When it comes time to sell your home, one of the areas people always want (and need) help with is staging the house for sale.
With all of the details that require your attention, it can be a little intimidating.
As with all aspects of real estate, I like to simplify things and reduce stress levels for my clients. So here are some tips on things you can do to make your home much more appealing to prospective buyers. I will start with the cheap or free and move toward the larger and sometimes pricier projects.
1. Clean everything. There is a saying in this industry that “I can sell anything but dirty”. It is absolutely true. Dust, cobwebs, smudged windows or mirrors, and other general dinginess will turn a ready buyer away as fast as anything. Take the time to wipe down everything from baseboards to windows to the ceiling. It is the single cheapest thing you can do to keep a buyers interest.
2. Deodorize. While you would think a thorough cleaning would cover this, it may not. If you have lovable furry pets, kids, or even just keep your home closed up most of the time… chances are your house is full of odors you cannot smell anymore. Your buyers can though, and it will make them want to hurry to get out of your house. Febreeze, plug in scents, and open windows are your friend.
3. De-clutter. If it is not necessary in the room, remove it. Pack it away and preferably put it in storage.
4. Depersonalize. Remove all family pictures, most art (you can keep a tasteful piece or two out to “tie the room together”) and all of your knickknacks. It is difficult for a buyer to picture themselves living in their new home with the current owners personality visually represented at every turn.
5. Rearrange (and remove some) furniture to create open space and flow through the home. It makes the home appear larger and more aesthetically pleasing.
6. Turn on all the lights. If the room still appears shadowed, add more. Brightly lit rooms are welcoming.
7. Clean out and organize your closets and cabinets, and leave them open. Storage space is always a premium topic with home buyers. Seeing a lived in home with open storage space sends the message that your home has plenty of space for their stuff.
8. Create a welcoming entrance. A colorful doorway with fresh flowers and a nice welcome mat are all that it takes.
While we are on entrances, think about curb appeal. Power wash the walk, driveway and siding. Cut the grass and trim the hedges. Freshen up the mulch around trees and shrubs. Plant some flowers or at least put some potted plants on the porch.
9. Paint. All rooms should be freshly painted in soft neutral colors. Make it easy for the potential buyer to picture any color scheme/ decoration they want. This will also have the benefit of making the place look fresh and clean.
10. Floors and Carpets. If your tile, linoleum or wood floors are in decent shape clean them and get a nice shine on them. If not, get out your checkbook and look into replacing them. The same goes for carpet. A professional shampooing is the minimum. If that doesn’t do it you may get away with a bleach and dye fix. If you still have discoloration, replace the carpet. People look closely at the floors and even if they don’t make them walk they will negotiate price based on them.
11. Update your appliances. Stainless sells. New clean appliances sell.
12. Lastly, make the home look ALMOST lived in. Set the dining room table. Leave ONE magazine or book on the coffee table. This can be a little tougher to pinpoint, but you know when there is just enough out when you see it.
This is not a complete list of everything you can do, and you may have noticed that some areas are not as specific as you would probably like. The reason for this is every home is a little different, and every one calls for its individual look. If you want a clearer idea of how it should look, stop by an open house at a couple of your local builders. They pay professional stagers to make their model homes look just so.
An even better solution would be to hire a Blue Ribbon Team Realtor, and have staging advice be part of the service you receive. We also have fee based staging services available.