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Organizing Your Home to Sell Faster

February 2, 2021, Author: Park Ave Cleaning

Do you NEED TO SELL RIGHT NOW? Well, organizing your home to sell faster is the focus of this article.

This one is a tough one, but we run across it all the time. Especially if folks have lived in a place for awhile… I mean, the material possessions do eventually tend to pile up!

So, if you’re in the position where you need to cut through a bunch of junk and clutter before you can even think about putting your property on the market, this one’s for you!

Why should I organize my home before a sale?

Many frustrated home sellers are left wondering why they can’t move their properties – or get their asking price. Why do some homes get snapped up the second they hit the market while others languish? 

The answer may be less mysterious than you think. To make a reasonable profit when selling your home, you have to appeal to as many potential buyers as you can. With many buyers comes competition, and when competition is high, the property’s value rises. 

The magic is in the word “appeal!” Like, say, your image when you’re job hunting. When it’s time to sell your home, you’ll have to dress it up. 

“Dressing up” can describe many different actions: a full-scale kitchen or bathroom remodel, a new paint job, or a “listing clean” – Park Avenue Cleaning’s residential cleaning service in Howard County, Maryland (originally offered to real estate agents and their clients, now also available to individual sellers). Dressing up could mean landscaping or a nice expensive new roof. But beyond all that in potential impact is a simple secret that might cost little more than your time.

Organize!

Do you want your listing to be pleasing to a wider variety of prospective buyers? Home organization is the answer! When your home is clean and well organized it will captivate buyers. Organizing can be done in two ways; you can either hire a professional cleaning service or a home organization service in Baltimore county (or both!) 

Or you can DIY – do it yourself.   

Home Organization DIY

You can organize your home like a professional without spending weeks and weeks. One easy way to achieve a brisk pace is to adopt the Marie Kindo method, known as the KonMari Method. 

What is the KonMari Method to organize your home?

The KonMari method of organizing involves arranging your items category-by-category rather than room-by-room. There are six basic rules under this method, which include:

  • Commit! Tidying-up isn’t easy – especially in the beginning. You’ll have to bring some commitment, and maybe pack some patience. Again, the beginning stages of cleaning and organizing are the hardest. Try to avoid distractions while you’re doing the work. Put on relaxing music. Maybe burn the scent of cinnamon in the air.  Anything to tickle your pleasure centers while you’re getting started.
  • Imagine your ideal lifestyle: Before you start sorting, imagine what your space will ideally look like when you’re done. Hold that image in your mind and organize your home to match it. 
  • Discarding first: Organizing starts with discarding. First, get rid of unwanted items. This helps yoTidying Up by Marie Kindo method for house cleaning and organizingu identify how much space you have left, and you can then get started planning how to use it (This is the big payoff at the end! Lots of delicious new space!). 
  • Tidy by category, not location: There are five major categories to tackle:
      • clothes
      • books
      • papers
      • miscellaneous
      • sentimental items 

Sort the items in each of these categories one at a time. For example, go through all your clothes first and discard anything you’re not using – or that you don’t absolutely love! When you’ve worked through ALL your clothes, move on to the books.

Depending on how much stuff you’ve accumulated, this could take more than one day. This is a more efficient method than sorting through all the items in each part of the house then repeating the same process in another part of the house. Your mind will process differently, and you’ll end up with a better result.

More from Marie Kondo

  • Follow the right order: Be sure to perform the first four steps in the proper order. This not only saves time; it will also help to conserve your energy. 
  • Ask yourself if you’re satisfied: When you’re finished with the arrangement, walk around and see if it’s to your taste. If you’re happy with what you see, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer. Are you ready for “prime time,” that day when your agent places the For Sale sign at the curb? Then you’ve done an excellent job organizing your home!
  • Release the personal stuff. While you may find it difficult to get help with your most personal files, papers, photographs, and mementos, a professional service can easily help you with all the rest. A service will also have the best ideas for storage, on or off-site. They’ll help you cut through your natural resistance and get the job done!

How organizing your home before listing it helps you

You may wonder: do I have anything to lose if I put my home up for sale without first organizing it? The straightforward answer is yes! You have a lot to lose if you put out the For Sale sign and invite people in without first cleaning and organizing. A little organization…

Makes the home look larger 

Cluttered-living-room-Photo-by-jonathan-borba-on-unsplash
This cluttered living room would be beautiful if it got tidied up!

