Declutter. Declutter. And then Declutter some more
Decluttering is perhaps the most important part in preparing a listing. Buyers need to be able to see themselves living there. That’s pretty difficult when the home owners stuff fills every bit of available space. Of course the house must be clean, but decluttering goes beyond that.
The idea is to make it easy for home buyers to envision themselves living here. Therefore, personal items must go. A few nicely framed family photos on the wall are usually okay. It’s artwork. We’re talking about the free standing small frames on the night stand, coffee table, book shelf, mantle and everywhere else. Bedding is sometimes an area where a personal touch will turn off some buyers. Consider replacing the cheetah print bed spread with something more neutral.
Sometimes there is just too much stuff in the house. A room that has too much furniture will never photograph well. If all you see in the photo is the furniture, the room will look small no matter how large it actually is. You may have to rent a storage unit. It’s worth it.
Here are a few items you may want to consider storing elsewhere:
- Gym equipment – Get the tread mill out of the office and put it in the garage.
- Bookshelves – Clean them up. Neatly organized books on the shelf looks great. Junk filling the shelf does not.
- Cables and cords – Hide them the best you can.
- House Plants – Get rid of any sickly or dying plants. Also, don’t have too many. Larger plants should be treated like furniture. They can take up too much space.
- Kitchen Counter Top – Remove all but a few appliances. A few high end appliances in a large kitchen usually look nice, but if in doubt, remove it.
- Nightstands – Put away all medicines, tissues, etc.
- Living Rooms – Removing an ottoman or extra seating will show more floor space, appearing larger. This is especially true for smaller living rooms.
- Floor Mats and Rugs – If they are functional, they must go! If they are decorative, it’s a judgment call, if it adds value.
In general, think about how a model home looks. Everything is perfect!
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- Declutter!!! A busy home does not photograph well. Remove as much clutter as possible. This includes: knick-knacks on the selves/mantel, photo frames on the bed stand, remote controls. etc.
- Remove items that are too personal to appeal to the general public. Examples are: art work that may be offensive to some, the beat up quilt you’ve had since you were a kid, etc.
- Replace any burnt out light bulbs. It will make the photo shoot better and will show better when buyers come in.
We all know that listings look better furnished than vacant. Sometime that’s just not an option. For example, if the home owners have already moved out and the listing is just empty.
There is nothing better than traditional staging to bring life to your listing. However, most sellers are simply not willing to pay the thousands of dollars for it to be done.