The magic in home staging is the unattached, unemotional perspective of someone representing prospective buyers. To illustrate this point, you'll find it fascinating that even a home stager … needs to hire another stager to prepare their home for sale. That's because emotional attachments will win over logic and everyone needs help letting go of their stuff.
Homes in the US are among the largest found anywhere in the world. As family sizes are smaller, that means we've got more space for each member of the household so how is the space being used? and more important, how does this space influence prospective buyers?
When buying a home, one of the biggest tradeoffs is location versus home size. Housing in a city has lower square footage and a smaller yard than homes outside the city, so homeowners who want more space will migrate to a community in the suburbs. Where creative storage is critical in city homes, plentiful storage becomes a key requirement for your typical suburban home.
Where Do Buyers Expect Storage in a House?
Prospective home buyers start their tour of a home at the curb. They'll enter through the front door and quickly gravitate to the kitchen which is the heart of any home, and after this they'll check out the bathrooms. While buyers might not focus specifically on storage as they view your home, having enough storage space in the right locations will influence a home buyer's decision.
If you don't have a front hall closet, show buyers how you've solved this problem. Do the same for each type of storage your prospective buyers will look for:
- Front hall closets are used for coats when entertaining visitors.
- Families more often have a mud room or similar storage by the side/back door where family members enter the house.
- Kitchens need lots of storage for food storage, cooking gadgets plus glasses, dishes, etc. A mini home office for handling mail is important too, along with storage for children's activities.
- Where once a library was an important room in the house, today it's the family room with all the electronics. Entertainment centers offer the perfect storage for the various electronic devices and physical media.
- Bathrooms need lots of storage but the trick is showing you've got more space than you need, i.e. remove the clutter and leave these spaces well organized.
- Bedroom closets that are full and overflowing will tell prospective buyers your house doesn't have enough room. Start purging and/or packing early to make your closets appear generous in size.
- Storage in your attic, basement or garage can tell buyers you've got plenty of storage space but only if the space is organized, i.e. where you can see and access everything easily.
Where Do Sellers Hide Stuff When Selling a Home?
If you don't feel your home has enough storage space, it's time to clear the clutter. If your house looks cluttered and there's stuff visible everywhere, then it's time to sort and let go of your stuff until it fits comfortably in your home, where it won't capture the eyes of prospective buyers.
Genevieve Benton, owner of A Perfect Move based in Kittery, ME works with seniors helping them let go of their stuff. She demonstrates her method of sorting things by emptying her purse onto a table and sorting her own personal belongings. Here are the categories Genevieve groups things into:
- Things you can't live without, so they'll move with you.
- Belongings you want to give to family and friends, or sell as they're valuable.
- Other belongings that you want to donate as there's useful life left, or dispose of.
Strategy for De-Cluttering
The funniest story I've read about a house showing was a homeowner who tossed all the kitchen paperwork in the dishwasher as they ran out of the house in the morning, and ran the dishwasher without realizing what was in the dishwasher, oh my!
Walk around your home and gather up all the items cluttering your visual space, from too many family photos on the table by the front door, to sad looking plants, discarded clothing and the paperwork that inevitable invades every room in our homes. Take your collection and apply Genevieve's technique, packing up what you plan to take with you.
What de-cluttering techniques can you share with us?
Photo credits: Jennifer Myers Interiors