I am finding that a lot of my clients are ready to move on, but their current house has to sell first. It’s a common dilemma these days. Many people need to relocate or want to build their dream house, but haven’t been able to sell their current house in today’s market. “Staging your home to sell” is the buzzword of the day for making sure a house stands out in this competitive market. Here are a few basic, inexpensive steps homeowners can take in order to stage a home to maximize its appeal to potential buyers.
The basics to staging a home to make it sell fast include getting it super clean, making a great first impression with curb appeal, de-cluttering all junk and personal items, and updating walls with a fresh coat of neutral paint. Are there any other inexpensive things that a homeowner can do to give them an edge over the competition? Plenty!
- The number one tip for getting a house ready to show – Clean, clean, and then clean some more! Nothing turns off buyers quicker than a dirty house. If they see a lot of surface dust and dirt it will make them worry that what they can’t see is in even worse shape. A house needs to shine from inside and out.
- First impression – there is only one chance to make a first impression so it has to count. The outside of a house has to be included when sprucing up. Trimming bushes, pulling weeds and planting a few fresh flowers will make a big difference. We also recommend that homeowners consider updating any old outdoor light fixtures or tarnished house numbers, and then top it all off by adding a new welcome mat.
- Declutter – It may be precious memories and treasures to some, but to buyers it is just clutter getting in the way of them being able to visualize the home as their own. Having a yard sale is a great motivator for getting rid of stuff. Once people start handing over money for old junk homeowners start wishing they had dug deeper in their closets for more stuff to sell. It also is a great time to get a jump start on their move and begin packing up the rest of their belongings.
- Some say blah, the professionals say neutral. The biggest bang for anybody’s buck will be a fresh coat of paint on the walls in neutral colors. Bottom line – Neutrals sell.
- De-personalize – which is a gentle way of saying once again to get rid of clutter. Family photos, religious statues, political items, and anything else should be removed that buyers might not be able to identify with.
- If there is a lot of furniture or big pieces overpowering a room – they should be removed. Furniture that is going to be kept should not be stuffed into the garage. That space needs to be open and clear as well! Homeowners should store excess furniture with family or friends or rent a storage unit. If they have any furniture to donate, some local charities such as Habitat for Humanity will haul it away for them.
- Any leaky faucets, torn window screens, cracked tile, etc. should be repaired along with changing outdated fixtures and anything else on the homeowner’s Do It Yourself list. Otherwise the homeowner may find more time than they want in that house to complete the list!
- Homeowners should go lightly when cooking. Showing a home is not a good time for the strong smell of garlic, curry, or fried chicken to be lingering in the air. Grinding a lemon or lime in the disposal will help neutralize stale odors and provide a nice, fresh scent.
- Heavily perfumed products like scented candles should be avoided. What reminds one person of a rose garden might remind another of an in-law they don’t especially like. Scent is personal. It’s best to keep it fresh, clean, and natural.
- Homeowners playing hide and seek with their clutter? Clearing clutter out of open spaces by jamming it all into the closets won’t work. Buyers always peek around and open the closet doors! An overstuffed closet will just make them think it isn’t big enough to hold all their stuff either.
Staging a home to sell can be inexpensive and straightforward if the homeowner will follow the basic steps of cleaning, fixing, decluttering, and keeping it neutral. Just keep in mind that less is more. More room for buyers to emotionally connect with the home and imagine themselves in it.
To get a house moving on the market, homeowners must be sure it is sparkling clean, clutter free, and with a fresh, neutral feel to it that welcomes everyone coming through the door.