I’ve photographed and videotaped hundreds and hundreds of houses and I get the same comments when I enter a house that has been “decluttered”.
“It looks stark. I wouldn’t live here. I should put something on the counter.”
What I say. “Declutter, declutter, declutter some more.”
The goal, when prepping your house to sell, is to make it look like you’re a first time homebuyer and you just got settled in your new home without the 30+ years of collecting, nesting, gathering, storing….
Take for example the living rooms below.
The first one needs work. It was a smaller room overall and taking out the computer chair, extra comfy chair beyond the couch, food tray, carpet in front of couch, purple fabric on couch armrest(s), and even hiding items in the kitchen. Again, we’re dealing with a smaller space which means you should probably go above and beyond.
The second one, the homeowner made sure to remove remote controls, extra pillows, an extra rocking chair they had in the corner, some blankets, a lamp, some magazines and this is the result. Enough stuff to know the house is currently being lived in and to give the potential buyer ideas for the space. However, little enough for the potential buyer to not get distracted by the clutter and also envision themselves walking through the house.
If you are selling, I’d recommend doing a couple things to check if you’ve decluttered enough.
1.) Look at other real estate photos online (especially the bad ones). What jumps out at you? What makes you say, “This is too busy.”
2.) Take a few snapshots of your room. Wait a couple hours then take a look. It’s amazing what you’ll see from photos that you’d overlook while walking through the room.
3.) Take those items out and repeat step 2. As soon as you say, “Nothing really jumps out.” Do it one last time, review and you’re there!
Not only will your house look much better without spending a nickel but you’ll give the impression that you keep a neat/put together house which will give a buyer more confidence.
For an extended checklist on how to prep your house to sell, check out Heather Reese’s article for the Top 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Sale! (make the italics text a link directing the reader to the below link)