When selling, you want your home to look as big as possible. One important way to achieve this is by keeping everything in the house organized. When your home is organized, there is a designated place for everything, making it much easier to keep everything in its place. On the other hand, when it’s disorganized, things are put down in random places till even a large room can appear small and stuffy. A well-organized room has enough space for everything. With zero clutter, any space will, indeed, appear larger. 

Increases the perceived value of the home 

stock-photo-plywood-cutout-outline-of-a-house-with-stacks-of-coins
How much do you want to make when you sell your house?

Disorganized homes look as if they have not been well-maintained. This alone is enough to reduce the value in a potential buyer’s eyes. The buyer is less likely to be impressed by the property and will estimate its value much lower. When your listing is well-organized and clean, on the other hand, it will give off the impression of being well managed – and it will be perceived to have a higher value. It is easier to imagine that a home needs many repairs when it is disorganized. The buyer may even fear that clutter is concealing hidden problems – even if that’s not the case.

Looks more inviting 

Who doesn’t enjoy being inside a beautiful home? That enjoyment is in large part an emotional and physical response and it will override the rational side of our brains. If your place feels good, and if people feel good in it, it will sell. As a seller, if you can, you want your home to captivate a buyer the moment they walk in.

When that happens, the house has spoken for itself, and you have less work to do to convince a buyer. And it is easier to persuade a buyer with what they see than what they read or hear about. Give them a reason to love your home by making it attractive and appealing rather than doing a lot of talking. Organizing your home is worth every penny. The more attractive your home is, the more people it will attract, and the more profit you make. 

Organized Homes Sell Faster 

It is human nature to want beautiful things. Thus, by organizing your home before listing it, you’ll be more attractive to more potential buyers. A well-organized home leaves your potential buyers “wowed,” and they’ll all want to have it. The competition will usually get you higher prices. If you leave your home disorganized because you don’t want to stress yourself or spend money on a residential cleaning service in Baltimore, it could sit on the market for a long time. The longer it stays on the market, the likelier you’ll have to lower the price. You don’t want this to happen. Cleaning and organizing is an easy way to create a space that makes potential buyers feel positive about the property. 

The Best Home Organizing Tasks to Help Market Your Property

There are many ways to make organizing your home a part of your everyday life now – then you can double down on it when you need to stage your house for sale. If you decide to take on home organizing by yourself – DIY it – these tips will guide you:

Improve your Landscaping

Exterior view gorgeous stone and stained wood house built into a hill - organize your home starts on the outside- American west
This gorgeous stone and stained wood house looks well, kept, organized and appealing from the curb!

Begin on the outside to organize your home! First impressions matter and can determine whether a potential buyer invests time to look further — or not. Your outdoor environment is the first thing a homebuyer sees. You must use that to your advantage and grab their attention. Who knows? The yard could be what gets the place sold! Therefore, one of the relatively easy and inexpensive ways to organize your home for sale is to improve landscaping. 

Improving your landscaping can be basic: 

  • mow the lawn, 
  • clear the garden, 
  • prune the bushes, and 
  • plant flowers

That little activity can drastically improve your home’s appearance. It’s what real estate agents call “curb appeal.” 

More comprehensive landscaping can also involve adding shrubbery or laying down ornamental features like stone walkways or decorative ironwork. Whatever route you can afford to go, remember that a little curb appeal goes a long way.

Clean the exterior surfaces

A house that’s dirty on the outside will make a potential buyer assume that your entire home is poorly maintained. On the other hand, a clean exterior gives an immediate impression of a well-cared for home. Cleaning the exterior doesn’t have to be stressful. Start by clearing the gutters. Pressure wash the walkways and parking area. The hardest part may be scrubbing glass windows. But, clean, sparkling windows immediately upgrade your home’s appearance! No kidding. 

Carry out all necessary repairs

While it should be obvious that big-ticket problems like a leaky roof must be repaired, you may not realize that you should also look around your home and fix any small things that are broken. Common damages that are cheap fixes but which will turn buyers off if neglected are: 

  • cracked walls 
  • leaks on ceilings 
  • damaged gutters 
  • cracks in windows
  • broken furniture (even though it wouldn’t be part of the sale)
  • rusty faucet hardware
  • old, cruddy doorknobs (so cheap to replace! immediate visual upgrade!)

It’s about the impression you’re making. Broken stuff will not make a good impression on buyers and will depress the value of the property. 

So, it’s smart to take the time to make repairs. Fix it – or replace what can’t be fixed. Leave no damage unrepaired, no matter how minute it may seem to you. These small details add up to the great general impression you are trying to leave in a buyer’s mind.

