All the experts agree – clear the clutter out of your home before listing it for sale. The reason is simple – there’s a greater chance that a decluttered house will sell faster and possibly for a higher price than one that is cluttered. Decluttering makes the house look bigger and by packing away at least some of your personal belongings, it’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. To maximize the benefit of decluttering, it’s a good idea to clear your home of at least 30 percent of its contents, allowing your home to look its best and help it to stand out from the competition.
To declutter, first start with your in-house storage areas. The basement, garage, closets and even guest bedrooms are commonly used for excess storage. It’s important to empty these spaces as much as possible. Buyers love storage space and it’s more appealing to see empty closets than full ones.
Next, minimize the amount of furniture in each room. Again, it’s important to show as much space as possible so extra chairs, tables and other large items should be removed during the sales process.
The last stage of decluttering involves your personal effects—items such as pictures, books, collectibles and toys that you can live without until your home sells. Boxing up these items and storing them out of the house helps to present a version of your home free of your personal taste. Buyers and their agents can then focus on your house without any distraction from your personal possessions.
Realtors and home stagers often recommend that sellers rent storage units to place excess items while selling their home. We talked with a few of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections storage partners about their advice on getting ready to sell your home.
Zippy Shell’s portable storage containers are a great way to declutter your home. Zippy Shell containers can be parked in your driveway or on the street in front of your house. You have the option of loading the container yourself or the company can load it for you. After it’s filled, the portable unit can then be stored in Zippy Shell’s climate-controlled facility where it’ll remain locked and accessible only to you while in storage. When you’re ready to have it returned, Zippy Shell can deliver the container to your new home, anywhere in the country. “Packing is the hardest part, so it’s best to start early and do a little bit every night,” said Bill Shannon, owner of Zippy Shell of Northern Virginia.
Conquering the Clutter
It’s a good idea to be open to your Realtor’s decluttering suggestions, said Piet Gauchat, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Olympia Moving and Storage. Olympia works with many Realtors and the firm even has a “Declutter Program” designed for home sellers. Through that program, Olympia’s crew will move out the clutter and store it for free for up to three months, according to Gauchat.
Storage in the Cloud
Storage Genie takes a digital inventory of your belongings at no charge before moving them to storage. Then, when you need specific things like your holiday decorations, just log into your account and order the items you want delivered to you. “It’s almost like your items go into the cloud,” said Chris Patton, CEO of Victory Van Corporation/Allied Van Lines. Patton points out that this type of storage is so much more convenient than placing your belongings in a self-storage facility. “Often your tax returns or vacuum cleaner are in the back of the unit when you need them,” said Patton. “Storage Genie takes the ‘self’ out of self-storage.”
Once you’ve chosen a storage solution that’s right for you, decluttering your home will not only help your home show well, but also will give you a head start on packing for your move.