In the midst of today’s tough real estate market, it is crucial that sellers make sure that their home has every chance of selling. Tonia Tomlin, a Dallas-area professional organizer, urges sellers to consider the importance of getting organized before placing a home on the market. According to Tomlin, “Now more than ever, sellers need to make sure that their home ‘shows’ well. With the market as tight as it is, it is imperative that homeowners not overlook the role an organized home plays in the impression that a home leaves on a potential buyer.”
Tomlin recommends the following:
Clean off the kitchen counters. The kitchen, arguably one of the most important rooms in the home, has a tendency also to be the room that is most used. To ensure that your kitchen makes a good impression on a potential home buyer, be sure to maximize the appearance of counter space. Clear all appliances—toaster, coffee maker, and other gadgets—from the counter and store them in shelves, cabinets, or pantries. Remove magnets, pictures, and personal items from refrigerators.
Give your closet a makeover. If your home is woefully short on closet space, and your closets are bursting with clothes, this will only give the illusion that the space is even smaller than it already is. Take time to sort through your clothes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it, consign it, or, if it’s not usable, throw it away. Resist the urge to jam your closet full of hanging items. Fold sweaters, jeans, and t-shirts in neat stacks.
Remove family photos and personal items. Potential buyers want to be able to visualize how their items can fit into your space. Remove your personal items and photos from walls, mantles, tables, and bookshelves. The more free your home is of personal items the easier it is for potential buyer to “see” how their things would fit in the home.
Clear all of the entryways. Make sure that every door leading into your home is clear of clutter. You want potential buyers to enter in to a calm environment, and not have to step over or walk around items that are left in the way.
De-clutter the bathroom. Invest in a basket or caddy for essential items, such as toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. that can be placed out of sight. Make sure the bathroom counters are clear.
Eliminate paper pandemonium. Remove stacks of mail, newspapers, magazines, and documents that are lying around your home. Store what you will need or want safely away—just make sure they are out of sight.
Don’t forget what’s behind closed doors. Just as you want your home to look organized, you should also remember what’s behind closed doors, such as closets, cabinets, pantries, etc. Prospective buyers will look! Make sure to take time to organize all of the spaces in your home. For kitchen cabinets, invest in uniform, airtight containers for storing food, as opposed to keeping food in cardboard containers. For pantries, sort like items together: drinks on one shelf, canned goods on another, etc. And for closets, and storage spaces, make sure there is some semblance of order. The last thing a seller wants is to have a potential buyer open a closet door only to be greeted by a cascade of stuff.
Tomlin adds, “Beyond making sure the home is clean and that minor repairs have been completed, sellers should know the organizing basics that can increase their home’s chances of being sold—especially in today’s tough market. A neat and organized home doesn’t just leave a better impression on buyers; it can also signal that the home itself has been well cared-for by owners who were willing to keep the home in tip-top shape. Getting organized is a good time investment for anyone who is considering selling a home.”
Tonia Tomlin, a professional organizer who lives in Plano, Texas with her husband Rob and twin daughters, Peyton and Sydney, has been featured in numerous local, regional, and national media print and broadcast media outlets, including HGTV’s “Mission Organization” program. The founder of Sorted Out, a professional organizing firm, Tonia is also the author of Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family, which is available where better books are sold.
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