As estate agents, we certainly know the value of de-cluttering a home before you try to sell it, and now the runaway international success of Marie Kondo’s book and TV show on the subject prove what we have always also suspected: that the benefits of decluttering go way beyond that.

Back in the 1800s, the celebrated designer, author and activist William Morris first suggested that the “golden rule” for living well was to “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” and now people of all shapes, sizes, races, ages and creeds are attesting to the fact that they do just feel better all round when they follow Kondo’s advice along the same lines – that is, to retain only those objects in their lives that bring them joy and shed the rest after thanking them for their service.

So that got me thinking - wouldn’t we also all feel and function better if we were able to deal with information in the same way? If we could learn to retain only that which was important, positive and useful to us while dumping the irrelevant, negative and obstructive?   

In real estate, for example, there is often far too much emphasis on the minute details of market analysis and not enough on what we should be doing, given a certain – and by now very familiar - set of market circumstances.

There is of course nothing inherently wrong with all the statistics, data and opinions that compete for our attention, but spending all our time and energy on dissecting the market does tend to have the same effect as repeatedly washing, ironing, folding, cleaning and dusting superfluous objects in our homes: demotivation and inertia.

In other words, it’s time to KonMari the residential real estate market, and get back to basics.

We already know that this market is endlessly cyclical, and that we are currently in the phase of that cycle commonly known as a “buyers’ market”, with a few local exceptions. We also already know from previous experience what to do in such circumstances to achieve the best results in the medium to long-term:

If you are a seller, for example, no amount of wishing will change the fact that there is currently an oversupply of homes for sale and that there will be downward pressure on prices until that oversupply is absorbed - however long that may take. In order to sell, you must thus ensure that your home offers more value for less money than competing properties, and that you appoint a really good agent who can communicate this fact to as many prospective buyers as possible.

If you are buying or planning to buy, for yourself or as an investment, the fact is that now is a good time to do so, no matter what your friends, family or work colleagues may think. Prices are under pressure, serious sellers are negotiable and the banks are keen to approve home loans at reasonable interest rates. If you make a move now, you will be in a much better position a few years from now than those who are hanging back until buying is “fashionable” again.

Similarly, if you want to upgrade to a bigger and more expensive property, this is also the time to do so. Whatever price concession you need to make on the home you are selling will be far outweighed by the concession you stand to gain on the property you buy.   

Now we just need to clear our heads of all the conflicting information that is currently draining our energies and holding us back from actually taking these actions. Here’s to feeling a lot better as 2019 progresses!

News from previous months