Conquering the Clutter

By Lee Cameron Published 09/25/2008 | Real Estate

It's a tough market out there. If you want to have any chance of selling your home, you need your house to look its best. One of the simplest - and most important - ways to boost the appeal of your home is to "de-clutter". I know it can be a difficult process but going through your entire house and removing all unnecessary items is  crucial step.

The blest place to start you Campaign Against Clutter is in the kitchen. Your kitchen should look spotless, open, and inviting. Go over the countertops and remove anything that you don't use anymore. That means everything - toaster included. Then go through the kitchen cabinets and remove anything you don't need there. In a perfect world, the buyer would be able to see your cabinets and drawers completely empty to get a feel for how much storage space they would have. Obviously, that won't always be possible but make sure you keep it down to the bare necessities. And ALWAYS take the trash out of the kitchen before a buyer comes over.

Go through every room of the house this way, starting with the rooms that your buyer will see first. Try to look at every object in each room objectively. If you don't need it, if you don't use it every day, pack it up in a box and put it in storage somewhere, or get rid of it completely. Take all of your personal items out of the house - photographs, diplomas, trophies, collectibles - anything that could distract buyers from looking at the house itself. Also, remove any excess furniture that you can. You want all your rooms to look as spacious as possible.

When you think you've cleared out as much of your clutter as you possibly can, take a breath and then take a step back. Can you do more? Is anything left? Invite a friend or neighbor over and get their unbiased opinion, or ask your selling agent. 

Think of your house as a model home. You want it clean, tidy, depersonalized and clutter-free. When a buyer comes through your door, they should be able to envision themselves living in your house. Whenever possible, try not to hinder that vision by reminding them that you are still living there. Removing the clutter will remove the distractions and will let the buyer focus on the things you really want them to see. 

Remember, you don't want a buyer to be looking at your home, you want them to be looking at THEIR home. Conquer the clutter and you will have made a big step towards that goal.