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The mantra of real estate value has always been “Location ~ Location ~ Location”. While this is still true Declutter ~ Declutter ~ Declutter may now be running a close second.

It is no mystery that people everywhere have more stuff than ever before. This is especially true in Berks County where we tend to keep things we know should have been discarded years earlier.

Now it is time to sell that Berks County home but there is one problem…You cannot find it through the clutter.

What to do? Well, if you are a true Pennsylvania Dutchman it is time to “RED UP”. If you are not, then decluttering will have to do.

After you have disposed of all the things you can bear to part with, moved some furniture around and done some sprucing up it is time to call the Realtor®.

If that Realtor® is me it is likely we still have some work to do. When I photograph a home it is important that it is displayed to the world without anything that may take away from the homes natural beauty. This normally means clearing off all kitchen counter tops, boxing up knick knacks and moving more furniture. In general, make it look like you barely live there.

Clean, cloistered lines are in. While your Keurig® coffee maker is awfully cool it does not outdo the granite counter top I am going to sell underneath it. Simply having too much stuff lying around, no matter how decorative, can be a distraction to a prospective buyer. Limiting these items is helpful to their vision of your home.

When it comes to furniture less is more. There is prime real estate underneath that 12 ft dining room table with 2 leafs in it. Especially when the floors are made of finished wood. Avoid angling cabinets, chairs & benches in the corners of rooms. The practice will shorten the room. If that was the intention the home designer would likely have put an angle there when the home was built.

The first impression of a decluttered home is a valuable thing. Now it is time to make sure the second impression is just as good, closets and cabinets.

Here is where it gets tough. There are likely things in the closets that have more sentimental value. It may be more problematic parting with these relics. Be strong, I have a solution.

Find SAFE AREA in the home and store as much as you can fit there. Box it, bag it just store it all in the same area. Just not in the closet or drawers. More than one home seller has lost a prospective buyer because the closets looked too small.

Now for the big test…Breathe. It is time to go after impression number three, the basement, garage and attic. Use the SAFE AREA rule here but make one of these areas work for that purpose. You may take an area of the basement and put all the items you keep but do not want spread throughout the home there. Of these three areas try to keep the garage decluttered. If there is no basement or attic use the garage.

A prospective buyer views the great home photos on the internet and calls for a visit. The home looks as good as the photos and they are very interested. Now it is time to look deeper. They will likely open the closets and kitchen cabinets. If they are pleased with the space and condition of these areas they move on. The garage, attic & basement are clean and decluttered (except for the orderly area of items in the rear of the basement). The buyer is pleased and you are a big step closer to the goal of selling your Berks County home.

Today’s buyers tend to look at homes a bit differently than in the past. There are plenty of HGTV type shows to choose from. It is as if they expected you to take care of their home all the years you resided there until they find it and buy it. With the right guidance from the right Realtor® the buyer will pay you fairly and handsomely for taking care of their future home.

Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue