It’s no secret that getting a house ready to sell is a challenge. In today’s market, having a home that is clean, tidy, and has curb appeal is not enough. Your home needs to be beautifully staged to help buyers understand how it fits their needs.
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Home staging has gone from an uncommonly used tactic to one of the most common ways to ready your house for the market. In a 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors®, thirty-two percent of buyers’ agents believe staged homes increased the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by one percent to five percent. Twenty-two percent of sellers’ agents believe staging increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by six percent to 10 percent.
Home staging professionals can advise you on things to do and some may as part of their service, provide neutral, room-appropriate furnishings to outfit your home for primo marketing. If your timeline is tight, find a stager who will take care of everything for you. However, if you have time and are willing to organize yourself, you don’t have to hire a stager. You can DIY your home’s staging.
The key to getting this done is planning. Take at least three months prior to putting your house on the market to prep it. Create a schedule for every item on the staging list. Identify experts as needed, floor cleaners or window washers for example who can tackle the hard to do items. Make sure to allow an adequate schedule to get things accomplished. With a longer timeline, you won’t feel rushed and will make sound decisions that will help your home show better. If you’re not sure what to do, consult your Realtor® who can help you determine what needs to be done to get your home ready to sell.
What are the essential things to do to get your home ready to sell?
- Declutter. Face it, you’re probably like the majority of us and have months of magazines, scads of recycling, half-empty bottles of laundry detergent and many other things collecting in the corners of your rooms, cabinets, garage and closets. Presenting your home for sale means tidying up all these things. Pitch non-essentials. Ditch duplicates. Pack up plates you’re not using and allow room for things to breathe.
Rent a mobile portable storage unit and have it parked in your drive; then fill it up with all the things you will not need to have in your house as you’re putting it on the market.
Clean out the garage too. If yours is a two-car garage, wouldn’t it be great for the buyer to see two cars parked in it rather than 20 boxes of Christmas decorations and 10 years’ worth of paperwork?
If you have kid’s toys decorating every surface, find attractive baskets to sort and contain toys. Maybe this is just the time to purge toy bins of toys which are broken, or no longer age appropriate for your kids.
It takes resolve, but you can do it. Tackle decluttering in 15 minute increments every day for a few weeks before you put the house on the market. Before you know it, you’ll have a tidy space.
- Organize your closets. Arrange your clothes according to color and hang each type of garment together. So, all shirts together, all pants together, etc. Box up and store excess clothing you’re not likely to need during the time your home is on the market. Leave shelves decluttered, and feeling open. Your buyer can now see the size of the closet, not all your clothing.
- Remove personal items and photographs. Depersonalizing your home may seem strange to you, after all, your home reflects you. And that’s exactly what you want to avoid. Your home needs to be visually empty of you and ready for anyone to envision themselves living there. So, put up your family reunion photos, your diplomas, your doll collections and other knick-knacks. Accessorize with groupings of objects clustered in odd numbers, like three pillar candles for example.
- Present a neutral color palette. Accent color walls were in for a moment. Not so much now. If you have a house with multi colored rooms, get your rooms buyer-ready by repainting. Choose a neutral color like light tan. Again, it’s not about what you like, but what the buyer will want in their new home. If you need color inspiration, visit area new home builder model homes and take note of the wall colors used there. While you’re at it, if you need to, slipcover your furniture to coordinate with your new room colors.
- Remove bulky, or excessive furniture. Who doesn’t love a comfy, broad couch with recliners and chaise or a multi-part sectional? Your buyer. That’s who doesn’t love your giant sofa. If your living room is 10 x 15 feet and you have a 7-foot-wide couch that is 4 feet deep, your space may be dwarfed by the couch. Stow the sofa in the portable storage unit for the sales period, keeping the love seat and a few chairs. Arrange them in a pleasing grouping to showcase your living room’s dimensions and cozy appeal.
- Update your bed covers to neutral, calm colors. Get your master bedroom presentable by using linens and coverlets which are in the same color palette as your walls. The bed will merge with the room and help the room feel larger. And while you’re at it, if your window coverings, curtains or drapes are tired and old, remove them and install simple neutral window covers like Venetian blinds or Roman shades color coordinated with the room.
- Pay attention to hardwoods. If your floors are scuffed, dented and dinged, get a professional to refinish them. If that’s not in the cards, get them professionally cleaned and apply a product to give them a glow. If you have too many area rugs, roll them up. It's all about making all your spaces appear larger. So, if you have an area rug that pulls walls inward, roll it up and stash it for now.
- Steam clean tile floors. After a few years, the grout in your tile floors can be grungy and yucky. What a turn off. Get a professional to steam clean and scrub your tile floors to get them back to a bright, new appearance.
- Clean the carpets. Very few buyers like used carpeting. If your budget allows, install brand new carpeting. If it doesn’t and your carpets are only lightly soiled, have them professionally cleaned. The money you spend on your floors will come back to you.
- Wash the windows. Sparkling clean glass lends a finishing touch to any room. If any windows are cloudy from broken seals, consider replacing them.
- Implement counter clearance in the kitchen. Too many appliances, loaves of bread or groceries overloading your kitchen counters will make your kitchen seem smaller. Go for the streamlined look. As you pack up excess items from cupboards, stow appliances not regularly used in them. Keep your counters clean and orderly so buyers will think, “Hey, this kitchen has lots of counter space!”
- Make your front door appealing. Use your superpowers to view your front door or entryway as a buyer. Take note of what seems tired and give it a facelift. Repaint your front door if it’s faded, chipped or cracked. Railings too. If there’s room, stage the front porch with attractive outdoor furnishings, and potted flowers. If there’s no room for furnishings, a few attractive, flowering plants will do just fine.
- Tidy up the yard. Clipping bushes, pulling weeds, edging lawns, trimming trees is regular yard work. If you haven’t kept up with this, get going and prune excess away or call in the pros to get your yard spiffy. Put in fresh mulch and plant seasonal annuals for color.
If you have a fire pit, clean out the ashes (same goes for an inside fireplace) and arrange logs as if you’re ready to light the fire. Group comfortable chairs or benches around the fire pit. Buyers will envision themselves sitting by the fire, toasting marshmallows.
If you have a patio or deck, pay special attention to it. Create a seating grouping and accessorize with potted flowering plants.
Creating an inviting area for a chat might just cause your buyers take a moment, sit down, enjoy the day and choose to buy your home.
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