De-cluttering and Staging: The Importance of Preparing Your Home for Market
Posted September 4th, 2015 by Moving Station

Whatever method you use to use to sell your home and whomever you rely upon for advice, you will most likely hear you need to de-clutter, de-personalize, and stage the house to present the property in the best possible light. It’s standard protocol for any seller in today’s real estate market, regardless of how neatly you keep your home as you live in it on a day to day basis.

What exactly is de-cluttering, you ask? De-cluttering and de-personalizing go hand in hand. It is the process of paring down the belongings and furniture in your home to help the property appear its most spacious and inviting. Especially if you are selling a house to downsize into a smaller space, start considering what you will bring with you to your new home and begin dispersing everything else to family members, friends, charitable organizations, etc. If you have a wall of family photos, choose one or two that hold the most meaning for you and pack the rest away for the move. You can display them again when you unpack. That collection of treasures from your world travels? Same thing, choose a piece or two and pack everything else. You want buyers to see the space your home has to offer and envision their own things there, versus being nosey about you and your family. Clear off countertops, dressers, vanities, coffee tables, so buyers’ eyes are drawn around the space rather than stopping on miscellaneous décor items or worse, your pile of mail!

Next step is staging. Usually your real estate agent will help you with this process or refer you to a professional stager, though keep in mind the professional stager may charge a fee. The purpose of staging is similar to why you de-clutter, to make your home appeal to the widest array of buyers and help it sell within a reasonable time period for the best price. Staging can involve repositioning existing furniture and removing extra pieces to form conversational groups and promote good traffic flow, transforming a storage or “junk” room into a home office space or guest room, modifying lighting, and even painting. For example, your living room has a sofa, a loveseat, an armchair, as well as two other extra chairs should you entertain and need the extra seating. Consider removing those extra chairs and possibly the large sofa as well. Arranging the remaining pieces in a group in the center of the room will actually make the room look larger than if the pieces were pushed up against the wall and focused around a television.

This process may be painful, it will pay off when you see your hard work displayed in the marketing photos for the sale of your home. The majority of buyers begin the search online and “pre-screen” the homes they feel are worth their time to physically go tour. If the photos of your home don’t entice buyers to take that next step, the sale of your home will take longer and your home may sell for less than if you’d done this prep work. Professional photos can also make a huge difference in presentation. Professional, real-estate-focused, photographers see the best angles and use the best lighting, while avoiding shots that don’t excite buyers.

So, while this process can seem overwhelming, it is certainly worth the time and effort. Not only does it help to sell your property, but it will make the move simpler because you’ve already done so much of the preparation before listing. By the time you have a buyer lined up and 30-60 days to move out, you will be able to focus on planning the actual move instead of where all of your extra things will go!

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