Selling your home for more using the 3D rule

Declutter, depersonalize and design your way to a higher home sale price

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Decluttering with the 3D rule (Getty Images / Image Source)

Decluttering with the 3D rule (Getty Images / Image Source)

Are you searching around for tips on selling your home? Have you ever heard of the 3D rule? It’s professional organizer shorthand for: Declutter, Depersonalize, and Design—and it’s the backbone for getting top dollar when listing your home for sale.

1D: Declutter

Clean, clean and clean again: Before you list your home go from room-by-room and clean, clean, and clean again. And not just with a rag and some light sweeps, but get the hot water, soap and sponge out and really dig into the nooks and crannies. If you don’t relish the thought of a deep clean, consider hiring a professional cleaner. In the Toronto area, a “move-out” deep clean—which includes baseboards, windows, inside the fridge and oven and all the floors—will cost about $250, depending on the size of your house.

Once clean you’ll need to declutter. Grab three empty boxes and start organizing. You’ll need to remove anywhere from 10% to 50% of your belongings just to give your home that “fresh from the magazine pages” look. Also, remember to keep counters and tables clean and clutter free. Go to my prior posts for more tips on decluttering.

2D: Depersonalize

Pack away the photos: While your family photos are extremely important to you, they are a complete turn-off to would-be buyers. That’s because most buyers have a hard time imagining their own family living in a home if all they can see is evidence of you and your family. So take down all the family photos and remove remnants of family memorabilia to give your home a cleaner, more depersonalized showroom appearance.

Remove the “What’s That?”: While your at it, take a look around and determine if any part of your home or decor would prompt buyers to ask, “what’s that?” If you find something then consider fixing it or removing it. Whether it’s the 1950s wallpaper or the green vinyl flooring get rid of it before the buyer gets turned off.

3D: Design

Neutralize Colours: A quick paint job can quickly add to your home’s appearance and this can also translate into a higher sale price. This is particularly true if your home’s paint job is old and outdated—although loud or distracting colours are also a distraction to buyers. According a 1993 study researchers found that colour “will grab the customers’ attention and create positive perception about the merchandise.” Since the merchandise is your home and you’d like to sell it, concentrate on picking colours and hues that will appeal to the largest percentage of would-be buyers, such as neutral whites, beiges or grays.

Light Your Space: Ensuring your home is well lit translates into a higher sale price. Not convinced, consider what marketing researchers found when examining the importance of lighting in retail stores during a 2005 study, published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinal Metabolism. Researchers found that “light directly influences physiology and increases arousal.” So turn on the lights—all the lights—to get illicit maximum appeal from your potential buyers.

Increase Space: Since open concepts designs are in high demand, look for opportunities to boost the spaciousness of your home. If you have a non-load bearing wall, consider paying to knock it down. While there are no guarantees, this type of small, low-cost reno can usually translate into a higher selling price, which justifies the cost and inconvenience. But do your research first before tackling a project of this kind, which includes setting a budget and determining whether or not buyers are paying for these types of upgrades.
Getting your home ready for sale can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to take a lot of money. Heed these quick and actionable 3D tips and you’ll more than likely boost the sale price of your home and reduce the number of days it’s on the market.
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