Prettying up a House for Selling
How to make a crowded house look more appealingOct 2001
We are going to be selling our house and looking for a bigger one. I would love some advice from those who have sold houses before as to how to deal with making the house look more appealing for sale. I have read articles about staging a home - I'm not looking for how to stage our home per se. I'm really asking for something more basic about logistics: our house is very crowded in all the rooms except my daughter's. We have no place to put any of the stuff as the garage is already full (see why we're moving?!?!!). Logistically speaking, how does all of this happen? I have gone to many open houses. The houses are never cluttered and I always wonder where all their stuff is (though of course, they could just be neat). Do you have to get move the stuff just for a broker's open house and then once more for a regular folks' open house or do you have to get rid of the stuff longer term? The only reason our place is cluttered is as our daughter got older, her stuff got bigger. And we just all have too much stuff. While we can work on getting rid of stuff we don't need, most of this stuff is stuff we need, but simply don't have a good place for. Thanks in advance - we have never been in the position before, obviously. This is our first home.
In reply to the person selling their home. As someone who has just sold our home, our advise to you regarding clutter is just to bite the bullet and rent a storage space to store it in until you move. Our realtor advised us not to stage the house but just to remove about half of our belongings. It really made a difference. We saw many open houses that looked staged, and it really just seems so artificial to us...like you're living at Williams Sonoma or something. Our first open house was supposed to be the Sunday after 9/11. We put it off a week to assess the impact of the attacks on the real estate market. We had 2 successive open houses the following 2 Sundays and had several offers the next Tuesday to choose from and accepted one $30K over the asking price! I'm convinced our house was so well received due in large part because we removed half of the clutter that normally we don't think twice about. My wife and I are not normally super neat and with 2 small children, it's hard to keep toys and such off the floors and clutter off the counters and shelves, but we did it. We had a full basement to store most of our stuff in, but would have rented a space if we had to. Believe me, you'll more than recoup the cost of the rental and you'll get a head start on packing. A cluttered house will not show well. By the way, any good realtor worth his/her salt will advise you to do the same. Ours, Nacio Brown at Templeton Leverette (our old house at 934 Delaware is featured on his website, www.myberkeleyhome.com ) gave us many good recommendations that resulted in a quick sale for substantially more than the asking price directly following the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history. We couldn't have asked for better. Good luck. -Rob
I think it would be worth it for you to pack up a lot of stuff and put it in storage (away from the house) while you show the house, even if you don't have it staged. It seems like everyone stages their home these days, and I've heard that cosmetic details like newly done floors, having home painted, and putting in nice plantings in the yard, can make a big difference in the amount of money you can get for a house. A friend of mine sold their house about a year ago without a realtor. They had the windows cleaned professionally also. It made a big difference in how the house looked. -Andrea
A good agent should be able to advise you on what needs to be done to prepare your house for sale in this market. A house that is clutter free, staged, freshly painted (if needed) and of course priced appropriately will attract more buyers and sell more quickly than one that is not. If you don't have storage space in your garage/basement then renting storage space would be the best option. It takes a lot of work to put a house on the market, you want it to look as attractive as possible to prospective buyers so that it will sell quickly. The longer it stays on the market the more likely it is that any offer will be below your asking price. -Mary