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Add Value to Your House by Creating Visual Space.

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by: Sharon Wong
All homebuyers want as much house for their money as they can get. Many buyers are looking for a larger home because they've outgrown their current one, and especially desire more closet and cupboard space as well as larger rooms.

Visual space makes your home appear larger by allowing the buyer's eye to move from one side of the room to the other without interruption, giving the illusion of more space and openness. In contrast, a cluttered room stops the eye repeatedly and gives the illusion of less space.

In order to make your home appear larger, decluttering and removing unnecessary furniture is essential. The goal is to create a comforting atmosphere in which buyers can imagine their furniture and belongings easily fitting in. Once a buyer has this image in their mind, you're one step closer to a sale!

Follow these easy tips to add space and openness:

1. Pack away family photographs and small accessories. Family photographs make your house personal, but you want the buyer to see the house as theirs, so pack away all family pictures and mementos, including awards, trophies, plaques, etc. Small accessories (knickknacks, collections, figurines) distract the buyer by focusing on many small items instead of large, open spaces. These items should also be stored away.

2. Take small pictures off the walls. Small pictures break up the space of a wall and cause the buyer to stop and look at the pictures instead of allowing their eyes to see the wall without interruption. Keep large pictures above areas you want to highlight, such as over the bed, fireplace or sofa.

3. Leave accessories that add color and interest. A room without any accessories feels cold and sterile. Large accessories such as books, chunky candles and silk flowers should be left to give the room warmth and character.

4. Store small and unnecessary furniture. Many pieces of furniture, such as TV trays, end tables, and magazine racks can be put in a storage facility or at a friend's until you move. This immediately creates space between the larger pieces and makes the room appear more spacious. Now is a good time to decide what you'll take with you when you move and what you want to get rid of. Keep larger pieces of furniture in place (sofas, dining room tables) so the buyers can get a better idea of how their furniture will look in the space.

5. Clear off countertops. Remove all personal items in the bathrooms and kitchen. Items such as makeup, medicine and toothbrushes can be left in baskets on a shelf, to be brought out when you need them. In the kitchen, remove salt and pepper shakers, the dish rack, and small items on windowsills and on top of the stove. Clear countertops of all but large items such as canisters, a colorful cookie jar or a decorative plate. Have as few items as possible on the countertops to give the illusion of extra space.

6. Show off your closets. Perhaps number one on the buyer's "must have" list is more closet space. To make even small closets appear large, show shelf and clothes pole space by packing up and storing out-of-season clothes and sporting equipment, and donating unneeded items to charity. Now is the time to sort through all that clutter and decide what to keep and what to discard. You'll be amazed at how big your closets will look to you and your buyers!

You may think after all these changes that your house doesn't look like your own, but remember, the house you sell is not the same as the house you live in. By creating visual space, you are allowing the buyer to easily imagine integrating their life into your home - the first step to selling your home faster and for more money!

About the author:
Sharon Wong is President of Ready Set Sell(r) and an accomplished interior designer. Since 1991, her company has helped home sellers get the quickest sale and the highest price for their homes. Sharon also teaches Realtors(r) how to ready their customers' homes for a fast and profitable sale. Her company offers in-home consultations, seminars, videos and articles to help in the home selling process. For more information about her services and products, visit her website at

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