Thinking of buying or selling your house? Then its probably time to start the decluttering process. When a buyer views your home, you don’t want them to be distracted by all of your clutter and miss the special features of your home.
Check out our decluttering tips for each room in the house:
The Front Entrance
Buyers will make an opinion of your home within 15 seconds of entering it, so what they experience in your front entrance is VERY IMPORTANT. Your entrance needs to be clean, de-cluttered and inviting. Remember, you won’t be needing all of your shoes and coats while your house is on the market, so only leave the bare minimum and pack away the rest. If you don’t happen to have a hall closet, don’t leave your items out in the open on a coat or shoe rack. The buyer will end up being drawn to the fact that you’re lacking a closet.
You’ve probably heard the saying before that kitchens sell houses. Well, it's true. This is why you need to put special attention into preparing your kitchen to sell.
Ensure that your counters are as clear as possible. Remove all of your small appliances; toaster, blender, coffee maker etc. from the counters. Clean the inside and outside of all of the cabinets. This means that you will have to remove everything from them and wipe them out from top to bottom. When you are ready to put your dishes and food back in, pair it down and ensure they aren't overfilled. Try to go the extra mile, alphabetize the spice jars, neatly stack the dishes, and turn the coffee cup handles so they're facing the same way. You want to show Buyers that your kitchen has enough storage for all of their stuff.
Clean inside and outside all of your kitchen appliances. Don’t forget to remove the magnets, photos and reminders. Clean your oven using your self-cleaning setting. Store your booze collection and make sure to take out the empties. Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful bowl with some fresh fruit in it.
The Dining Room
You need to make your dining room look like a place a buyer would actually want to eat in. Remove everything off of the kitchen table. If your table has seen better days, consider investing in a new tablecloth to hide the old table. Clean up the hutch and surrounding furniture in the space. Try to make the room feel as spacious as possible. If your dining chairs are in rough shape, you may want to consider getting them reupholstered, or replacing them.
The Living Room
In the main living spaces, try to remember that less is more. Make sure that your existing furniture makes your room feel spacious and inviting. Clean your sofas and chairs and invest in some new throw pillows.
If you have hard floors, consider getting an area rug to bring the room together. Remove all of the items off of your coffee and side tables. Pay attention to your electronics. Do your best to hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers, and pair down your systems if they appear bulky and unsightly.
Bedrooms need to be inviting, and make the buyer feel like the space could be the relaxing oasis they are looking for. This means you need to do some more cleaning and decluttering and invest in small items. If your current bedroom decor is brightly coloured or patterned, consider investing in a neutral-coloured duvet cover and some fancy pillows. If you have hardwood or tile floors, consider getting an area rug to make the space feel more warm.
Make sure to pay special attention to your closet. Only leave the bare minimum in your closets to ensure that they give the appearance that they are spacious and will fit all of the buyer's items. Shirts should be buttoned and hung together, and shoes should be lined up neatly.
Review the furniture you have in the space. If you’ve jammed in a dresser that doesn’t really fit into the space consider putting it into storage. If you’re using some of your bedrooms as offices or rec spaces, ensure you convert at least one of them back to a bedroom.
Bathrooms are another influential space for buyers when they are evaluating your property. Bathrooms need to be extra clean and appear as close to new and unused as possible. This means you need to remove all of the toiletries you have on display. This includes soaps, and shampoos from the bath or shower. A buyer doesn’t want to think about what you’ve been doing in their future bathroom. Consider purchasing some new white towels. You don’t need to actually use them, but they will convey a clean and unused atmosphere. Be brutally honest when evaluating your bathroom accessories. If your toilet seat, shower curtain or bath mat have seen better days, make sure to replace them. Consider replacing the toilet paper holder and towel rack/hooks too.
Typically basements are the place where your extra stuff goes to hide. If your basement is anything like ours, the decluttering process might take more than a single day. The goal is to make your basement feel as spacious and clean as possible regardless of whether your basement is finished or not. If it's unfinished and primarily used as a storage area for extra belongings, this is the time to go through it all and pack it away for your new home. If it's finished, follow the advice above for all of the different rooms. Try to make your basement feel less like a basement, and more like an extension of your main living area.
The Closets and Storage Areas
As tempting as it might be, DO NOT cram all of the things you don’t want on display into your closets and storage areas. Buyers will evaluate your storage and they WILL open all of your closets and go through your storage spaces. You really don’t want a Buyer to think there isn’t enough storage in your home, so take the time to pack away what you don't need while you're listing your home.
The Front Yard
Curb appeal is very important and will significantly affect a buyer's first impression of your house. Be objective. Stand on your street and pretend you're a buyer. Is your landscaping overgrown? Is your grass unkept or have dead patches all over it? Take some time to care for your landscaping and get it in top shape.
If you have an exterior front landing or porch, make sure it looks welcoming and clear of any extra stuff. Consider investing in some seasonal plants to add curb appeal. At a bare minimum, clean the scuff marks off the front door and touch-up the chipped paint or give it a fresh coat. If your front door is in really rough shape, you should consider investing in a new one. Many Buyers will see your home at night, so evaluate your front yard at night and make sure your outdoor lighting is showing off your home. Also, make sure visitors can clearly see your house number.
The type of work you can do in your backyard will depend on what time of year you sell. If you’re selling in the spring/summer you should focus on cleaning up your gardens and landscaping and make sure everything is neat and tidy: trim the trees, cut the grass, pull the weeds, etc. You should also pay attention to permanent structures like your deck and fence. If they are looking a little rough, consider painting or staining them. Clean all of your patio furniture and BBQ and remove any unnecessary clutter.
If it’s winter: do your best to make it look presentable and well kept. Shovel the walks, If you have a garage: tidy it up and fix any peeling paint.
You should also check out our Top 9 tips for preparing your home to sell.