My room is not dirty img

There’s a reason that it’s called a “show-home”. It’s all for show.

It’s definitely not for living.

Unless “living” is walking around with bottles of glass cleaner and rags all day and then at night, secretly throwing toys into cardboard boxes whilst your children sleep. “They’ll never miss these! Bye-bye, cluttery pieces of plastic!”

I've heard it more times that not, "selling a home while living in it is a tough job!" and even harder when you have children.

But in order for prospective buyers to actually imagine themselves in the house, the seller’s house has to achieve all of the “De-“s. 

1. De-clutter
2. De-personalize
3. Decorate

The first rule of the “Show Home”: De-clutter

This one is a hard for most. We love our clutter. We all have that one area in our house that is chock full of stuff – papers, iPod dock, a place for pens, some framed pictures – it's basically the landing pad for all-things-crap in our home.

It has to be cleared.

Believe me when I say, clutter is distracting! Buyers will spend too much time looking at your collection of ceramic cats on the windowsill or your sloppy piles of bills on the desk. They forget to look at the bones of the house.

If you’re struggling and need guidance on how to declutter, here are some creative decluttering tips to get started:

  • Take before and after photos of a small area. Choose one part of your home, like your kitchen counter, and take a photo of a small area. Quickly clean off the items in the photo and take an after photo. Once you see how your home could look, it becomes easier to start decluttering more of your home.
  • Fill an entire trash bag. Get a trash bag and fill it as fast as you can with things you can donate at Goodwill.
  • Take the 12-12-12 challenge. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to be returned to their proper home.
  • Use the Four-Box Method. Get four boxes and label them: trash, give away, keep, or re-locate. Enter any room in your home and place each item into one of the following boxes. Don’t skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take days, weeks, or months, but it will help you see how many items you really own and you’ll know exactly what to do with each item.

Second rule of the “Show-Home”: De-personalize.

Again, difficult for most. We like our stuff, and we like it to sometimes feature pictures of our adorable non-Perfect family.

Buyers don’t like this. They don’t feel like they can live in that house. They need to imagine their own child’s graduation photo on the wall. They have a hard time walking past the sign that says, “The Smiths” or “Beware of Guard Cat” on the front walk.

Personal stuff claims the home. It screams, “You don’t live here! Go live somewhere else! Not in this place where Tommy and Janice live. With their ceramic cat collection!”

Now, don't be going and taking all the frames off the wall and leaving behind little nail holes to fill. A super easy and inexpensive trick is to replace family photos with prints. 

Once your house has ample space, clean countertops, and picture frames that don’t have Cousin Rambo staring back at you, you’re ready to decorate.

Third Rule of the “Show-Home”: Decorate

This doesn’t mean that you run into Home Sense and start throwing things into the cart willy-nilly in hopes that you can suddenly achieve style in your space.

Really, this means that you want to make your house as appealing as possible, without offending anyone’s tastes.

It sounds about as beige as butter, but it doesn’t have to be. Basically, think “hotel”. What would you like to see in a hotel if you entered the room?

I'll give you a hint: Soft music, over-stuffed pillows, sparkling clean glasses, fluffy towels, fresh flowers - all strategically placed to create a warm, appealing ambiance to make potential buyers instantly fall in love with. That should sum it all up!

Basically, people want to think that you take care of your place. They’ll feel more comfortable in the house, and thus, will stay longer and perhaps fall in love with the space!

Happy decorating.