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Seven Steps to De-Clutter Your Home for Sale
Your home may be in good condition and well built, yet simple clutter will create a perception of chaos, confusion, and disorder. The purchase decision is an emotional and intellectual response, based on a level of trust in your home. When buyers see clutter, they assume that the home has been neglected, with more to fix than meets the eye. This perception undermines your home's market value. De-cluttering is an essential part of your preparation, and is virtually cost free. This activity is goes hand in hand with moving.
Before you put your home on the market, have a garage sale, throw some things out, and box stuff up. Your move will be easier, and you will create an open, spacious, simplified look that buyers love. If you need support, a local home staging service can work with your furniture and create a whole new look. When it comes to selling your home, less is truly more. 1) Front Yard De-cluttering starts with your front yard.
Make sure the yard is mowed and edged, and remove toys, junk piles, empty flower pots, etc. An evenly cut yard is pleasing to the eye. Fertilize the grass a month or two ahead. Overgrown, woody shrubs give an old, tired look. Trim or remove them. Do not allow shrubs to cover windows. They block light on the interior, and give an appearance of crowding on the exterior. Coil hoses and place any tools inside the garage. Find a place to store extra cars or boats - other than the front of your house. De-clutter flower beds.
Mulch is inexpensive (about $2.00 per bag), and does wonders to simplify garden beds, especially in winter when plants are thin. Add flowers on the porch or in beds if weather permits. Too many flowerpots are distracting - use a few large pots with healthy plants. Never have empty pots or dead plants sitting around. Dried wreaths may be used on doors in winter, for a simple focal point. 2) Entry The buyers' first impression is critical, and shapes their attitude throughout the showing. Invest in a brand new welcome mat. Stains, scratches and dirty spots create distractions to the eye, and are a form of clutter. Clean, paint, and eliminate as many of these as possible.
Pay close attention to your front door. Is it dirty, darkened by mildew, or in need of re-finishing? Fresh paint or stain will make a huge difference. Consider having your whole house power washed to remove stains, spider webs and other clutter. The foyer should be clear of shoes, coats, or excess items on the walls. Create a single focal point in the entry with an attractive table or painting. 3) Living Areas Rooms should be sparsely furnished to appear larger and lighter. The garage or an off-site storage room can be used to hold extra pieces of furniture. Move large pieces of equipment - drums, telescopes, exercise equipment, etc. - to the garage or off-site. Do not allow furniture to block windows, doorways, or traffic patterns through rooms.
Do not allow wires to cross traffic patterns. Choose one or two elements as the main points of interest in a room - wood floors, a view, a table or piece of furniture, a nicely made bed, etc. Too many personal collections and photographs are distracting for buyers. Buyers must be able to imagine their own family in the home. A few decorative items or photographs on tables are fine, but reduce these to just a few nice pieces. Remove hunting trophies. They can be overwhelming in a small room, and may bother some buyers. Large plants often take up too much space. Allow only a few healthy plants in the house.
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