When prepping a home that is occupied for the market, several things need to happen. One of the first things we do is have the space professionally photographed. Then, after the listing goes up, showings will be booked and we may even schedule an open house. But before any of these things can happen, we advise our clients to do a little tidying up. Depending on the size of the home and the number of people that live in it, this can be a rather daunting task so we truly do understand why this request is often met with looks of dread. Ultimately though, dear reader, this tidying up process is to your benefit! Tidy and organized homes have a tendency to bring about higher offers and, once an offer is accepted, your job of packing up and moving out will be that much easier! Here’s what we suggest…
Put Things out of Sight (As Much as Possible)
Whether it’s for the purpose of having sleek photos of your home or to optimize a showing or open house, we always suggest putting things out of sight, as much as possible. What we mean by this is try to clear your surfaces of clutter and avoid having an excessive amount of personal items on display. In the kitchen, sleek appliances can remain but your bills, fridge magnets, tea towels and the like ought to be tucked away. In bathrooms, no one wants to see your Rogaine and blood pressure pills. Things like luxe hand soaps and candles though are welcome! Keep in mind too that potential buyers tend to take a peak in closets and walk-ins to get a sense of what kind of storage space they would be living with. For that reason, this may be a good time to do a good purge of your wardrobe and use the new-found space to arrange things in a visually pleasing manner. The ultimate goal of all this is to be as invisible as possible and create a space that is welcoming but free of distraction and allows for the possibility of a potential buyer’s imagination to run wild.
Group Things Together
We realize that there are some things that simply cannot be put out of sight and in these circumstances what we suggest is to create at least a semblance of order. This can be done by grouping like-things together. Towels can be artfully rolled in spa-like fashion, books and magazines can be arranged to look as though they are carefully curated, open kitchen shelving can have the allure of a lifestyle blogger’s kitchen with dishes stacked and so forth!
Make Bins, Baskets & Trays Your Friends
For smaller items we recommend visiting the organizational section of your favourite big box store and purchasing a plethora of simple and neutral bins, baskets and trays. From kitchen cupboards and bathroom drawers to media cabinets and miscellaneous built-ins, small baskets are a great way to go. Use the same principle above and organize by category and, if you’re feeling especially Marie Kondo-y, get your label maker out. There’s no question that this takes work and can be a royal pain but it does wonders for hiding and organizing clutter. For larger items, such as children’s toys, throw blankets etc. try bins and large baskets. For items that simply must remain on counter surfaces, a simple tray can help to organize and make things look tidy.
Avoid Creating a Dumping Ground
As you work through this process, there is a tendency to dump the miscellaneous items you don’t know what to do with into a single closet or basement storage room. As tempting as this method might be, we generally urge our clients to avoid this approach or, if they must, to do it with style. Plastic totes and storage bins from Walmart can help you conceal and organize items plus, they can be neatly stacked, keeping the floor clear. Although having a scary dumping ground does not necessarily lead to a disastrous showing or open house, it is a distraction and prevents potential buyers from looking at and thinking about the home itself. Scary dumping grounds can also lead to disconcerting thoughts like, “I wonder what problems we might find behind all that junk!” If you’re in a condo or have limited storage space for said bins, we highly recommend renting a storage unit. There are several affordable storage locations across the city, which can be incredibly useful not just for the sale of your home but also for the moving process.