One of the simplest, yet hardest things for sellers of Oakland homes to consider when preparing their home to be shown to potential buyers is the concept of "decluttering".  I, as your agent,  will encourage sellers to go through their house and begin to remove unnecessary items from each and every room in order to make them open and appealing when being viewed.  While this sounds simple, it is often a very difficult thing to carry through, because of the emotional attachment that sellers have to so many items located there.

Why bother?  Why is it important?  Why do all that work?  There are two reasons:

1. Buyers Need to Envision How The Home Fits Their Needs:  You are selling a home to potential buyers, and they must be able to envision your home as their home.  That is the simple core of it. They don't need to see your old football trophy, or an award given for raising roses ten years ago.  If they want your home, they want to think about placing their things in the bedroom or backyard.  Let them imagine.

2. Buyers Need To See What They Are Buying In Terms of Space: They are buying square footage when they are buying your home, and it is your job to let them see every square foot possible. 

What Are The Most Efficient Decluttering Techniques?  Experts agree on the following:

1. Remove As Much Furniture As Possible From Each Room:  Keep just the most basic furniture that fits your home design. Particularly concentrate on removing big, bulky items that take over.  Study design magazines, web sites videos, home decorating television programs, etc., to get tips on placement of the basic pieces that you keep.  Put simple decorative items like flowers, vases, simple accessories in place to create a welcoming look.

2. Remove All Personal Items From Walls, Refrigerators, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, etc.:  Again, as mentioned above, keep all posters, trophies, books, shoes, exercise equipment, old magazines, pet beds and food, etc. away from view.  The rooms should not be about you.  They should be a background for the buyers imagination. 

3. Don't Store Your "Junk" In Your Basement To Hide It:  It doesn't work, and looks sloppy and unattractive.  Instead, for the short period that your home is for sale, consider using a rental storage space for those items that you just can't part with, or need to take to your new home.  Clear it out of the house entirely.

4. Have Family Sorting Days to Declutter:  Do this well ahead of any Open Houses or showings.  This will take time! Most decluttering experts encourage going room by room using 4 boxes labeled "KEEP", "DONATE", "THROW AWAY" "SELL".  While each family member might want to start with their own personal items, in order to get into the swing of deciding what to throw away, the whole family can then move into the living and dining rooms to make joint decisions about things found there.  You can motivate each person to do some serious sorting by perhaps setting aside funds the will be  made from selling a lot of discarded items at an upcoming garage sale.  Make a deal that the profits can be spent on a fun event, like a fun trip or dinner out at a special place. 

My advice is to make viewing your home as pleasant and simple as possible.  A free flowing path of attractive surroundings is a goal worth reaching. 

Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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