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IS “WHITE-BOXING” THE RIGHT MOVE TO HELP SELL YOUR HOME?

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So it’s time to sell your house. You spend days (if not weeks) clearing out the clutter, organizing, cleaning and perfecting every square foot of your home so potential buyers can see it at its best possible version. Often times your Realtor might even offer up the services of a professional stager – it’s amazing what these experts can do without even bringing in any new décor. They simply take your existing furniture/decorations, work their magic and POOF your home looks like it should be on the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.

Going through the process of meticulously preparing your home for sale will improve the perceived value of your home and usually result in buyers willing to pay more to move in, but what if you took it one step further…allow me to introduce you to the idea of “white-boxing.”

White-boxing is a growing trend in the real estate industry and it’s basically the idea that when potential buyers are looking at property they have a very specific idea of how they want to design/construct the interior and therefore, you should give them as blank a canvas as possible.

Imagine having two similar homes. The first home is meticulously decorated to the liking of the current homeowner. The second home’s walls are bare of any paint, the kitchen cabinets have been stripped of hardware, lighting fixtures have been removed – you get the idea – the home has essentially been muted of its design elements. Which will sell faster?

It’s a bit of a tricky question to truly answer. If the first buyer who walks through the door of the first home loves the design elements, then we have a match and that home will sell, but if your goal (and it should be) is to have your home appeal to as broad an audience as possible, then white-boxing is something your should consider doing before listing your home.

Before you go ripping your home down to the studs, understand that there are levels and degrees to this idea of “white-boxing.” At its most extreme interpretation, yes, white-boxing means you would vacate any and all finishes in your home – countertops, lighting fixtures, bathroom tile – rip them all out and give buyers the ultimate clean slate. This level of white-boxing has it’s place (think multi-million dollar apartments), but a more practical approach to this theory is what most sellers should consider as they prepare to list their home and something a staging expert would actually be well suited to assist with (a little ironic, I know).

A staging expert can help you organize your home so that each room can be seen for its possibilities, rather than it’s current use – for example, what you may see as a living room space, may better suit a buyer as a dinning room. By removing unnecessary furniture, buyers can more easily envision their own furniture in the space and therefore will be more likely to have an emotional connection to home.

Another option that some sellers are choosing, which supports the theory behind white-boxing, is to just remove all the furniture from the home entirely. We actually have a beautiful home listed for sale in Rye, NH – 13 Perkins Road – that had been tastefully staged, but the sellers just decided to remove all the furniture to present the home as more of a blank canvas in hopes that it will appeal to a broader audience of buyers.

Those are just a couple of examples of how white-boxing may help sell your home but what’s important to remember is that each home is truly unique and the decisions you make in how you prepare your home for sale should be carefully weighed and discussed with a trusted Realtor (we know a few if you are looking :))

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