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Jw, Other/Just Looking in

Is it best to de-clutter your house before talking to a realtor about selling?

Asked by Jw, Sun Feb 17, 2008

Is it best to de-clutter your house before talking to a realtor about selling?

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Model My Home!’s answer
It is ALWAYS best to de-clutter before speaking to anyone about selling your home. First impressions are important, even for a Realtor.
Consider calling in a Home Stager to help you. With a Home Selling Consultation, the staging representative will help you view your home from a buyer's perspective, choose what to pre-pack, help to arrange each room to look it's best and show the most space, decide what upgrades or changes to make, if any, and possibly bring in a few items that you may be missing so that you home will show it's very best.
Keep in mind, there is MUCH competition these days, and those homes that make a great first impression are those that are SOLD!
I have been speaking to a friend who is looking for a home and she and her husband are amazed at the difference in the homes that have been staged, and those that are not. Also, people are looking for "move in ready" homes, so it is essential for sellers to get their homes looking tip top!
Web Reference: http://www.modelmyhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 28, 2011
No, but it is essential that as much excess furnishings and personal items (family pictures, trophies, collections etc.) be placed into storage ASAP after listing for sale.

You will find a lot of good info about getting your home ready to sell at:

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2008
Question posted Feb 2008.

I think JW has solved the issue.
However, it is somewhat a timeless question.

Yes, de-cluttering is important, but not for the reason given.
A knowledgeable REALTOR can see past the clutter, confusion and disorganization. However, seeing such things may suggest to the REALTOR your level of commitment to the process is less than 100%. Helping you sell your home is a team effort. Without both the owner and REALTOR being on the same page, striving for the same outcome, the journey can be distressing.

DE-Clutter to show you ARE planning to move.

When you home is listed, de-cluttering will be essential to get you the best price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2014
It's definitely a great "start"....
I always do a walk-through at the first meeting (pre-listing) to get an idea of selling-features and points of the home, as well as make suggestions to the home-owner that would put the home in a better "selling" position. Homes that are cluttered do not feel as "homey" or well-taken care of and can definitely turn a buyer off. The rule of thumb is that if you have not touched it in ten days...box it up and stack it neatly in the garage (this is especially true of your kitchens and bathrooms). No one wants to see your toothbrush, toiletries, or water bottles in the kitchen. Clear those counters off (it also gives the illusion of more counter space), and allow the potential buyer to see the features of your "home"...not your clutter. :)

-Amy S. Arey, Realtor
Halo Group Realty, LLC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2014
At least start. A listing that is cluttered will be on the market a long time. Buyers cannot see your house if there are "things" and large furniture everywhere. A good Realtor will see that you really do want to sell and an uncluttered
house nets more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 3, 2014
Yes! It is easier to price a house that is obviously in great shape. It is also critical that the pictures the realtor takes look fabulous. 80% of buyers start their search today by looking on the internet at those pictures to decide which properties they will visit. Staging sets the stage for great photo's. Call in a professional home stager; the investment is minimal and the payoff can be huge. Of course, I would love to help you. It is best to hit the ground running when the house goes on the market.....take advantage of the initial buzz about your property!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 15, 2010
Decluttering your home is important! I would call out a real estate professional asap to get ideas on what they would recommend you declutter,organzie and store away. The preparing process is a critcal part of preparing your home to SELL! Typically I go on a listing presentation and once I am hired go back to the seller and assist in making a make ready list giving the seller 1 to 2 weeks to accomplish that list. I also provide handymen,storage/mover ideas and cleaning companies. Call and interview 1st would be my recommendation!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008
Yes, Get it looking nice first. When I see a house on a listing appointment, I calculate the best price to market the house in its current condition. I also tell sellers what will enhance the property and make it more attractive to the prospective buyers. Then comes the cost benefit analysis. When they realize that a few hundred dollars of repairs and a weekend of thorough cleaning may result in an extra thousand or two, they promise to get the work done pronto.

