Get Your House Ready to Sell 30 Day Challenge

10 Tips on how you need to declutter to Sell Your House

 A couple of weeks ago, a realtor asked me to go to his client’s house and coach them on what they needed to do to get their house ready to list quickly. The market in their area has been quite “hot” for awhile. When I walked into the house, I was overwhelmed at the bold colors, the amount of furniture, and all the “knick knacks” that each room had. As we went through each room and I made my long list of suggestions and recommendations, the client was telling me why she was not able to do this and that, and that buyers would see through all the stuff and bold colors and would decorate it the way they wanted to when they moved in anyways. Once we were over halfway through her house, she surprised me away when she mentioned that she was offended when they had their house listed last fall and they received only one “low ball” offer which was $200,000 less than their asking price! The challenge is, the buyers that can “see” through all your stuff are the ones that will “low ball” on their offer and you won’t get the price for your house that you want.

Buyers needs to picture themselves in your home.  80% of buyers have difficulty visualizing themselves in rooms that smack of the owner’s personality.   Of the 20% that can visualize, they will low ball their offer for the “work” they feel they need to do.  

Do you know that getting your house ready to sell and moving is one of the top 10 stressors in life? One top of your daily life, you’re adding on more to do in order to get as most money as you can from most likely, your biggest asset. This is the time to call in your favor. Get your family and friends to help as much as possible. Take a serious look at your scheudle to see if there is what you can cancel or postpone after your house goes on the market. Once showings are happening on your house, you are going to be looking for things to do and places to go since you need to be out of your house while showings are taking place.

1. 5 Most Important Rooms to Focus on!

When homeowners are thinking of listing their house, they tend to panic because they know they need to declutter, personalize and make their home appealing to 80 -90% of the population. When I visit clients for the first time for a staging consult, they’re a little panicked as to what should be done, how much they need to do and what are the priorities. Some people have months to get ready and quite frankly, some need it. Especially if they are moving out of their home where they have raised their family and are downsizing to a smaller space. They typically have alot of stuff to go through. On the other hand, some people may only have a few weeks to get ready because they found out they need to move quickly for work or other reasons. Regardless of the time you have, focusing on the 5 most important rooms first will help you come up with a plan of where to focus your energy, and if you run out of time to do a through job on other areas, you will have the most important rooms done.

  1. Curb Appeal
  2. Living room and/or family room
  3. Kitchen
  4. Dining area
  5. Master bedroom

2. Depersonalize.

One fixer upper that I ended buying had old family photos on the wall in the hallway when you walked in and in the bedroom. It shouted the current owner lives here. It would be hard for the potential buyer to visualize living in that space. The house had many buyers walk through and it was on the market for a couple of months. The homeowners had already bought another home and where getting anxious as they were on the verge of owning two homes. They also had religious items in the home. as hard to Remove quirky decorating, family photos, trophies, degrees, etc. Anything that shouts

3. Declutter.  Declutter.  Declutter.

Declutter your home before you list. Debi Collinson,

Your moving anyways. Get rid off all that stuff you have been intending to get around to it. People have a hard time visualizing their selves living in a space that is cluttered with someone else’s stuff.    Read 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home

4. Neutralize your walls

Do the colour of your walls date your house? Does your house look like a checker-board with each room a different colour? Paint your walls a calm serene contemporary colour throughout.

Which color?  Check out the Most Popular Staging Paint Colors to Sell Your House.

5. Is your furniture size appropriate for the size of the room?

Furniture that is too big for a room makes a room look small. Be aware of scale in the house when it comes to furnishings. You might have a giant sofa that you love, but if it makes the room look small, it has to go. Too much furniture in a room, or furniture too big for the room, makes the room appear too small and crowded and will turn off potential buyers. Similarly, not enough furniture also makes a space feel awkward.

6. Get Rid of Anything You’re not moving with you and you don’t need for staging!

7. A clean kitchen


Kitchens should be clear and clutter-free. No fridge magnets or kids pictures on the fridge. The counter should have a coffee maker and toaster out at most. Get rid of any additional movable cupboards that you have added into the kitchen. It just screams that there is not enough cupboard space.

Replace dated or worn kitchen cabinet hardware with trendy new ones.

8. A spotless bathroom

Potential buyers DON’T want to see your deodorant, soaps, towels, knick knacks etc. They don’t want to picture someone else living there. It grosses them out!!! Bathroom needs to look like it could be a hotel room or part of a spa. Hire a professional cleaning company to get at all the little nooks and crannies if you run out of time. It will be worth the money and save you the time and aggravation.

9. Closets

One house I staged had EVERY. SINGLE. CLOSET. jammed packed, I mean really jammed packed with stuff. It reminded me of the

10. Basements, Garages & Attics

In a perfect world, it would be great if you decluttered your basements, garages & attics and had them looking like they could be in a magazine, but when you’re decluttering and gettting your house ready to sell, the reality is, is that you quite often need this space to store all the stuff that you’re taking with you that you removed from the other parts of the house.

If you get a chance to declutter this area, this would be your last priority as these areas are not typically not in the listing pictures.

If your basement and/or attic is a finished living space, then you need to treat it as any other room in your house and declutter and stage. Depending on the room, finished basements and attics are typically selling features in a home and thus your space needs to reflect that.

Welcome! I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Stager. Real Estate Investor. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my very first home. Staging houses was just starting to become popular. I watched every staging show on HGTV that I could find. I was very nervous staging my first house, but the sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and have never looked back. Since 2006, I have been staging & designing spaces to make them look like they belong in a magazine page, and buying “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent them out. Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning and how to sell your house for top dollar!

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  1. Hi Deb Nice to see a Canadian that I can follow. Your blog is a large help to me . My hubby died in the middle of a roof raising renovation.I have been trying to finish as much as I can. Living in the country there are not many trades people around I have tried hiring a few locals but that was just stupid on my part. So as I try to get the house finished and get ready to sell one day not so far down the line. I have read many helpful things here and hope to continue learning from you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Jean – so good to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your hubby. You’re very brave continuing the renos on your own. Please let me know if there is a topic here. Good luck with the renos!

  2. Thank you for you kind comment! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get posts the minute they come out!

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