Declutter = Money

By Erin Sheridan, Sales Associate

Spring is here and the season to sell is upon us.  If you are prepared to dive in and sell your home, where do you start?  

First and foremost, declutter!  Why?  Because Space Sells!

Decluttering is an essential aspect of achieving the highest sale price for your home, period. Nothing gives you the greatest return on your investment than decluttering, period.   Decluttering before your first showing will result in thousands more in your pocket.  And it’s absolutely free. You just have to do it.

Remember, the biggest reason people give for moving is lack of space in their current home. Buyers are looking for a home that gives them the space they need now, plus more to grow into in the future. As the seller, you want to visually encourage the buyer to see the space in your house and imagine themselves happily living in it.

Here’s the psychology. Buyers get distracted by the stuff they see when they walk into a cluttered home and overlook what they should be looking at instead.   Things like the great light, the floor space, the spacious storage and the flow of the house.

Whether it’s done consciously or subconsciously, the Buyer is making a judgment comparing your life to the better life they aspire to in a new home. If they come into your home and conclude that you are running out of space because they see too much stuff, then they will conclude they will not have enough room for all of their stuff. It’s that simple. It’s the biggest turnoff you could give.

A buyer should be able to open cupboards and doors easily. There should be no obstacles to prevent them from walking within a room or from one room to the next. Closets, storage spaces and garages should be cleaned out and organized. You certainly don’t want a buyer to open a closet and have things that will fall on them or trip over the snow shovel as they walk from the kitchen into the garage!

To start to declutter, walk from room to room in your house and make a real objective judgment about what stays and what goes. If you don’t trust your judgment, ask a friend to look and don’t be sensitive about what you hear. Make a list. Then pull out the trash cans, rent a dumpster and grab a bunch of boxes or plastic bins.

Either pack or trash anything that you don’t need for your immediate day-to-day life starting from the day the house goes on the market. . Things like off season sports equipment, out of season clothes and that crock pot and bread maker you haven’t used for the last five years are all examples of items to pack or trash. You will probably find outdated food if you look in the back of the kitchen cabinets. And those pants you hoped would fit one day, probably won’t. While you are at it, pack those family photos, the awards from work and remove all the clutter from your counters and surface space. 

Say to yourself Space Sells as you go from room to room.

Once you think you are done, take a second look. Do more things need to go to achieve your Space Sells goal? If so, do it again. When you are satisfied that a Buyer will see all that space in your house and imagine themselves happily living in it, you are done. Your house is ready for showings, plus it will be easier to keep it ready for showings during the process.

The other added benefit of decluttering? Your packing and clean out is half finished.

And most importantly, the decluttering makes you emotionally moved out and ready when the house does sell.  As you start to see your house changing, it will become less your home and more like a place you are staying temporarily while getting ready for your next adventure.  That next adventure being your new home!

Consider This” is a series that provides tips to buyers and sellers of residential real estate.

Erin Sheridan is licensed in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. She is a sales associate and Team Leader of the Sheridan Group at Abbott Properties.

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