Why it pays to clear the clutter before showing

 

I read this article and really wanted to share it with those of you who are considering putting your house on the market. It may seem like common sense that it is better to show a home that is neat and tidy, but these professionals from New York point out some very good reasons why that’s so. Whether you are selling a small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan or a large five-bedroom farm house in Iowa, clutter is clutter and getting it out of sight will make a much better impression on potential buyers.

A report, originally posted by Tim McKeough, NYTimes.com, April 18, 2012.

  • Real Estate is Aspirational. “Buyers want to see themselves someplace better and more beautiful,” said Jeffrey Stockwell, a senior vice president with Stribling & Associates in Manhattan. “They want the feeling that if they move in there, it will be organized, clean and attractive. If they walk into a cluttered, messy space, there’s none of that feeling that life will be better.”
  • Cleaner homes have higher value. According to Mr. Stockwell, “if it’s cluttered, people will think it needs a renovation, and that lowers the value.”
  • Remove the clutter entirely. Packing personal belongings into boxes that remain in the apartment isn’t much of a solution. “If I go into an apartment and see a lot of boxes, even if they’re attractive boxes,” he said, “I immediately think there’s not enough storage space.”
  • Accentuate the storage space. According to Jeffrey Phillip, a professional organizer in New York, “Even if you shove boxes into a closet thinking you’ll make the living space look good, you’re detracting from the storage space, which is another valuable asset.”

Even with all the great reasons and motivation to clear out the space, Mr. Stockwell states it is still really difficult to get clients to do it. “You’re parting with things that have emotional value, and that’s very difficult for people,” he said.

Mr. Phillip agrees, saying that getting ready for a move is the a “perfect time to really edit yourself down,” he said. And for good reason: “You’re going to spend less money for someone to move you, and you’re also going to spend less money on storage.”

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