I’ve been in many different homes over the years. Some were immaculate showcase quality homes, while others needed a hazmat suit to enter. Regardless of circumstances, all homeowners and Realtors want the same thing – The home sold quickly and for top dollar. However, I am finding myself faced with a constant and reoccurring problem, clutter. Cluttered homes take longer to sell and sell for less than their competitors.
The meaning of clutter has different interpretations to different people.
When you are selling your home, clutter takes on a whole new meaning with potentially unwanted and substantial consequences. To Realtors and homebuyers, clutter means one thing…too much stuff. It means that the seller has too many possessions and the real character and space of the home cannot be seen. One of the last things a Realtor or seller wants to hear about their home is that “it doesn’t show well”. That’s a stigma that can be hard to shake.
Home buyers are very savvy nowadays and they expect more.
They do not go into homes wearing blinders either. Even though you may live in the home, and all of your possessions are important and have meaning to you, they don’t to buyers. They do not want to see a garage full of car parts, boxes, or lawn equipment. The garage is for cars, and buyers want to see how much space they will have for their vehicles, not how many boxes of Christmas decorations will fit in there. They probably will not appreciate the spare room with the thousands of Hummels that you have worked so hard collecting the past 60 years either. After all, that room is supposed to be a bedroom right? And let’s not forget about the 15 pieces of furniture that you have in the family room, or the hundreds of family pictures that cover the walls. Buyers cannot get an idea of how their furniture will look in the space, or how their wall art may compliment the room, when all they see is your stuff.
I know it may be hard, and I appreciate the sentimental attachment that sellers have to their belongings. I myself have items that I really should part with…kids toys they no longer use, clothes they have out grown, purses, shoes, and don’t get me started on my junk drawers. Notice I said DRAWERS. I have 3…ok maybe 4 of them. However, I am not selling my home. I am living in my home. When you sell your home, it needs to look less lived in and more staged for selling.
So what happens if you don’t cut the clutter?
Well, when a seller’s home is too cluttered, it may be used to help spring board the sale of a competing home. The buyers will go on to view similar homes, and even though they may not have as much space, character, or features…chances are, they will buy one that is not yours. So if you can’t cut the clutter, the next step is to cut the price.
But I don’t want to cut the price!
Great…neither do I!! Have a yard sale. Give some items away to charity. Share your collections with your family. Donate items to your church. Whatever is left…box up and store. Put things in the attic, or hide things under the bed. If you still have a lot of stuff, you may want to consider renting or purchasing a storage unit. However, remember that you are moving. So the more stuff you keep the more stuff that will have to be moved. So if you are down- sizing, or perhaps combining households, are you really going to have enough room in the new home?
Moving can be stressful, selling your home should not be. I do not like telling my sellers that they have too much stuff. I don’t like reducing the price. I do not like delivering negative feedback to my homeowners. But I have to. It’s part of my job. As a seller, you can make things easier on yourself, and your Realtor, by just eliminating some things that you do not HAVE to have for your daily routines. Besides, if you don’t before you sell….I promise you will when it comes time for packing and moving. J So do you want to sell your home, or just live in it and list it?