If you plan to sell your home, it’s important to make it as visually appealing as possible to attract potential buyers and get the best price possible.
Making sure your home looks its best is called staging. Taking time to stage your home can make the difference between a quick sale and having a dwelling that lingers on the market, forcing you to drop the price. A HomeGain survey of real estate agents in 2012 found that DIY home staging could yield a 196 percent return on the investment.
“As far as what is needed, it depends on the house,” said Gary Kent, a real estate agent in San Diego, CA. “Ideally, it should look like a builder’s model home, but rarely will you hit that ideal. Clean your house. Get rid of excess stuff if it’s too crowded. Depersonalize the house. If you have family photos everywhere, get rid of them.”
When people walk into your home, they won’t feel good if it’s crowded with furniture, said Chicago, IL, psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of “A Happy You.” Giving your house an open appearance “brings about a positive energy, a positive perspective about the house,” she said.
If you have pleasant music playing when people visit, it will improve the buyer’s mood, Lombardo said. “How you feel makes an impact on your buying decision.”
Even the way the house smells is important.
“You can have a beautiful model home, but if there is a foul odor, people will leave,” Kent said.
Staging can be done by yourself or with the help of professionals. The advantage of using professional stagers is that they bring an objective eye, Kent said.
A professional can quickly size up what will appeal to and repel buyers. For example, you might love your old recliner because it’s comfortable, but other people will look at its worn fabric and see an eyesore. Walls that are painted unusual colors, soiled carpets and clutter on countertops also should be avoided.
Consider using self-storage
Shirin Sarikhani, a home-staging professional in Seattle, WA, said less is more when it comes to making your home appealing. It’s a good idea to put large pieces of furniture into self-storage units so that potential buyers can visualize their own possessions in your home.
You might enjoy using your treadmill or stationary bicycle, but don’t count on buyers to share your appreciation for exercise equipment. Even a large room will seem tiny if it contains too many chairs, tables and lamps. Boxes on the floor are an absolute no-no.
Stuffing everything in your garage isn’t a good solution, because then you end up with another cluttered space. That could scare away hobbyists who plan to people use the garage as a workshop. Let people see the garage as it was meant to be used.
“The more open space you show. the better it is,” Sarikhani said. “You have to do whatever you can to make sure they can visualize the space.”
Check the exterior
If your home doesn’t have curb appeal, potential buyers might never look inside. Creating curb appeal can be as simple as trimming the lawn and removing children’s toys from the yard. If you’ve failed to maintain your landscaping, hire a gardener to prune trees or reseed the lawn.
If your home’s exterior needs a new coat of paint, the cost will be well worth it, as long as it brings you a buyer and the price you’re seeking. Be sure to tidy up the home’s entryway. If the foyer is an obstacle course of shoes, umbrellas and jackets, many buyers will end their tour there.
Clean your home
If you’ve ever considered hiring a professional crew to do deep cleaning, now is the time to do it. Make sure that the crew cleans the windows and goes into all the difficult spaces homeowners tend to skip, such as underneath sinks and beneath furniture.
If your home has special features, make sure you display them well. Don’t obscure the view of a beautiful fireplace with an armchair.
Finally, if you’ve been putting off home repairs, call a contractor or a handyman before you put your home on the market. Don’t frighten away potential buyers with a loose front porch railing or a wooden deck that’s missing boards. To get the best price, make your home is the kind of dwelling you’d like to buy.
Photos courtesy of The Romanski Group, Flickr/RealEstaging, Flickr/Staged4more, Flickr/Elyaqim Mosheh Adam