Beautify the front door 

Beautiful, carved wooden door
A beautiful door is an invitation to enter all by itself.

You wouldn’t want to welcome your prospect with a damaged or unattractive door. So, if the door is still in good condition, little touches like a fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Choose a color that matches the structure’s building materials (e.g., brick, wood, siding). If the handle is faulty, rush out to get a new one. If the door itself is damaged, remove it and put in a new one. 

You should also check that the sign with your house number is bold and beautiful. Your numbers should be clearly visible from the curb. 

Declutter the rooms

Decluttering your home is not the hardest thing once you have a strategy. No matter how much you’re starting with, know what the expectations are for “staging” a home for showing to prospective buyers. Can you achieve the clean, uncluttered look that will let buyers see the infrastructure of your home, and be appealing to the eye so that people will picture themselves living in it? Here is one approach that has been highly successful:

  • Begin with the sitting room 
    • Remove all unnecessary furniture, keeping only the important pieces. The more furniture in a room, the smaller it will look.  
    • Unclutter the bookshelves. If you’ll be moving soon anyway, go ahead and pack away most of your books, magazines, family photos, and knickknacks on those shelves.
    • Same with art or any decorative items on the walls. Let your best pieces remain, and they’ll have a much greater impact without the mass of other stuff to distract the eye.
  • Do the same with your other rooms: bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. Keep only essentials around. If your storage can’t accommodate your stuff, consider what you really need to have on hand and what you rarely use. Then give some away. For the things you want to keep, you can temporarily rent a storage unit while you get the house sold.
  • Finally, you should depersonalize your home. Remove most of your family photos and most other personal things. You want folks to picture their family living there, right? Replace these with decorative items like flowers. 
colorful-welcome mat for beach house
Your welcome mat can set the tone. Is this a fun house?

Buy a new welcome mat

When it comes to organizing your home for sale, you don’t want to underestimate the power of “little things.” Get a new welcome mat to make your potential buyer feel invited as they step into your home. One beautiful way to make them feel at home is with an attractive welcome mat. A funny mat could provoke smiles and giggles as they enter, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Shine and polish every surface 

Another almost cost-free way to organize your house for sale is to make every surface shine. Clean your ceiling fan, your windows, curtains, floors, and center tables until they sparkle. If your curtain’s material supports ironing, you should wash and iron it. 

Avoid color rioting 

Everybody’s sense of aesthetics is different – some people love rooms where the walls are primary colors – red, orange, blue. Others are repelled by them! Therefore, realtors recommend playing it safe. A wrong color match can irritate and annoy a buyer; therefore, avoid them. There’s almost no-one who is actually put off by neutral colors. Before you put your house on the market, repaint your fun, bold-colored walls with neutrals: whites, beiges, tans, pearls, greys will appeal to the widest range of buyers. 

Use a mild air freshener  

Yes, you should “clean” the air, too. We are influenced more often than we realize by our noses! The smells we inhale influence decisions. Therefore, to sell your house faster, get rid of pungent smells. Beware, however, of strong air-fresheners. Try an air neutralizer, instead; and use it throughout the home. Spray it on any fabric-covered furniture, and if you have wall-to-wall carpet, use it on that (or get the carpet shampooed). You can also put out fresh flowers to provide an inviting fragrance as your buyer walks around. The universally irresistible smell of baking cookies is a favorite with realtors as it creates a cozy, welcoming ambiance, attractive to most potential buyers. 

Try Park Avenue Cleaning’s “Listing Clean”

So, if you’re selling your home, organizing and decluttering is one way to bring out its true beauty and make it more attractive to prospective buyers. Listing a property does not have to be an onerous task. But, if it’s more than you have time to take on yourself, you can call a professional cleaning service in Baltimore County.

Park Avenue originated our “Listing Clean” for Howard County real estate agents. But the service is available to individual sellers and has become very popular with people trying to sell their homes faster. An intensive cleaning on your property before you put it up for sale can add as much value to the selling price as a new paint job. What seller would not want that? We are here to help!

Our crews are highly trained, and we all have many years in the business. We’ve been COVID-certified by ISSA, the International Sanitary Supply Association. We’ve been trained to clean everything from levered shutters to porcelain to chandeliers! You will notice the difference!

Now serving Columbia, Ellicott City, Catonsville, and Greater Baltimore, Maryland metro areas. 

Learn more about how Park Avenue Cleaning professional cleaning service can clean your home and help you sell it faster.