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Category:  Homes:  Buying and Selling 

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Selling A Home

 Remove Clutter

By Julie Jalone

Most sellers understand keeping a house clean and picked-up but have difficulty understanding how to really remove clutter. It is more than keeping the house neat. Try some of the following and impress your agent and, more importantly, potential buyers.

The first task I suggest it to pretend you are not the owner or even that you have ever seen the house before. Tour your property both inside and outside and make a list of anything you see that catches your eye and takes away from the homes appeal. These will be offensive to your eye such as toys in the front yard, hoses that are not put away, busy shelves and too many items on the mantel. It could also be stacks of magazines or newspapers. Make the tour several times and keep adding to your list. The more you notice the less the potential buyers will.

Most home owners, including myself, are attached to our home, how we have decorated it and our possessions we proudly display. Sellers must accept the fact they will not be in the house much longer and be willing to repaint rooms with neutral colors, remove pictures and put away those souvenirs from last years vacation. A good idea is to start by removing most of your personal items from each room. Get boxes or storage containers to store your items. Approach the removing clutter as if you are staging or preparing a model home for viewing by buyers. Remember you want the buyers to be able to imagine their belongings in the house.

You will know if you have successfully removed clutter in your home by the number of boxes or storage containers you have when you are done. Your first thought may be to put all these boxes neatly in a closet. Resist the temptation and consider closet space can be a selling feature. They too should look as good as possible. Not overly packed closets will help create a spacious feeling in your home. If your closets are packed full or messy, the potential buyer may get the feeling the house is not big enough.

Donít overlook your garage as this is the place most of us consider as a storage area. Find a friend, neighbor or family member willing to store your boxes and containers. If this is not possible consider renting a storage facility on a short term basis. Selling your home quickly and at a higher price will more than cover the cost.

After making your tours, list and removing your personal item I suspect your real estate agent will still think you have too much in the house. Donít be timid about asking your agent to help point out these final few items. We spend a fair amount of time in homes and have a good feel for which ones show best and why. If you ask, be prepared to accept their suggestions. We are here to help you sell your house, not be critical of your possessions.

If all of this seems more than you want to cope with, consider using a professional stager. They can remove clutter and even help you bring in items that will make your house look like a model home. Again selling quickly and for the best price possible can more than pay for this service. Like above, consult your agent, they can help you make this decision.


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