Decluttering is among the best things you can do to improve photos of your home and the buyer’s perception of the property. Besides keeping things clean, having less clutter has the benefit of influencing a buyer’s perception of how they themselves view the house. This is by allowing them full view of the space, and allowing them to see an idealized version of the house using staging.
One Man’s Clutter is Another Man’s Mess
We live in our houses, and no one expects you not to. As a result of living in our houses, we have a tendency to gather things to us in a way that makes practical sense to us, but might be off-putting for someone to walk in and try to imagine their own life in the room. For example, the sewing room in which you have several projects going, including the various and sundry essentials conveniently contained in bins on all sides, may be seen as bulky but organized clutter to buyers viewing the home. The tubs of notions, fabric, and other supplies may distract buyers from viewing the floors,windows, or other features of the room itself. Where we see our work, the visitors just see a lack of space for their own possessions, or uncleanliness.
Try storing personal items and projects in places you can access easily, but can also put away when your home will be shown. Just getting the floor and furniture surfaces clear will help them better view the rooms and the condition of the house – and hopefully envision themselves and their own belongings in the space. The very first photo buyers see can have a world of difference on their perception. Improving that perception can include simple things like removing magnets from the refrigerator, keeping mail and paperwork out of view, or moving content from your closet floor to a section of the garage for later perusal. The more of the house people can see, the better.
Staging encourages decluttering to the point of making a home a blank slate, but in an elegant way. Staging is used to optimize the furniture layout, decoration, and visual impact to influence buyers to see a home in its best light. By staging the house to help buyers visualize how they can use each room, the buyers are able to better picture their own belongings in the space.
When people buy a home, they’re purchasing not only a house but also an ideal of what their life will look like and be like in the home, making it even more important to remove personal or messy items that may interfere with a buyer’s vision. You want to help buyers create a vision of how a house works for them, not how it’s currently working for the owner. Keeping things tidy helps show the house in its most idealized, magazine-ready form.
While you should remove personal items and personal pictures, you also don’t want completely bare surfaces. You’ll want to display some items like pottery, trays, and other functional, attractive objects. In most cases, less is more. If you need some advice on how much decluttering you should do, hire a professional or ask your Realtor if there’s someone you can work with. Try not to let it bother you that your house isn’t quite your own at the moment; it will benefit the sale to make that transition a little bit earlier than on closing day by making the house as accessible as possible to a wide audience.
Looking for step by step instructions on decluttering? See our previous post on decluttering and organizing your home.