42% of all home buyers say they would have made a higher offer had there been less stuff in the property. Let that sink in for a moment.
The media likes to talk about how employment, Wall Street, and the oil industry affect house prices, however they rarely talk about the effect that clutter has on the buyer’s decision to purchase. The truth is that nearly half of all home sellers didn’t get a fair price because their home was too cluttered.
Clutter has a very real effect on the housing market, and even the economy as a whole.
Why Home Buyers Hate Clutter
Clutter has a serious and immediate effect on the brain. We can’t help but try to process clutter, figure out what each item is, and come to an understanding about why it’s in a house. This can be exhausting.
The effect of a cluttered room is similar to multitasking: it causes stress and prevents people from focusing. Simply put, it’s hard work, and hard work is unpleasant.
So, sure, people feel bad when they’re around clutter, but they logically know that it will be gone when they move in, right? Unfortunately, no.
Why Emotions Matter
Study after study shows that humans do not always make value judgments completely logically. In fact, the reason we think we’re logical is because our brains work overtime to rationalize why we made an emotional decision.
If someone feels bad in a space, they will come up with all sorts of reasons why they feel that way. But it’s the feeling that is important to their actual decision, not the reasons.
Why Getting Rid of Clutter is Hard
Neuroscience is also on the case here, as well. Getting rid of stuff causes a specific pain response in the brain. What can we say? Humans like things.
This makes it hard for people to de-clutter their homes, even if they know it is affecting their sale price.
The good news is that storage is incredibly cheap! Think of it this way: a good storage locker might cost you $700-$1000 a year. Compared to your house’s value, that’s a drop in the bucket. In Toronto, an average house sells for $565,000. If clutter costs you even 1% of that sales price, you’re out about 6 times as much money as it would have cost you to store your clutter off-site! Look into storage now before you start showing serious buyers.