When you hand someone your business card, you’re giving them a small, but important introduction to who you are. Much like resumes and cover letters,
6 (Tongue-In-Cheek) Ways to Describe Clutter in a Positive Light When Selling Your House
People often joke about how real estate agents use “code words” like “cozy” to describe a house that’s small, or “move-in condition” as a way to say it’s clean but not updated, but that’s part of the job! Agents have to be good at putting a positive spin on your house, no matter what they’re given to work with.
Ideally you shouldn’t have clutter when you list your house for sale. And we’re not even talking about hoarding-level clutter—just having excess things in spots where they don’t belong can be a huge distraction to buyers (even if the buyer is guilty of having the same stuff around their own home).
While some home sellers take it to the next level and stage their home to be devoid of any personal items, others fall short of that and leave a trail of their daily lives like breadcrumbs for buyers to follow.
So, while your agent would rather you declutter before listing your house with them, let’s look at some creative ways your agent might put a positive spin on some common clutter sellers leave out in the open for buyers to see.
1) Exercise Equipment
There’s a huge difference between a true home gym set-up, and the more common random piece of exercise equipment many people have in a corner of their bedroom. While it’d be better if you could get rid of your Peloton while your house is on the market, if you can’t part with your pedals, perhaps your agent will spin it as:
“Primary bedroom with with plenty of room for your own home gym to save you time and money having to join an actual gym.”
2) Mail Pile
A pile of mail on the kitchen counter is probably more common to see than a variety of fresh fruit in most households, but it’s still not something you should leave there when your house is on the market. But if there’s no place to hide it (or you just can’t be bothered), maybe your agent can frame it as:
“Dedicated mail room / office space for your bills, junk mail, and occasional birthday card, conveniently located at the far edge of the kitchen counter. Perfect for paying your bills while having a snack!”
3) Dishes in the Sink
It’d probably be better if you washed your dishes after every meal, or stuck them in the dishwasher, but some people treat dishes like a load of laundry waiting to be folded and put it off for days. So why not hope your buyer is one of those types of people and pitch it to them like this:
“Hate doing the dishes after dinner every night?! The deep, high-capacity kitchen sink will free you from having to deal with the dishes for days on end! (***Current owner has left a week’s worth of dishes in the sink for scale and reference.)”
4) Books in the Bathroom
Now that most people have smartphones, you’d think that there wouldn’t be a whole lot of reading material lying around in the bathroom. But some people still like a good old-fashioned book, newspaper, or magazine to help them pass the time while sitting on the throne. If you insist on old-school reading in the john while your house is on the market, rather than having them inevitably picture you sitting there reading, perhaps your agent can use words to make them envision themselves with this instead:
“A cozy, private library with attached porcelain seating for hours of comfort while you catch up on your reading.”
5) Christmas Lights
Hanging Christmas lights on the outside of your home can be a total pain in the neck (especially if you fall off the ladder), so it’s no wonder why some people just leave them up year-round. But when your house is on the market and it ‘tis not the season, you should really make the effort to take them down. That said, your agent could also spin it by saying:
“Exterior holiday lights are permanently installed for year-round ambiance, and will save you time (and possible injury) by not having to climb a ladder in the winter months.”
6) Kids’ Toys
Even the most organized parent can have a tough time getting children to pick up their toys on a normal day, so it’s no surprise that kids aren’t great about keeping things tidy when their house is for sale. While shipping them and their toys off to the grandparents for the duration of the home sale may sound appealing, it’s probably not possible or practical. It might just be easier to say:
“Get ready for some fun and recreation! Every room in this home doubles as a rec room. Literally every room.”