Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What Your Closets Reveal About You

A closet says a lot about its owner. When your house is for sale, closets are part of the deal in surprising ways.

Closets are secret places, non-public areas that exist behind closed doors.

But buyers will open those doors. They will step inside a walk-in closet. They will peer into cabinets. They will stare at a pantry.

Buyers are picturing the amount of space they would have if they bought your home. But they are also judging the owner of the home, you.

If they form a positive impression of you, they will form a more positive impression of your home. And chances are greater they will be easy to work with as prospective buyers because, hey, you're a likable guy.

These buyers are less likely to low ball you on pricing, and less likely to put bumps in the road to a closing like demanding special considerations.

Staging your closets could make the difference between a buyer envisioning himself moving in or else questioning if your home is right for him. The National Association of Realtors has found that 83% of buyers' agents agree that staging a home makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize living there

If you don't give your closets -- and other storage areas -- some staging love, you could be alienating buyers. Here are three of the best messages your closets can give someone touring your home.

There's something soothing and reassuring about a closet that has items
arranged by colors. The wooden hangers add a classy touch. Photo: The Spruce


1. I value myself and my possessions. 

If your closets are perfect examples of orderliness and style, chances are the rest of your home shows the same characteristics. You can emphasize those qualities by staging your storage areas to look neat and attractive. 

A thorough closet cleanse begins when you go through your belongings and pare them down. No one admires a hoarder. Get rid of duplicates, expired items, and anything irreparable or useless to you anymore. You want to showcase what looks new and upscale.

The average adult between the ages of 25 to 34 spends $161 each month on clothing. That's a ton of clothes. The time to minimize possessions is as soon as you know you will be selling your home. Not only will decluttering make it easier to clean and organize, but it will make your move easier and more affordable as well.

If you find it difficult to toss belongings, holding a garage sale can take the sting out of what feels wasteful. Use the cash to help with your staging or your move. Donating items to your favorite charity thrift store is another way to part with things gracefully. Tell yourself that set of dishes you no longer use will make a budgeting, new bride happy. 

My one unusual piece of advice I give people purging storage areas in their homes is to be on the lookout for interesting objects they can use for staging. That straw hat or those old leather riding boots that you never wear could become a statement piece of your closet staging.  

2. I curate my life. I'm in control. 

We all admire organized people. Be that person. Once you've narrowed down your closet contents and zeroed in on items that you want to keep, there will still be stuff that is either out-of-season or takes up too much space.

This photo from The Container Store doesn't look like
the pantries most of us have and use, but it is a good
example of how attractive a staged closet can look.  
My opinion is that it's worth the money to rent an off-site space for the possessions you don't need right now.

Since the U.S. storage unit industry generates $22 billion in revenue every year, I think you'll find a facility near you. I've blogged about the best ways to choose and use a storage unit. 

Storing excess in the attic or basement is always an option, but it does give the message to buyers that you don't have adequate, accessible storage. Someone touring your home begins thinking, "If they don't have room for their stuff, then neither will I."

Stacked boxes of stored belongings make it look like you're in a hurry to move. Boxes stored in a basement or attic can be a visual distraction, and might even be a safety hazard. Although a finished basement merely needs to meet legal egress requirements for safe escape or entry, buyers won't be enticed by a crowded or unattractive basement.

So, turn that messy closet into something an obsessive-compulsive could love. Cluster the little things you regularly use and store them in opaque containers. Even a small closet can be made to look larger when storage bins and baskets match.

If there is a light fixture in the closet, make sure it has maximum wattage and that both the bulb and the globe are clean. Add battery-powered, stick-up lights and turn them on before a showing if the closet needs additional illumination.

To make a closet look more spacious, use under bed storage space for essentials you don't need daily.  I've written about other clever places to store excess when you stage.

An overcrowded closet says you don't have control of your life. Now's the time to tidy up!

3. I have an enviable lifestyle.

Never forget that people shopping for a home want to move up the social ladder. A home purchase represents increased self-worth and security. If your home represents a desirable lifestyle, you'll find a buyer sooner.

Pretty things, plenty of space, lack of clutter, handsome
hangers, simple color scheme -- this closet demonstrates
some of the best ideas for staging a clothing closet.
Photo: Women's Day Magazine
The good life means you have separate closets for separate functions. The ideal home has a coat closet, a linen closet, a cleaning closet, as well as designated closets for sports equipment, party supplies, shoes, off-season clothing, crafts, and ... well, we can dream, can't we?

The closer you can come to this dream scenario, the better your home will show. Try to create a couple of  single-purpose closets. Perhaps you can cluster sports equipment, luggage, and off-season clothing in separate areas of one closet. Maybe you move cleaning supplies and tools into the laundry area, and then stage one closet as a gorgeous linen closet anyone could love.

In other words, put the pretty things upfront and center, and hide the mundane and personal. Don't be afraid to stage a closet in a way that's a tad unrealistic. Go for a unified look with matching baskets or boxes, and a color scheme that ties everything together. Create closet envy.

Don't have a junk closet in your home. Don't have any mystery closets.

Don't arrange clothing or accessories randomly. Organize by type or by color.

Don't store boxes, baskets, and shoes on the floor. The more visible floor there is, the more buyers are impressed. 

Don't use old, dry-cleaner, mismatched hangers for clothes. Cheap closet accessories send a negative message to buyers. Make them jealous of how together you are.

Don't include photographs of your closets in your online listing. They rarely look impressive unless they are huge walk-in affairs with custom shelving and minimal belongings.

If you plan on listing your home for sale in the coming weeks or months, these are the steps you can take to help it sell quickly for the ideal price. When you stage spaces so they look big and accommodating you've just bumped your home ahead of the competition.

GET THE LOOK. GET THE BOOK. 

You can gain more insights into what makes DIY home staging successful in my eBooks. Each one is just $4.99, and they are fully loaded with advice on how to make your home ready for market without driving yourself crazy. Click on that eBook link and you are just another click away from starting your smart staging today.




Top Photo: Forbes

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