Selling a Home in the DC Metro Area? Rethink Your Closets, According to Local Realtors

It’s always a good idea to get an expert’s opinion before embarking on any investment. You might not purchase a luxury car without speaking directly with the dealer. You would probably consult a banker before investing in high-risk stock. The same goes for real estate—before making any major change in your assets, you’ll definitely want to consult an agent for their advice. Especially when you’re selling your home, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing all you can to increase your return on investment, and a local realtor can be a helpful resource.

Surprisingly, there’s one unique home improvement project that most sellers overlook that makes a huge difference to homebuyers: closets. You can probably guess that a custom closet significantly improves the value of your home—but you don’t have to take our word for it. Below, real estate experts weigh in on the importance of a beautifully outfitted master closet. From making your listing and showing stand out to making buyers feel pampered and willing to pay more on the sale, take it from the experts: custom closets are a smart investment when selling your home.

A Good Closet Makes Your Home Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Realtors know that there are specific steps you can take to make your home sell faster and at a higher price point—and they all have to do with making your property stand out from the crowd. Especially in a market as competitive as the DC Metro Area, you’ll want every advantage you can get to secure the price you’re hoping for. Whether they’re taking pictures of the beautifully designed custom master closet to add to your home’s listing or they’re saving the closet for a lasting “wow” effect during each showing, realtors know that these fixtures add real value.

According to Jayne Ehrens, Real Estate Professional for TTR Sotheby’s International:

Buyers today want a home that is move-in ready, and when it comes to closets they want more than just rods and hooks. When potential buyers see a professional organizing system in a closet, it makes that particular house stand out from the rest and in today’s market that’s important. Conversely, when we are working with sellers and getting a home ready for the market, the first thing we tell them to do is to de-clutter, and one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to get a professional organizing system. The financial benefits far outweigh the cost.

Jeff Lowen with The Real Estate Expert Advisor affirms that luxurious walk-in closets “have gone from a desired amenity to an expectation these days,” and suggests adding custom accessories to help your closet stand out in buyers’ minds. “This popular extra just might help you sell faster in a competitive market, ultimately saving you from making extra mortgage payments.”

Your Custom Closet Will Have an Emotional Effect on Homebuyers

Buying a home can be stressful, especially when you’re under pressure to give an immediate offer at the risk of letting someone else snatch up your ideal property the very next day. That’s why an atmosphere rich with positive emotion is key to a good showing. Realtors keep the place warm, with cozy lighting, and might bake chocolate chip cookies fresh in the oven—but a custom walk-in closet will go even further toward making your potential buyer feel at home.

As one realtor who works in and around Alexandria remarked,

If you’re going to renovate anywhere, the owner’s suite needs to be first. Homebuyers need to feel pampered, and a closet with beautifully color-organized clothes, a perfect layout, and nice hardware is a really good way to get that feeling. If a closet feels like a boutique, with jewelry laid out and the expensive handbags displayed, that can really make an emotional difference.

Gary Lucido, writer of award-winning real estate blog “Getting Real,” realized the emotional impact of his own personal closets when looking to sell his home. “I decided that the lack of elegant closets was inconsistent with the price point that I was going to be reaching for. I wanted a wow factor when buyers first step into my house and again when they go into the master bedroom. All we had were your basic wire shelves, which was pretty disappointing.”

 

Neglecting the Closet Has Monetary Consequences

Perhaps the most telling argument for giving effort to your closets comes from the experience of realtors who lost sales due to their lack. Michele Silverman Bedell, chief executive of a Westchester agency in New York, told Marketwatch of a time when she “worked with a client who took the closet out of the master bedroom and made a huge master bath. Big mistake. This change made the home much harder to sell. ‘People need closets,’ she said. ‘They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.’”

The unfortunate truth is that homes that don’t fulfill this need often stay on the market much longer than expected. Real estate broker Laura Cao experienced this firsthand. “I showed a great townhome in Tribeca that had everything but a master walk-in closet. Deal killer.”

Need another example? Kris Sylvester of Halstead Property worked hard to sell an apartment for $25,000-35,000 less than its neighboring units. “The difference? Closets. The owners of the apartment had removed the apartment’s permanent closets [and replaced them with external wardrobes] … in buyers’ eyes, the apartment was closetless.” And, as Mr. Sylvester discovered, ‘that was a deal-breaker.’”

Celeb real estate mogul Sidney Torres of “The Deed” has a simple philosophy that can help you combat this seller’s problem:

There’s not any room for cheaping out on your closets. People always cheap out and get cheap closets made, but I always like to get very nice custom made closets with lots of drawers, hanging space, and storage. Details make a huge difference when you’re trying to sell.

Details which, in most cases, can increase your profit.

Keep Closets in Mind When You Prepare to Sell

When you’re embarking on renovations to make your home ready for selling, adding a custom closet can be a worthwhile investment. Here are some of the steps that a realtor might take to ensure that you make the most of your closet escapades:

Choose your company carefully. You want to ensure that you’re getting the highest-quality closet out there. Bonus points if you can go with a local company that will be around for any questions/requests your home’s new owners may have.

 

Go for simple and symmetrical. When choosing a closet design, remember that you have no idea who will be purchasing your home. Adding white thermofused laminate adjustable shelves and a fairly standard configuration of elements will help anyone appreciate your investment, no matter what they’ve got in their wardrobe. Select simple, classic hardware.

 

Stage your closet. A beautiful closet is even more beautiful when filled with carefully organized and color-coordinated clothing items and accessories! Leave most of your own wardrobe in storage elsewhere—you want the closet to look open and boutique-like.

 

Finish off with stunning details. A gorgeous chandelier, an art piece, or a statement lamp will help this room stand out in buyers’ minds long after they leave your home.

 

Realtors know firsthand the monetary value that can be placed on a custom closet—and they may even be able to recommend a local company for you to work with. All in all, making a local partnership with one of these professionals may be the best thing you can do for the sale of your home.

At Closet America, we’re dedicated to providing the resources and the products for our DC-area clients who are looking to sell—and for those who are looking to enjoy a new custom organization system for themselves. We’re an independently run company and we complete all of our work in-house, from the designer’s 3D sketch to your installed closet.

Ready to make the next move? Sign up for your free design consultation today to get started on designing the closets that will make your home stand out on the local market.