The Decluttered Planet 2

The 1st Thing You Must Do Before You Sell Your Home

Declutter Planning - The First Thing You Must Do Before You Sell Your Home

Before The Renovations. Before The Paint. Before The New Carpet.

Declutter Planning - Renovations

Before anything you know that must be done in order to get your house ready for the market, comes one of the hardest tasks that is often overlooked, yet has the greatest ability to eat away at your precious time towards selling your house. “What is this fearful task?” you may ask.

“It’s the task of decluttering,” answered the man with a blog about decluttering, yet my point still stands. I can’t even begin to say how not taking the time to properly declutter can keep it on the market for longer than necessary, so I’m going to let a professional in the field explain it herself.

Jessica Cooper a Realtor for EXP Realty in the Richmond Metro Area of Virginia, shares some insights into just how important decluttering is as a first step towards selling your home:

“When a potential buyer walks into your home and the first thing they see is a barrage of your personal items, it immediately conveys that this is someone else’s home, someone else’s life.  The buyer can feel awkward and literally walk out of what could have been their perfect home.”

Declutter Planning - Living Room

I TOTALLY AGREE. When my wife and I were house hunting a few years back, the last thing I wanted to do was enter a home that had the homeowner’s decorations, books, bags, clothes, and anything else still on display. While these things may not be normally seen as clutter when they are neatly displayed or organized, they are very much a clutter to the buyer that’s trying to imagine this home as their own. I was always so uncomfortable with the initial walk-through of houses like this because no matter how much they said they were looking to move on, I didn’t believe them and felt they would back out of the sale before it closed. Jessica continues:

“The display of so many personal items can send the opposite message to the buyer.  It can say that the seller really doesn’t want to leave, or worse, they feel like you are trying to sell them your ‘problem.’ I’ve heard buyers say, “I’m not buying somebody else’s problem,” all because of a cluttered and unkempt home.

Declutter Planning - Cabinets

Buyers open drawers, cabinets, closets and basically anything that can open.  If they struggle to open doors or drawers, or if the cabinets are full of clutter and unorganized, if counters and living spaces are full of personal items (even if they are folded or nice and neat)  they literally walk away shaking their heads. If you don’t have enough space to live here, they tend to think they probably won’t either.

On the flip side, if the home is clean and organized, even down to the bathroom cupboards, buyers are impressed and literally feel invited to live there. A clean, bright and airy home conveys a message.  If the seller takes great care to keep up with their personal life even down to the minute details, then they probably take great care of the home itself. It’s true! I’ve actually heard them say it!

Decluttering can actually add value to your home without the expensive renovations you thought you would need!

I believe many people are aware that a buyer looking for a home is wanting to see if their family and their possessions will fit, what type of neighborhood it’s located in, and all of the other normal circumstances that help us decide on what we are willing to call home. I think one thing that is not fully realized by the buyer or the seller is that all buyers are looking for a home with potential. This means they understand that they’re not going to find the perfect home, but a home that they can see belonging to them. They know there will probably be a room or 2 to paint, maybe new carpet, and renovations of that nature, but they just can’t see potential if they can’t believe they can own it. The value added in decluttering is the value of potential!

Let me put it in a way that I believe will drive this point home.

Declutter Planning - Wedding Ring

Your belongings all over the house you’re trying to sell is comparable to a young man that’s been wanting to marry who has finally seen the girl of his dreams from afar off. She seems perfect in every way and decides to approach her. On his way he notices a ring on her left ring finger and, with a sigh of sadness, realizes that she is already someone’s wife. That ring shows a covenantal partnership, a duel ownership if you will, in that she belongs to her husband, and her husband belongs to her. They agreed in a ceremony before the ones they love that they would love and serve each other till death do they part. Your belongings all over a house is no different than that ring on her finger. It simply says, “off limits.”

Till next time, and as always, sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, is greatly appreciated. I hope you were able to take something away, and I know that there are more that would enjoy this article, as well. It is my heart's desire to see you living a life that's not only clutter-free, but filled with family, friends, and fun. If you find that your belongings are beginning to bring you more stress than joy, and you live in the Richmond, Virginia, and Tri-Cities area, then I would be honored to come to you for a free consultation. You can find out more at or check us out at Facebook or Pinterest.



Stay for a spell.

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