Home is characterized by words like warmth and safety. It’s the place you retreat to when the world gets stressful and chaotic. It’s your place – personal, special, and intimate. But when it comes time to sell, you have to forget about this. Suddenly, it’s no longer about you and your family. It’s about the next homeowner.
As difficult and emotional as it can be to process, you have to declutter and depersonalize before listing your house. A failure to do so could compromise your listing and leave prospective buyers overwhelmed.
The Importance of Decluttering and Depersonalizing
When selling a house, your goal is to make it to where prospective buyers can picture themselves in your home. But if you have lots of clutter and personal mementos strewed about, it’s nearly impossible for people to imagine themselves living there.
Think of it like this: You’re trying to show people how the house could be lived in – not how the home is currently being lived in. Clutter and personal effects make this an uphill battle.
“You have to take your personal experiences out of the house and let the professionals come in,” home designer Michelle Vassey says. “Get your realtor and your stager – they work as a team to help you get the most money for your property.”
While you ideally want to declutter and depersonalize all aspects of the home, the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and dining room are the four key rooms to focus on. You have to get these right.
How to Declutter Your House
The biggest reason people move is lack of space. They want more space for their growing families and possessions. And if your house appears cluttered, it also appears smaller than it is.
This works against you and could actually keep a qualified buyer from putting in an offer.
Decluttering makes your house appear bigger and helps you accentuate the rooms and design elements that are most likely to influence buyers. Not only that, but it streamlines the moving process by making packing easier after the house goes under contract.
Not sure where to begin? Here are several tips to help you declutter with ease:
- Start with curb appeal. Your home’s curb appeal sets the first impression. So why not start here? Decluttering the outside of your home looks like cleaning up the landscaping, removing weeds and leaves, and simplifying your front porch down to just a couple of essential pops of color.
- Remove everything from counters. Countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms are huge problem areas. You should remove everything before showing the home.
- Tidy up storage rooms. Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to clean up your room, so you crammed everything into the closets? Don’t do that. Buyers will open up closets to see how much storage space you have. Cluttered shelves will make closets feel smaller than they are.
- Simplify play areas. Take time to declutter play areas, such as kids’ rooms and playrooms. It’s okay to leave a few toys out in the open (to show the versatility of the space), but you should severely limit how many.
These are just a few easy suggestions – the low-hanging fruit, if you will. Once you get some momentum in these areas, tackle the rest of the house. (Remember, you’ll eventually have to pack up everything in order to move out. Anything you do on the front end will save you time down the road.)
How to Depersonalizing Your House
If decluttering is the act of minimizing the number of possessions you have in your house, depersonalizing is the act of removing items that are indicative of your own personal experiences. Here are some helpful tips:
- Redecorate “theme” rooms. It might be fun to have a princess-themed bedroom for your five-year-old or a sports-themed man cave in the basement, but neither is great for resale value. If it doesn’t cost too much, you should remove these items and decorate the room with a more neutral theme.
- Replace family pictures with art. Family pictures are always great decor, but they should be purged prior to listing. Replace them with neutral pieces of art that help bring out the room’s best characteristics. (Speaking of art – you don’t need to hang something on every wall. Don’t be afraid to let the room breathe.)
- Take down quote art. It’s wise to take down anything that makes a statement. This includes everything from scripture verses to that “live, laugh, love” script you have above your dining table. We all interpret things differently, and you don’t want to unintentionally offend someone or send the wrong message.
- Hide personal items. Any personal items should be packed up or at least placed in drawers and cabinets. This includes medication, toothbrushes and toiletries, shower products, memorabilia collections, etc.
- Remove pets. Even if most homeowners are pet owners, a buyer doesn’t want to see signs of your pet. Not only should you take your pet with you when showing the house, but you should store all food bowls, toys, and beds. This will prevent buyers from wondering if your home is as clean as it seems.
Homeowners often worry that they’ll take away all of their home’s charm in the decluttering process, but this rarely happens. It’s possible to style your home well without having personal items in every room. If you’re worried about how to pull this off, a professional designer or home stager can help.
Sell Your House With Green Residential
If you’re looking to sell your home, we’re looking to help. At Green Residential, we believe selling a house should be simple and straightforward. Not only that, but you shouldn’t have to give up all of that hard-earned equity. That’s why we operate on a flat-fee rate that could potentially save you thousands of dollars at the closing table.
Want to learn more about buying or selling with Green Residential? Please contact us today!