Home stagers can make a number of small changes to a property that can dramatically shorten the time it spends on the real estate market while also increasing the final sales price. Home staging expert Debra Gould shares her five favorite tips for getting a house ready to sell:
1. Reduce drive-bys
Imagine you’re a homebuyer on a house-hunting mission. Your real estate agent has ten properties to show you on a Saturday afternoon. When you drive up to what could be your dream home, you see a rusted-out mailbox, broken handrail and children’s toys strewn across an un-mowed lawn. You don’t have any time to waste, so you’re probably going to say, “Let’s move on,” skipping the showing appointment entirely.
Curb appeal helps draw prospective buyers into your home. If the outside of a house looks unkempt, it creates an impression that the property is not cared for. To enhance curb appeal:
- Ensure the lawn is freshly cut and that leaves are raked. In winter, snow should be shoveled from the driveway and walkways.
- Make the entrance more welcoming with a seasonally appropriate planted urn or hanging plant.
- Repair or replace any obvious defects. Often this is cheaper to do than a prospective buyer will imagine.
- Make sure the walkways and porches are swept clean and garbage and recycling containers are tucked away at the rear of the house or in the garage.
- Ensure the exterior gets a good pressure wash and the decks are scrubbed clean. It’s a good alternative to painting. Once everything’s clean, you might discover it doesn’t need to be repainted at all; perhaps just a touch-up will do.
2. Stash your keepsakes and keep your home clutter-free
Your treasured keepsakes may look like clutter to potential buyers. It distracts them from appreciating the house itself and can lead home buyers to reject your property. De-cluttering is essential. Tackle one area at a time so the task isn’t so overwhelming.
You’ll probably have to go through each closet more than once to get its contents down to the absolute essentials, but it will be worth the effort. Try setting a timer for 60 minutes and it will no longer seem like an endless task.
If you’re having a tough time parting with things, rent a storage locker so you can keep your beloved items while you’re selling the house, and then have them delivered to your new address after your move.
3. Avoid wandering eyes
You want to make sure that little problems in a room won’t cause a potential buyer to focus on one flaw after another, thinking about all the work they’ll have to do and how much less they should offer you because of it. You want them to see the bigger picture and imagine themselves living there.
Do a walkthrough to spot these typical problems. Look for chipped paint on the door frames, which can be filled in with “white out.” Peeling wallpaper should be glued back down. Ensure there are covers on all electrical outlets and light switches, and replace any that are cracked. Repair dripping taps and moldy caulking. These little things make a big difference in the buyer’s mind!
4. Color is your friend when it’s time to sell a house
In most cases, white walls look cold and sterile. If you have to repaint a home’s interior or some rooms in a home, choose a pleasing color palette that allows each room to flow nicely into the next. All colors should go together.
Try to repeat one signature color throughout a home. Maybe the feature color in one room can be used as an accent in the others, through accessories or throw cushions.
5. Make a big impact with a little art
By strategically using art, you can enhance a home’s perceived value, draw the eye away from tiny flaws, give an otherwise uninteresting space a focal point and replace personal memorabilia.
Don’t just throw things on the wall where an old picture hook happens to be. Position art at eye level and use pieces that are appropriate to the size of the wall. Art with a large frame on a small wall can make the entire area seem smaller. Avoid religious art or anything edgy that could be offensive to some potential buyers.
These are just a few of the many things that can be done to improve your home’s appearance and to make it more appealing to homebuyers. While the steps can be time consuming, the results are worth it. A professional home stager makes the job much easier and can give you the specific steps you should take on your own. Stagers bring total objectivity and a creative eye to the process of decorating your house to sell. This increases your chance of selling your property faster and for more money.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould is the author of four home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more, visit www.stagingdivadirectoryofhomestagers.com. Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, www.stagingdiva.com. © Copyright Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.