In a previous post, I shared with you 3 easy tips for prepping a home for photography. There was some really great content there that was simple and actionable. If you haven’t seen it yet, go read it because in this post builds on top of it. I want to dive a little deeper into the one area that seems to hang up clients every time. That is clutter.
Now clutter doesn’t have just one meaning. To some it’s just a few items out of place while to others, it could put them on the edge of approaching “hoarder” status. Either way lets talk about some of those specific items that could actually be impacting the “Sell-ability” of your listings in a negative way.
Why is hiding the clutter important for your listing?
Well lets think about a house from a buyers prospective. Most likely the buyer has been perusing houzz or pinterest and has this grand vision of their future home. They may know it’s not realistic, or maybe it is. But you want to present your listing as close to that vision as possible. It’s done with two goals in mind.
1) Make sure they see a clean, beautiful home that will improve their quality of life.
2) Make sure they can see themselves in the home.
These goals may seem pretty obvious but they often get overlooked by sellers. It’s your job to educate sellers on what they can do for the best results. You want the property to be as “show ready” as possible to feature the selling points of the home. Getting rid of clutter is going to be one of the easiest ways to do this because clutter in a home only serves as a distraction to buyers.
What is Clutter?
Before we get too far into what needs to be done with clutter, lets first identify it. I describe clutter as anything that is “extra” in a space. Beyond your typical sofa, chairs, tables, rugs, etc, items that a buyer may not necessarily add to the space can become clutter. Clutter is often sentimental items, it can be knick-knacks on the counters, even items that are nice may be adding “visual clutter” to a space.
So what do we do with it?
1st off, you’ll probably have to talk to the sellers about what items should be put away and why. Express to them that grandma’s photo is lovely, but it could distract buyers from seeing themselves in the home. Let them know it’s not personal and that they can bring the items back out as soon as photos and showings are done but until then, the house really needs to showcase itself without these items.
Do a walk-through with the Sellers
I’m sure you already do this with any new listing but it’s very helpful to do so when prepping for photos and showings. Look at each area, one-by-one, and try to address everything that can be distracting. Here are some of the top clutter areas I see when photographing a listing.
-Countertops: Clean off the counters. Put appliances, knife blocks, paper towel holders, soaps, and just about everything else, under a cabinet. Buyers like to see lots of counter space, whether it’s in a bathroom or kitchen, and clean counters are the only way to show that.
-Sitting Areas: Personal touches are great but, like I said, photos of grandma don’t always resonate with buyers. Remove family photos to stay anonymous. Keep your chairs “sittable” by only having 1-2 pillows as decor and keep your tables tidy.
-Outdoor Areas: Mow that grass, rake the leaves, and emphasize the importance of hiding the garden hose. All of these things add visual clutter that can make the house feel sloppy. Your photographer and showings will thank you.
These are just a few things to do reduce clutter in a listing, but there is always more to do. Be sure to have these conversations with your sellers and share with them my “Sellers Photo Checklist” so everyone can be prepared to show the home. If you’re looking for other ways to prepare the home, don’t forget to check out my “3 easy ways to prep a home for photography.”
Now I’m curious, how are you helping the buyers see themselves in the space? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,