Staging spotlights your home's best features, giving buyers a way to imagine themselves living there. It all starts with curb appeal.
- Yard Work
The outside of your home is the first thing people see. The grass should be cut, edged, and fertilized. Bushes, trees, and shrubs should be pruned. Get rid of any lawn ornaments, toys, and bicycles. Colorful flowers around the front add to the appeal.
Once you've conquered the yard, focus your efforts on the inside. Clutter takes up space, and space is what sells. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics. By displaying only the basics, your home appears larger and more desirable. Rent a storage unit for the larger pieces of furniture and knick-knacks.
Closets should also be clean. And don't forget cupboards and drawers. People will scope them out to make sure they provide adequate space.
- Personal Effects
Potential buyers should see spaces where they can picture their possessions. Remove family photos and anything hanging on your fridge. Make sure all clothing is tucked away from sight. In bathrooms, clear counters of cosmetics, and hair products. It may feel odd to exist in your home without these personal touches, but remember, you're providing a buyer a way to visualize their new home.
Clean — and not just the floors and counters. Pull out all the stops. Dust the blinds and fans, clean out your refrigerator, scrub baseboards and get in the corners of your ceilings. A clean home is a sold home!
A few healthy, well-placed plants and flowers can add life and freshness. Space them out so as not to clutter any one area. Place a vase full of big, bright flowers in the center of your kitchen table. Make sure there are no odors other than the light, positive ones you deliberately placed. A deep clean should take care of any lingering smells, but be sure to clear out your trash bin before showings.
- Patch and Repair
Home staging is a good time to tackle the tiny nicks, scratches, holes, and other impurities that signal neglect to buyers. Start with a melamine foam eraser pad and go room to room, removing any scuffs from walls. Keep an eye out for any areas that could use a little TLC, then spackle and caulk as necessary. You may need to do some paint touch-ups too.
- First Impression
The first thing a buyer sees when they walk up to your house is the front entrance. Remove any seasonal decorations, which can date a house in both pictures and during viewings. If you have a front stoop, power wash it. Then add a touch of hominess with a potted plant or two, provided they're in perfect condition (a dead or dying plant will do you no favors).
- Light It Up
Dark rooms are sad rooms. Open the blinds on all the windows. In addition to letting in more light, it will make rooms seem bigger. Turn on all the lights in your house for showings, including lamps and closet lights. This will make your home more welcoming and save buyers from stumbling around, figuring out which switches turn on which lights. Make sure all light bulbs match.
- Rearrange Your Furniture
You want there to be as much open, walkable space as possible. This helps buyers navigate the space and helps them better visualize their own furniture in each room.
Statistics from the National Association of Realtors support the effort of home staging. Only 6% of agents said staging had no impact on buyers’ decisions.
Your agent should be able to help you make specific changes that will add value to your home and entice potential buyers. Don't take offense at their suggestions. Their job is to sell your home quickly and for as much as possible.
Annette K. Sullivan is a real estate writer and home stager who spends her free time in her garden that she has filled with native blooming plants. She is trying to break her Labrador retriever of a bad bee-eating habit.
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