Although your agent will tap into a variety of resources to make it widely known that your house is for sale, there’s information you can provide which will help them present it in its best possible light.

Specifically, I’m talking about the things that make prospective buyers perk up, such as HVAC system upgrades, major home improvements, and decorating updates. If you’ve kept good records about rooms you’ve remodeled, fixtures you’ve replaced, and any structural, cosmetic, or mechanical upgrades you’ve made over the years, it would be helpful to itemize those improvements and share them with your Realtor or real estate agent.

Unless your home was newly constructed when you bought it, chances are you’ve made numerous changes. Here are examples of some of the types of information you’ll want to pass along to your agent:

  • The age of the roof: There are a lot of variables, when it comes to the life expectancy of roofing materials. With harsh weather conditions — including sweltering summer days and annual ice buildups — Mother Nature subjects your roof to a lot of wear and tear. If it’s been more than 20 years since your roof was last replaced, the shingles are probably starting to show visible signs of deterioration. That’s definitely not a selling point for prospective buyers. What house hunters do love to hear is that the roof is relatively new and has been replaced within the past five years. Although prices vary and can run higher, roofs typically cost at least $10,000 to replace. Many potential buyers would be turned off by the prospect of having to shell out that kind of money after they close on the house. Others might use that as a bargaining chip to get you to lower your asking price. In either case, an old roof puts you at a disadvantage.
  • Completed remodeling projects: Although some home buyers thrive on the idea of renovating a property themselves, most would prefer an updated home. Recently remodeled bathrooms and kitchens will make your house much more appealing and marketable to would-be buyers. If those closely scrutinized rooms look dated or poorly maintained, you can be sure that will negatively impact the selling price and/or the amount of time your house stays on the market.
  • Mechanical and electrical upgrades: People like to hear about improvements like a new central air conditioning system, a furnace replacement, or an upgraded electrical panel. These can all be major selling points, especially among prospective buyers who have had trouble with any of these vital systems in the past.
  • Miscellaneous: Other features that could help sell your house may include energy-efficient windows, new flooring, lighting, security systems, room additions, a new driveway or walkways, a finished basement or attic, basement waterproofing, new siding, fencing, patios, porches, and landscaping improvements.

While this is not a comprehensive list of all the home improvements you’ll want to share with your real estate agent, it includes many of the key items that will be on the minds of prospective buyers.