When deciding to put your house on the market, one of the most important things you will find you need to do is stage your home. If it’s not something that you thought of on your own, you can be sure your real estate agent will inform you of the importance of staging your home. Some agents recommend hiring a company to come in to professionally stage the home, others will offer advice and work with you to help focus on the most important areas to focus on. Since most often the sellers are the ones that end up putting in the time and effort, we will outline what is most important to focus on and what tasks are most important.
You have likely heard the phrase “boost your curb appeal”. Whether you heard it on one of the many home improvement shows on TV or read it in a home improvement magazine, the phrase emphasizes the importance of this task. Boosting your curb appeal cannot be dismissed. Keep in mind that when potential buyers start looking at available properties, they will often do a drive-by of the property before they even decide if they want to take the time look inside. You need to make sure the outside clean and eye-catching… you want to make the buyers want to go inside. To boost your curb appeal, be sure to complete these fairly simple but extremely important tasks:
- Replace existing house numbers with fresh, bold numbers
- Mow the lawn, pull weeds, plant fresh blooming flowers and add mulch to flower beds
- Power wash your siding, driveway, walkways and porch
- Repaint your front steps/front porch, as well as your front door.
- Add pots of fresh flowers around your front door
- Wash your windows
- Be sure your walkway or front steps are lit up well enough to not only be safe, but cast a welcoming glow to the area
Prepare to make your home sparkle and shine, from top to bottom. Start this project by first decluttering each room. Since your ultimate goal is to sell the home and move, take this opportunity to start packing boxes and moving them into storage. Remove personal objects that will not be needed in day to day life, along with off-season clothes and decorations. Remove furniture pieces that are seen as “extras”, such as end tables that are not needed and extra chairs that might make the space look smaller. Since buyers want to be able to come into your home and try to picture it as their own, pack away family pictures and personal knick-knacks taking up space on your shelves.
Once your personal clutter is cleared away, focus on dusting, shining your wood and tile floors, windows, faucets and cabinet hardware. You also want to make sure to remove grime from your appliances, freshen up your grout and dust your ceiling fans and light fixtures. Leave nothing left out. When a prospective buyer walks in, you want to make sure they see nothing but a bright, airy space. A space they can easily see themselves making their own. If they see dirt or grime, there is no way they will give it a chance to see the potential the home might have.
Once you have all rooms sparkling clean, consider small projects that might turn into a good investment. For instance, if your walls are dated or painted a color that won’t necessarily appeal to most people, consider repainting with a more neutral color. If your hard wood floors are looking a bit worn, consider having them refinished. If that is not an option, invest in area rugs to add a pop of color but will also cover any spots in need of care.
Consider removing small appliances, such as a coffee pot or toaster oven from your counter, and add a vase of fresh flowers instead. Add throw pillows to you living room chairs and sofas to add a cozy look. Replace any blown out light bulbs, and if the rooms are still a bit dim, consider adding new, fresh lighting. Make sure your curtains are washed and dust free, and open your blinds to let in as much natural lighting as possible. Move your heavy living room furniture away from the walls. This “floating” look can help make the room larger, while creating a cozy space that invites conversation.
Most sellers want to see their home move quickly once it’s put on the market. Following the above suggestions, along with any additional suggestions that your real estate agent has, will help to facilitate the sale by catching the eye or your potential buyer. If you don’t have the ability or the time to follow the advice of your agent or do any of the work yourself, professional stagers can be hired to handle the task. Either way, a home that is staged correctly will bring out the home’s best features and show buyers how much potential the home really has.