“Thank you for the column ‘How To Prepare A Home For Sale’. We are planning to sell our home soon, but don’t have the time or energy to do many preparations. Do you have a simple list we can use as guidelines?”
— A long-time Palisades homeowner
The Bottom Line
A California Association of Realtors study found that many potential buyers eliminate homes previewed on the Internet because they looked cluttered, making them feel too small or unattractive.
I think you will find that the following room-byroom suggestions are quite simple to do, and these certainly will be well worth doing. Experience shows that a home sells sooner and for more money if these actions are taken. An earlier column included several aspects of home preparation. This one focuses just on a single aspect in greater detail.
Things You Can Do to Improve the Exterior of a Home
- Do you have bushes or other plants around the house that have not been pruned for many years?
- Are there areas where weeds have taken over?
- Are there tree limbs on your property that block some view or obscure much of the front of the house?
- Are there any near-dead plants you have been nursing in pots?
- Are there extraneous things taking up space on the front porch? Are there cobwebs near the front door or windows?
- Do you have maintenance tools or children’s toys in or near walking areas?
Things You Can Do to Improve the Interior of a Home
First impressions often make the greatest difference in buyers judging whether or not a house would be suitable for their next home. Therefore, it is quite important that the first impression a prospective buyer receives from your home is favorable.
- Do you have a place where keys, mail, loose change, etc. tend to accumulate?
- Are coats, extra shoes, or other items visible?
- The first impression of an open entry is a positive way to begin the home tour.
Living, Family, Den and Dining Rooms
- Do you have a lot of family photos on shelves, mantels, or walls?
- Are there groupings of mementos on display in different areas?
- Have you accumulated a lot of furniture pieces, or perhaps kept some that are quite large for the house?
- Are there stacks of magazines, old newspapers, or piles of books on shelves?
- Do you have numerous colorclashing
pillows, covers, etc.?
- All of these are major opportunities for substantial “neutralizing” or “depersonalizing” of key interior spaces.
- Do you have many small appliances, extra containers, books, utensils, or other foodpreparation items taking up space on the counters?
- Are the kitchen desk area surfaces clean and tidy or are they full of numerous items?
- Is there a cluttered bulletin board?
- Does your pantry appear mostly full, and can you toss some of the items out?
- Does your refrigerator have things on the door or sides that make it feel “busy”?
- Bathrooms: Do you have a great deal of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and home-care items out on the counters?
- If so, these and other such items would be much better placed in drawers or cabinets.
- Do you have a lot of things on nightstands or bureaus?
- Are there stacks of books or other reading materials?
- Do your closets feel spacious, or do they feel full?
- Are there items taking up space that have not been worn for over 5 years?
- Do you keep detergents and other supplies out on top of the washer and dryer?
- It would look much better with these in cabinets.
- Do you have an accumulation of items in the garage or other areas?
- Any area will appear much larger when things are removed from them.
Some people find just thinking about all of this is almost overwhelming. A suggestion that many have found helpful is to start ahead, one shelf or one box at a time, and make progress each day. Doing this also one room at a time, can give the feeling of steady success and a much more enjoyable process.
You also may gain a nice bonus by doing this clutter removal, because of the new energy the process can release simply by doing it! So I encourage you to get started today in clearing clutter out of your home, off your porch and desk, and out of your daily life.
Please let me know if I can help weigh the costs and benefits of other home