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A picture paints a thousand words – or is that dollars? Use photographs to expose equity-killing clutter.

Have you heard the phrase, “clutter kills equity” or “clutter eats equity?” But how can you recognize the clutter in your own home? Try taking “before” pictures. A room will look cluttered in a picture, where it may not in person. Because photos never lie.

Step 1: Take the pictures yourself, or ask your agent to take them.

Take pictures from all points of entry to a room. Take additional pictures, focusing on architectural features like fireplaces, picture windows, or built-ins.

Step 2: Wait.

Wait a few days before reviewing the pictures. If possible, review the images away from your space. This will make it easier to be objective.

Step 3: Review the pictures.

Now, here’s the hard part – being objective. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and pretend you are looking at photos of someone else’s home. Avoid making excuses, or thinking its “good enough.”

Remember, no one with a choice ever settles for a home that is “good enough.”

Know what buyers are looking for: move-in ready homes, great architectural features – like hardwood floors, large windows and fireplaces, and a little WOW factor or pizzazz doesn’t hurt either. Does your home show any, or all of these elements? Could it if you removed some of the clutter and/or furnishings?

Before getting started, test your objectivity with this “before” image. One of many homes where clutter was slowing down the sale. Ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. Where is your eye drawn – are you looking at the room or its contents?
  2. Does the fireplace standout?
  3. Do you notice the window?
  4. Can you tell how big this room really is?
  5. What feelings do you have when viewing this image?

Before: The eye is drawn to the “stuff” in this space. Too much furniture and knickknacks make it hard to focus on the fireplace – the central feature. The window is almost unnoticeable, and the room feels like it is closing in on itself.

Photos Expose Equity Killing Clutter- Den Before Home Staging

Next, ask yourself these same five questions about the “after” picture below.

Photos Expose Equity Killing Clutter- Den After Home Staging

After: The owner has edited down both furniture and accessories. Now, the walls, fireplace, floor and window – the elements for sale – are clearly visible. The room even appears larger, and after all, we are selling square footage.

The cost to stage this room – zero dollars. Selling in less than three weeks after lingering for over three months – priceless.

If you’re still having trouble being objective, or want a faster approach, consider hiring a professional home stager. By the end of a 2-4 hour consultation you will know exactly what’s needed to prepare your home for sale.

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