How can the Big Yellow research on de-cluttering and de-personalising your home help sellers?

publication date: Sep 9, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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De-cluttering and de-personalising your home

Recent research commissioned by Big Yellow Self Storage has given more insight into how sellers, buyers and agents feel de-cluttering and de-personalising a home for viewings impacts not only on price, but even if you get an offer or not.

This was substantive research, which researched 2,000 people: 1,742 property buyers and sellers and 258 estate agents across the UK.

What the research reveals:-

  • 66% of sellers who de-cluttered believe they received a higher offer, on average £4,811
  • 43% of buyers say they made a higher offer as a property was de-cluttered and looked bigger
  • 95% of estate agents say de-cluttering means properties will sell for more money, with 38% insisting it increases the sale price 'every time'
  • 22% of buyers wouldn’t even make an offer if a property was cluttered

What does this mean for sellers?
The research really reveals that buyers are much more discerning than they have been in the past. Due perhaps to all the telly programmes, they expect sellers to ‘make an effort’ and make sure the property is clear of clutter, nick knacks, ornaments and personal photos to allow them to see themselves living in the property.

So as a seller, as the agent believes it adds to the price of a property, rather than wait to tidy up and de-clutter prior to viewings, what’s essential is to:-

  1. Do all your de-cluttering and de-personalising BEFORE you invite agents in

  2. Make sure every room in the property, including the garage, loft and outbuildings are free from clutter and junk

  3. Check when the photos are taken by the agent every room is clean, tidy, beds are made and there are no signs of clutter in every single space

When chatting to people about this research, people’s feedback was interesting. They were telling me that if the property details say it has three beds and they have only pictured two, the buyer automatically becomes suspicious.

So it’s also essential every room is photographed for the 20+ photos most experts now say are required on portals or agent’s marketing to attract viewings.

What if you just need temporary storage for an Open Day? 
The good news is it doesn’t matter if you have just a few items to put into storage or lots. It also doesn’t matter if you are in a busy market and just want to show off the property for a couple of days over a weekend.

Most storage companies, like Big Yellow will let you store your stuff for just seven days and it doesn’t matter if you only need to put a few boxes away or a whole double garage full of items, then you can use the likes of Big Yellow as your new ‘spare room’ until you move!

Read - Big Yellow's storing your belongings checklist

What else does the research say you need to do to maximise your property’s sales price?
Apparently, taking down family photos, removing the lounge door and parking an expensive car outside could add £2,500 to your house value

Other tactics to boost the sale price include:

  • Strategically placed mirrors to create the illusion of space and light (£947)

  • Removing a door (£930)

  • Taking down family photos (£921)

  • Removing other furniture or bulky items (£836)

  • Removing a sofa (£826)

  • Removing a dining room table (£812)

Read - Big Yellow's storing your belongings checklist

And don’t forget the turn offs! Here’s Big Yellow’s top 10 property turn offs
It’s easy to remember to do all the good things, but sometimes we forget when having viewings to make a bed or finish the washing up!

Here are 10 things you MUSTN’T let buyers see:-

  1. Discolouration or smell due to smoking in the house (32%)
  2. Knick knacks and ornaments on display (26%)
  3. Pet smells or paraphernalia (26%)
  4. Small kitchen appliances cluttering work tops (22%)
  5. Rooms crowded with furniture (22%
  6. Dirty dishes or food left out (19%)
  7. Unmade bed/s (15%)
  8. Pets living in the house (15%)
  9. Overflowing washing basket (12%)
  10. Overflowing wardrobes/cupboards (12%)

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