Q. Does it matter how I stock and organize my fridge and pantry before showings?
A. With so many other concerns to address when preparing a home for sale, you might think that the appearance of your refrigerator and pantry shelves is relatively insignificant. But it does matter.
Buying a home is such a major investment, said Julie Stevens, a real estate sales representative with Bond New York in Manhattan, that “any conscientious buyer is going to open every closet, every cabinet and every appliance.”
That’s why “you need to make sure those spaces are organized just like the rest of the home,” she said. “And that they’re clean.”
The refrigerator and the pantry should be stocked, but not overflowing. “It shouldn’t be so crowded that you can’t see anything,” she said, “but also not barren.”
And do whatever is needed to avoid any odor in the fridge or freezer, she said, which would be a big turnoff for buyers. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator, add boxes of baking soda and get rid of any pungent leftovers.
“You don’t want your home to be known as the apartment with the smelly fridge,” she said.
Sarah Hayon and Stacey Platt, who own DwellWell, an organizing company in New York that often helps clients prepare their homes for sale, emphasized the importance of having a clean refrigerator and a pantry stocked with a moderate amount of food.
As Ms. Hayon said, “We like to fill the fridge with healthy snacks: nothing too high-end and nothing too processed.”
Sellers might also want to stock bottles of water and fruit that could be handed out to people viewing the apartment, she said.
Ms. Hayon recommended that sellers “curb their condiment-ia,” as she put it, by disposing of half-used bottles of vinegars, oils and sauces. Ms. Platt added: “You shouldn’t have more than one of each thing: it should be a streamlined example of things to keep in the pantry.” For instance, she said, “If you have a lazy susan for oils and vinegars, you shouldn’t have 20 vinegars on it.”
After you’ve culled extraneous bottles, group similar items together. You might also want to put products in matching labeled bins. That way, Ms. Hayon said, “there’s structure within the pantry, and everything looks neat and clean.”
That is, unless your home is near a notable supermarket, like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Fairway, Ms. Stevens pointed out. Then you may want to emphasize that proximity by leaving the food in its original containers.
“If a potential buyer is looking through your home and sees a label from one of those stores,” she said, it might prompt them to ask if the store is nearby. And “that could be a huge selling point.”