Home sellers hear the words “clean” and “de-clutter” the second they mention they’re planning to list their home for sale. Before the inescapable eye roll, the homeowner is feeling pretty confident about getting the home clean. On the other hand, her tummy develops knots just thinking about reducing clutter.
After living in a home for several years, it’s not so easy for a homeowner to step back into the role of “buyer”. She’s got to sort through the furnishings and daily items that bring comfort and fond memories. And though the homeowner-turning-home seller knows the value in transforming the house for sale, it’s a huge challenge to balance life and focus on the deadline to list.
For instance, a Long Beach realtor shared how one of her eager clients was totally on board with suggestions to prepare his house for listing in two weeks.
The house was a beautiful Spanish style with the potential to sell better than it had in the past. The sellers appeared motivated to clear the interior of its daily “extras” and clean it for pre-listing photos.
When the realtor returned with the interior photographer, the house wasn’t in list-ready condition.
The busy, working family had barely prepared one room for pre-listing photos. Sadly, the rest of the interior appeared to be in the same condition as it was when the realtor last visited the house. And the sellers were highly motivated to get the property listed as soon as possible.
The good news is…the home sold. The bad news is… the home sold under asking price after several weeks on the market.
Obviously, the home sellers left money on the table by not showcasing the value in their home. It’s unfortunate. But, it’s understandable. While sellers are expected to prepare a home to surpass other competing real estate, they also have to focus on work, a personal life, and a to-do list a mile long.
However, in the real estate market, sellers don’t get a free pass to discount the buyer. The home buyer has a list, too.
Often, before stepping into a listed property, the buyer has already built a mental wish list that grows with each home she visits. And you can count on the one thing the buyer will find difficult to compromise is…square footage.
How often do you come across a buyer who says, ‘Wow, I love all the tight spaces in here. I appreciate how challenging it is to maneuver from one room to the other.’–Uhh…like…never.
Seriously, once buyers are lured into the home with beautiful curb appeal and a competitive list price, it’s your job to keep her from placing your house in the “too-cluttered” category.
Reduce the “extras”
If you plan to live in the house during the sale, don’t panic. Reducing the “extras” doesn’t mean you have to empty the whole house. On the contrary, it simply means you’ll have to put things into perspective.
As you walk through the house, look at the interior through a buyer’s lens.
If too many of your favorite things block the natural flow, or it causes distractions, those same things have the potential to justify a buyer’s grip on her wallet.
Start pre-packing small items. Store large furniture pieces that obstruct entrances to rooms or block sunlight from windows. Remember to keep items you use everyday out of sight. And be diligent with this task. It will pay off.
If you’re not sure about your home’s appearance, grab a trusted friend or neighbor or family member who rarely visits your home. Ask for their honest opinion about your house. If you’d prefer a professional opinion, ask your realtor and/or professional home stager.
No matter who you choose for help, listen well, try not to take it personally, and you’ll prepare a house the buyer cannot resist.