From “For Sale” to “Sold”: Staging Your Home for the Perfect Buyer
When it is time to sell your home, there are certain tried-and-true techniques that can help get your home off of the market quickly. One of the most obvious, but sometimes the hardest to do, is staging your home. Staging your home is the fine art of showcasing the best aspects of your home in a way that shows less of you and more of them. It is setting up your home in a way that highlights the best features of your home, and where people can really picture their family living there. You can hire a professional to stage your home for you, but there are a few easy, inexpensive ways to stage your home to make it look great for its next potential owner.
You know the old saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression”? This is very true when it comes to staging your home. You want the first thing that the buyers see, hear, and even smell to leave a lasting positive impression. Before they even enter your home, potential buyers will judge your home by the yard and the overall outside appearance. Is your lawn well maintained? Trees and bushes kept under control? Does the house have a new coat of paint? Are the windows and doors clean? These are little details that make a big difference before they even step through the door. Another tip is to run your sprinkler 30 minutes before people are going to come by and see the house. This adds a little sparkle to your lawn that makes the house look welcoming. Other things you can do to the outside of your home include:
- Power washing the driveway and the sidewalk
- Mow the lawn, and plant fresh flowers
- Hang easy to read house numbers
- Make sure your mailbox is clean and upright
When they finally do step through the door, what is the first thing that they see? Remove clutter and keep it simple. The front entry way is a great place for flowers or neutral artwork. As they walk through the home, they will immediately begin to try to picture their family and their belongings in the house. Many professionals recommend putting away of pictures of your family, the huge deer mounted on the wall of your office that you got last winter, and anything else that really stands out and will distract the buyer from picturing their family there. This does not mean you have to leave every service empty however. Professionals recommend decorating with three different neutral items of different types, as it is visually appealing and not distracting. For instance, you can take down the pictures of your family reunion from the coffee table and instead put a small plant, a candle, and a coffee table book. Leaving out one or two “conversation starters” can be a great way to tell people about the area. Nautical themed artwork could be a segway into explaining all of the great fishing locations and water sports available in the area.
Having a lot of furniture in a room makes the room look small. Although you may love your super comfy recliner, your loveseats, and both of your rocking chairs, choose one or two to stay and put the others away. Let the new owners get an idea of how spacious the room really is.
When you finally decide which furniture goes in what room, arrange it in a way that is easy to maneuver around. In each room, put a piece of furniture that acts as a focal point at the wall farthest away from the entry of the room. Then, arrange other pieces around that. You want to make it easy for homebuyers to move through the room and then throughout the rest of the house. Keep symmetry in mind.
A gross bathroom, or even just a slightly dirty one, will turn buyers away from a house immediately. Invest in a new shower curtain, plush towels, and remember to put all of your personal toiletries away. Consider adding a subtle smell, like potpourri or a vanilla candle. Pedestal sinks are a huge hit with buyers, as they add an elegant and sophisticated feel to the bathroom. If it’s in the budget, and makes sense with the layout of the bathroom, a pedestal sink is a great upgrade to a bathroom.
One of the main factors that people consider when buying a home is the size and set up of the kitchen. Clear away all of the unnecessary clutter from the kitchen so people can get an idea of how big it really is. Make sure the kitchen is spotless; even hire a professional cleaner to do it if you have to. You can stage all day, but a dirty house is a dirty house and will turn homebuyers away like the plague. Don’t set yourself up for embarrassment by keeping your cabinets disorganized. People may ask to see the cabinet space, and having it neat and organized will make a good impression. The kitchen is a great place for information about the local area, such as when and where the local Farmer’s Market is, or how far it is from the local school or public park.
The master bedroom, and the bathrooms, should appeal to both sexes. Pick a gender-neutral color theme so that everyone who walks in can picture themselves in the room. People will also ask to look in your closet, so make sure those are also organized and picked up. Make sure that each room has a purpose. If you have an extra room that is just collecting junk and dust, organize it so that it has a purpose. An office, playroom, gym, library, a guest suite or art studio created from an extra room can really add to the value of your home. Take advantage of seemingly awkward areas, such as the alcove under the stairs, or a small breakfast nook and show off it’s potential. The more features that the potential buyers see, the better.
You may love your furry family member, Fido, but not everybody does. Make sure you put pets away, and more importantly, get rid of any odors they leave behind. A subtle scent of fresh baked cookies, or floral candles is a great way to add a pleasant aroma to the home and cover up any unwanted smells. Remember, you may be used to the smell but it could be overwhelming to those who enter. (If you know the homebuyers like dogs, however, a great selling point could be the close proximity to the local dog park!)
Your home is very personal, and very “you.” However, when you’re selling it, you want to focus more on them and less on you. Find the right balance between lived in but clean, organized and realistic. By following some of the simple saving tips, you can set your house up for the perfect buyer.