Sure clean sells; it always has. But let's face it. You've got to "declutter" your home for the market to deliver its best price.
Even a clean house, if cluttered, still looks cramped and messy. Appearances appeal to buyers' eyes and emotions; so getting rid of clutter should be the first rule of staging your home for sale.
Typically, sellers have said it takes about 3 weeks to prepare their home. For Amy and Brad, however, it took a bit longer. Thirty-two years of living in the same home and raising three kids has its effect.
According to Amy, "We never imagined it would take us so long to get our home ready to sell. I pride myself in keeping a clean house. But no matter how much I cleaned, the clutter, after years of accumulating stuff, never gave me that spic and span, orderly feeling."
It took Brad and Amy almost two months working weekends to sort and consider what to keep, junk, give away or sell in a garage sale. Sounds like a long time but consider their challenge:
- 10 full closets and two cubby holes on the 2nd floor,
- An abundance of cupboards in the kitchen, 2 bathrooms and laundry area, all filled,
- Years of collections in the basement for themselves and three children who had grown and gone, and
- A 2-car garage that could barely fit one car anymore.
Getting rid of clutter became a heroic and ambitious undertaking.
"Our REALTOR®," Brad said, "also mentioned depersonalizing so as not to distract buyers from seeing the home. We didn't have many family pictures or personal collections displayed. And we certainly didn't have to worry about potentially offense artwork. Still we took down a number of personal pictures, minimized "knick knacks" and replaced them with a few tasteful accessories.
"Next came the decorating and maintenance. We had the kitchen and 2nd floor repainted, soffit and fascia replaced, a new furnace installed, windows and doors caulked, insulation added to the attic, carpets stretched, bathroom flooring replaced and bought potted plants to jazz up the exterior."
Experts tells us that (1) getting rid of clutter, (2) cleaning, (3) depersonalizing, (4) maintaining and (5) decorating and accessorizing are the steps to successful home staging.
By the time Amy and Brad were market ready, six months passed. Yet the showings came, the home sold and--in the end--it was all worth the preparation.