Could Your Closets Be Turning Off Buyers?

Written by Posted On Sunday, 09 September 2007 17:00

Especially as the market slows in many areas, homeowners are looking to fine-tune the look of their homes before they put their house on the market. But all too often an area that gets forgotten is the closet.

Everyone seems to have more stuff than ever before and a lot of that stuff gets crammed into the closets. Then when you list the home on the market, and Mr. and Mrs. Buyer come to have a look, they reach for a closet door and are greeted with an overstuffed, unorganized mess. The prospective buyers don't see your valuables as prized possessions; instead what they see is too much stuff and too little space. Often buyers can't picture their belongings in a home that's filled with clutter. That's why a lot of agents will recommend organizing, not just the space you see immediately upon entering the home, but also the closets.

"I think that instead of being kind of a luxury, now it's something that everybody thinks they need," says Paula Gallegos, co-owner of Conejo Closet Designs in Thousand Oaks. Gallegos says an organized, well-planned closet can be a huge attraction. "Who wants just a regular shelf and pole when you have all these capabilities of the hangers and the drawers and the belt racks, shoe shelves -- everybody needs storage" she says.

The requests for closet organizers are growing in an interesting way. Closets are turning into spaces where people don't just store their clothes. They're also considered an important upgrade for many buyers. Just as a large renovated kitchen and bathroom area are typically more appealing to buyers, so too are organized closets.

"They're getting bigger. They want more bells and whistles. They want more accessory items. There is one home we're bidding [on the project] right now that has an upstairs bedroom and they're putting a refrigerator in the closet," says Gallegos.

At the top of every homeowner's list is how to maximize space. "Sometimes that might be extending your organizers higher than what you have, maximizing the overhead space and sometimes it's a matter of using the extra space you have below with baskets and shoe shelves and things like that," says Gallegos.

One of the newest trends for closets is being borrowed from the dry cleaning industry. It's a rotary closet device called Rotabob and it literally brings the clothes that are stuck in hard-to-reach places right to you.

"For instance, you probably see a lot of closets that are not too deep -- you know a reach-in closet and they've got a real long return where you look down the side of it and it's two or three feet of really hard-to-get-at space. So, with the Rotabob you can install one of those and just basically bring your clothes to you instead of having to reach in for them," explains Gallegos.

They carry a price tag of about $900 to $1,200 for a unit with installation but after it's put in there's nothing else to do. "They are stainless steel units with ball bearings so there's no maintenance and no electricity and they work for just about any closet," says Gallegos.

These units are becoming popular not just for closets but also laundry rooms, storage spaces, and garages. "Someone actually put it in a utility closet and loaded it up with baskets and hung their mops and rags on the handles and put their cleaning supplies in the basket," says Gallegos.

Being organized on the outside of your home creates curb appeal that gets prospective buyers in the door. Then keeping them there long enough to decide they can't live without your home requires careful, well-thought-out organization inside your home including those areas that you don't notice right away but your prospective buyers most certainly will.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website: www.LiveFitMagazine.com.

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or phoebe@livefitmagazine.com. Visit PhoebeChongchua.com for more information.

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