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Garner, NC 27529
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Selling your home? Do this first.

They say first impressions are a one-shot deal, and in no situation is this more important than during the home buying process.

A clean living room

The quickest way to make your house look more spacious? Remove your extra things, and store them off-site.

Some real estate agents estimate that home buyers make the decision to buy a home in the first 30 seconds of their visit. That’s why it’s crucial for sellers to stage their home before putting it on the market.

The quickest and most effective way to do this? Remove your extra stuff.

Make a list. Go through each room of the house, opening drawers and cabinets, and gather the things you no longer need. Put them in a box or large storage container; if you plan to get rid of furniture or other large items, mark them with a sticker.

As you go through each room, write down the things that you plan to keep but that you don’t use regularly. These items can be stored off-site while you are trying to sell your home.

Remember that potential home buyers look through drawers and cabinets and open closet doors. Your de-cluttering tactics need to go beyond the superficial.

Create an action plan. Take a look at the items you no longer need — clothes the kids have outgrown, extra kitchen utensils — and determine whether you want to give them to your local shelter or consignment shop, or sell them at a garage sale. Remember that many shelters or thrift stores will pick up your donations at no cost; just call and ask.

Think before you toss. Before throwing out an item, remember the old saw about one person’s trash being another’s treasure. In addition to shelters and consignment shops, freecycle and craigslist are good resources for giving stuff away — even if the stuff is not in 100 percent working condition.

If the trash can is your best option, make sure to check out your municipality’s recycling and waste disposal guidelines. Just as you can’t throw that old car battery in the dumpster, there are many items — household cleaners and fluorescent lightbulbs, for example — that need to be disposed of properly.

Look for a self storage unit. Take a look at the list of items you intend to keep but that take up space. Renting a storage unit would allow you to safely secure these items while potential house buyers tour your home. Many facilities, like Turner Farms Self Storage, don’t require a long-term commitment.

If you’re not sure what size unit you’ll need, talk to the facility manager or use an online tool, like our space estimator.

Home sellers today should use all available tools to make their home appealing to potential buyers. Revitalizing the rooms with a fresh coat of paint, weeding the front walkway to increase curb appeal, updating fixtures — these things certainly help. But getting rid of clutter is a smart, effective, and inexpensive — and thus should be the first step to staging your home.

Image via Flickr

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