Selling Your Home? Clean-up and Clear-out!

Consumer Reports “Top 5 List: Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home”


Spring is waiting to sprout. Before long the trees will have leaves, flowers will be blooming, and real estate agents (and prospective home buyers) will be buzzing around like the bees. Many homeowners feel their homes show better in the spring so they wait until March to list them. So it isn’t surprising that Consumer Reports just published their “Top 5 List of Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home.”


Consumer Reports cites the basic culprits we are all aware of when it comes to adding value to our homes like bathroom and kitchen renovation, fresh paint, and curb appeal. But the number one value booster they list in their article is “cleaning-up and clearing-out.”

(The below article is copied from the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. You can also view it online with video here.)

Clean up, clear out

Cost range: $0 (DIY) to $2,500 (pro)

Potential return: 3 to 5%*

Nothing drives away would-be buyers faster than clut­ter, grime, and the weird smells that accompany a messy home. Bruce Irving, a renovation consultant and real estate agent based in Cambridge, Mass., tells clients to imagine their boss is coming to dinner with his or her spouse. “Your home should be at least that nice on the day of any open house,” he says.

Vital to the process is de-cluttering and depersonalizing the space as much as possible. Buyers will have a hard time imagining themselves in your home if it’s filled with family photos and other personal effects.

For severely cluttered residences, or if you’re downsizing and need help winnowing your possessions, consider hiring a professional organizer. Check the location-based member directory on the website of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “We’re not counselors, but we have skills to help people think through why they’re having trouble letting go of certain items,” says Jennifer Lava, president of the Austin, Texas, chapter. In addition to making your current home more sellable, a pro can help you get off to an organized start in your new residence.

Depending on the level of clutter, an organizer may need one to three months to get your home ready for sale, at a cost of $600 to $2,500-money well spent if it helps your property move more quickly. The service might even be worth it if you plan to stay put for the time being because living in a cluttered home takes a psychological toll.

Before hosting the open house, remember to open the curtains and blinds because natural light is just as important as order to making a home feel bigger. And give the entire interior a thorough cleaning, including vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down every surface. Your boss might not be coming over, but someone in the position to write you a very big check hopefully is.

*Potential increase in asking price, assuming home value of  $205,000. also has useful information on de-cluttering your home before you put it on the market. You can click here to access the article.

If you are moving and would like help packing, unpacking, de-cluttering, or organizing give us a call at 410-329-3300.

Jenny Power- Absolutely Organized
Organizing Tool Kit De-Clutter Article


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