Leonardo de Vinci said it best, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” And there is no better instance of this than selling a home. Open spaces, naturally lit rooms and an abundant amount of storage space are just a few things that spark the interest of your typical buyer. They want to see what THEY can make your home into, not what you have already done to it. Unfortunately, as a realtor, this is a point of contention when preparing a seller getting ready to sell their humble abode.
Sellers don’t see their home the same way a stranger looking to buy sees it. They believe having their possessions makes their home feel warm and inviting, when it actually does the exact opposite. A “lived in” home presents itself more like a lot of clutter and messiness than “homey” and may deter prospective buyers from considering it. It is your job to convince them to do the unthinkable…get rid of their stuff. For some, this will be cause for some major stress. After all, who doesn’t like their things?
Here are just a few basic tips to help your clients part with their stuff before they begin the selling process:
- Give them incentive: Tell them that decluttering their home only makes the agonizing process of moving out that much easier. Not having to clean up so much also makes the showing process easier on a day-to-day basis.
- Literally walk them through their home and give suggestions: Wall art & photos should be kept to a minimum. Remove refrigerator magnets, clean out old food & clutter and leave enough space on shelves that a prospective buyer can see to the back. Clear off all furnishings of tchotchkes & heirlooms. Storage areas should be emptied by a half or a third so a buyer can see what kind of space there is in these areas. Put everyday things into coordinated storage bins & store them neatly.
- When it comes to storage areas, such as attics or garages, tell your client to only have things they NEED on hand. These areas are very important to ensure you show just how much storage is available. Keep it all neat and organized.
- Outdoors are a key feature to a prospective buyer so let them know “less is more”. A patio set, a BBQ, & things like that are ideal to show off the outdoor space. Any more will diminish this important area of the home.
- Discourage sellers to put these extra things into an off-site storage unit, which is an unnecessary added expense. Suggest that they sell it, give it to charity (tax refund on $250 contributions), or just haul it away. The point of moving is to make a fresh, new start. Moving clutter from one place to another isn’t going to make the process any less stressful. In fact, it will more than likely do the opposite.
Before you begin the showing process, walk them through the home again and congratulate them on a job well done. It will be interesting for them to see their tidy home through a new set of eyes. They will appreciate that their personal traumatic process is complete and that they did a great job preparing their home for the next family. Additionally, it will give them a sense of what is actually necessary in their lives and may spark a new simplistic way of life going forward.
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