They make that promise, then persuade me to list it a couple of thousand higher because everything will cleaned and repaired in the week before the listing has to go into the computer.

Then they do nothing, or almost nothing. They have lives, they have jobs, or kids, or something else that they would rather do. At that point I've got an overpriced listing, not by much, maybe 1% over. But now my job is 50% harder. The internet photos don't look as good as they should, the open houses and the showings are less impressive to the people who come. Then I have to hire a cleaning crew.

We have all had this experience, so when we see a cluttered house at listing appointment, we sense there will not be much change afterwards.

Oh, I forgot one other think, -- If you are of the " interview 3 Realtors " school, then even if you do spruce the place up, two of your neighborhood experts are going to remember the mess they saw, and be less likely to show it to their "fussy buyers"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
A good season professional veteran can see past the clutter however any agent does not want to make continual trips to a property where it is a condition to photograph and etc. A property in good condition also shows to a professional realtor you are serious about wanting to sale your property. Therefore prior to placing in MLS we are all ready starting with pre-sales trying to market bringing in clients less time on the market where you can sale your home. A professional can also provide you suggestion on staging however difficult if they are trying to move around the clutter . YOU might want to try a flat fee listing agent. Example we list properties for $795 ... $500 paid up front the remaining $295 paid at closing, Allows you to make $1000's more at closing. In some instances based on the house location we will hold open houses. It allows you to offer realtors bonus and etc. FEW suggestions to assist in marketing your property.
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Yes.....most real estate agents can look past the clutter and see the house, but we always have doubts about if you will actually do it or to what extent. I personally think your house should be in tiptop shape before you speak with a realtor.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
Tah dah! I happen to be stager. If you're serious about selling your home, you will absolutely need to de-clutter...at some point. Of course, it depends on what you have to de-clutter. If you do end up using a stager (some Realtors include a staging consultation as part of their marketing package), some of what you think is clutter may actual be items that can be used in the staging of your home. If you're talking about things like a lot of magazines , etc., then yes, start de-cluttering now.

Most of the Realtors I work with have an idea of how they'd like the house to look and will advise you to clean (white glove clean) and de-clutter at the very least.

I'd be happy to answer some more specific questions ( no charge) if that will help.

Karen Negrete, ASP, IAHSP, IRIS
Transform Your Home
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Hello, I would have to agree and also go a step futher. Most real estate agents will come to the property and look at your home. At that point they will go off of the condition of your home from that point when they give you an asking price range. They may give you suggestions on what you should do to your home. Most agents will not feel comfortable telling you what you need to do to get top price for your home. That is where a Home Stager comes in.
If you are talking about anything more then decluttering I would suggest you look on the Home Staging site (ASP) to find someone in your area that can really pinpoint what you can do to improve your home and get it into showcase condition.

Then once the agent comes in to talk to you about price they will not know what the house looked like before the home had it's transformation. Then they will tell you what's a good price you should list your home at.

Hope that helps.
Best Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
I would have to say yes and no...depending on your situation. Yes-if you are ready to put it on the market right away. Anything you can do prior to listing your home , to have it "show ready", is a benefit to you. This will help you and your realtor set the price on the higher end of the range, too, versus trying to list while you have a lot of things left to do to get it ready. On the other hand, if you aren't quite ready to put it on the market and want some input on what might help you get a better price, by all means call a realtor! I consider it part of my job to counsel my sellers on what they can do to enhance their home to get the best price possible in the shortest amount of time.

I hope that helps!
Web Reference: http://www.MarciaLevine.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Yes, the reason is the less criticism the better, we really don't always like giving positive correction. It is refreshing to have a seller with all their ducks in a row. It sounds like you already know what to do, good job!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Probably should have rephrased this better. I guess what I meant to ask was, should your house be close to, if not, show ready before you call a realtor?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Yes. Realtors are probably better at overlooking any shortcomings but we are all human. I would try to give the Realtor a good first impression.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
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