You’ve decided to sell your home, and you’re getting ready to list it. There seems to be a never-ending list of things to do before it goes on the MLS, including painting, landscaping, and repairing all those little things you never got around to.
But don’t forget one big thing that needs to be done to your home before it goes on the MLS: decluttering.
You want your home to be as open and welcoming as possible before potential buyers ever walk through the door; too much “stuff” sitting around can make them think your space is smaller than it really is. Also, extra clutter makes it more difficult for potential buyers to visualize their furniture and personal items in your space, making it more difficult for them to fall in love with your home.
Here are 6 essential tips for decluttering your home before it goes on the MLS:
The outside of your house is the first thing potential buyers see when they come for a showing or drive by and see a sign. Make sure that the first impression is a good one!
If you’re fond of lawn ornaments, consider reducing the amount to a few tasteful decorations during the sale. You may love those funky pink flamingoes or that gathering of wagon wheels and garden gnomes, but potential buyers may not.
HIT THE KITCHEN
Your kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in your home, and it’s also one that has the widest variety of individual items.
Have you ever opened your kitchen cabinets to have plastic storage containers and lids fall on your head? That’s not something you want to have happen to potential buyers.
People looking at a home are nosy; they want to peek inside cabinets and in drawers. Because of this, pare down what’s inside your cabinets to the bare minimum you need to get through each day, and keep matching sets wherever possible.
Keep that large collection of mugs and those lesser-used serving dishes carefully wrapped in plastic tubs until your home is sold. Stash them neatly in the basement if you anticipate needing them, or off-site in storage if you can.
CLEAN UP MAIN AREAS
Your home’s living and dining rooms will be very heavily-trafficked during showings, so you want them to provide plenty of room for people to move around.
If you have bookshelves, do your best to decrease the number of books that are piled up. Do the same for any knick-knacks and personal effects.
Remove family photos or, if your space will look too bare without them, replace them with generic pictures. It’s more difficult for potential buyers to picture themselves and their belongings in your home if they see your smiling faces at every turn.
Having kids means you have a lot more possessions, mostly in the form of clothes and toys.
You want potential buyers to view your home as a relaxing, comfortable place they can see themselves living, not a disorganized toy store.
Clear out all but a few well-organized toys before you take listing photos or show your home. Any extras can be stowed in bins in your basement, attic, or a closet so they’re close at hand but temporarily out of sight.
If your home has narrow hallways, extra clutter on the walls can make them feel even more cramped.
To combat this, remove as much artwork and hanging apparatus as you can, and consider repainting any dark hallways in brighter, lighter neutral shades.
Consider adding a mirror at the end of the hallway to make it feel more open for your visitors.
DON’T FORGET STORAGE AREAS
Your potential buyers will look in every single nook and cranny, so make sure they’re well-organized and cleared out.
If you have to, invest in some heavy-duty shelving for your basement, garage, or attic, as well as some opaque storage containers, so you can neatly organize all your extra belongings without things looking overwhelming in your space.