It’s all gotta go

One of the greater challenges real estate agents face when taking on a new listing is communicating precisely what they need the seller to do to prepare the property for sale. It does not help that those getting ready to sell their home are hoping to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Though many sellers know deep down they should invest some time and money into preparing their home for the market, some cling to the hope that maybe…just maybe…their home is the one exception to the general rule about properly prepping one’s home for sale before it hits the market.

An issue countless realtors and sellers fail to see eye-to-eye on is clutter. If a person’s beliefs about clutter in a home were to fall somewhere on a spectrum then real estate agents would be on one end, representing the mindset that less really is more and a home should appear professionally staged at all times, even if people still live in the home.

While real estate agents generally tend to spend their time on the minimalist side of the two extreme ends of the spectrum, sellers don’t. For instance, some sellers do understand they need to remove as many personal items as possible and reduce the amount of furniture in the home to help maximize the space. After all, nothing makes a room seem smaller than furniture and clutter. And so that’s what these sellers do and we as realtors fully appreciate this when it happens.

Other sellers, however, are what I would refer to as “clutter blind”. Clutter blindness is a serious problem that is not easily fixed when ignored for too long. Those with this condition can stand in a room that is completely filled with objects and think the room has just the right amount of furniture, personal belongings, etc. In fact, to those with clutter blindness the room may even feel somewhat empty and lacking. The rest of the sellers fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. This is manageable for most agents because reaching a compromise with their seller about what stays and what goes requires only small sacrifices on the seller’s part.

There is no shame in being clutter blind.The vast majority of us show symptoms from time to time so it is not a rare affliction at all. But to sell a house, one must take steps to overcome this particular issue. The first step is to admit the problem exists. The second step is listen to the realtor’s advice regarding what belongs in the house during the selling process and what does not. A good rule of thumb is to operate under the assumption that for every one item of clutter or furniture the seller removes, there are ten others the realtor expects (or expected) to disappear.


About Melissa Higgins
Client-centered realtor to assist with renting, buying, and selling needs. I work for BHG / The Masiello Group which has a wide range of services to assist in allowing me to help you realize your real estate goals. I serve all of Southern New Hampshire, including Nashua, Merrimack, Bedford, Manchester, Hooksett, Milford, Hollis, Pelham, Brookline, and many others. Contact me to talk about how I may help you.

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