Selling your home can be extremely arduous and stressful, but it’s essential to realize that it is also a very stressful process for buyers. Despite the highly personal nature of the transaction, like it or not, the home you are selling is a product. That product represents what will become the center of the buyer’s life, so it must be presented in the best possible way to maximize your market size and selling price. Appealing to the largest possible number of buyers, and packaging your product to maximize it’s perceived value can greatly enhance the chances of selling, as well as attracting bigger dollars. Even in a slow real estate market, or perhaps especially in a slow market, “staging” your home can greatly increase the prospects for sale. Maximizing the perceived value of your home will maximize the number, size and quality of offers you receive.
While it is a very difficult thing to do, accepting that the sale of your home is a business deal and not personal will better enable you to view your home through someone else’s eyes, and view the process in a calmer, more rational manner. If you find it is too difficult to be objective on your own, hire a professional with staging experience to give you some tips, and perhaps even do the work for you. There are hard decisions to be made with regard to how best to dress up your home for sale, and how much to spend to make needed modifications. Without the assistance of a professional, it is difficult to know which changes will provide a good return on your investment. Some buyers want new homes in move-in condition and shun any work before or after they settle in. Other buyers are willing to, or even enjoy taking on home improvement projects. Either way, the less they feel they have to do after purchasing their new home, the more they will pay. This includes the perception of how much regular maintenance the home and property will require.
Here is an overview of key elements in effectively “staging” your home for sale.
Check all outlets and light switches to ensure they work properly
Check that security system is operating properly
Make sure there are adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test them to make sure the batteries are charged
You’ve heard it a million times before…..Kitchens & Bathrooms make a house…..and they can break it too
Replace dated or damaged counter tops, sinks, appliances, and hardware
Buy new solid, neutral color shower curtains, rugs, and towels
Make sure faucets do not drip and cabinets under sinks show no signs of water
Ensure that all drains work properly
Ensure that toilets are operating properly and do not run after flushing
Minimize - most homeowners have way too much furniture - less is more!
Display simple, solid-color linens
Remove family photos and dated artwork
Leave a minimal amount of frames hanging on the walls
Garages & Basements
Clean greasy or stained floors and walls
Where possible, clean water stains to eliminate perception of a water problem
Clean dirt, dust and cobwebs!
Organize stored items on shelving and de-clutter as much as possible
Before the house goes on the market, it’s often a good idea to have a home inspector come in so you can make repairs now vs. later. This may seem like an unnecessary expense because prospective buyers are almost always responsible for hiring an inspector before closing. The fact is, however, it’s usually only a $400 or $500 charge and it could potentially save you much more in repair charges at closing. In some cases, it may preempt the possibility of a buyer backing out of a deal because their inspector found some foreboding problem you were not aware of previously. Having a yard sale prior to listing your home to sell all of the clutter you removed from your home can offset this expense.
First Impressions: The exterior is the first thing buyers will see, and we all know about the importance of first impressions…..Think CURB APPEAL!!
Replace aging mail boxes and rotting posts
Update exterior lighting
Fences should be clean and in good condition. If not, paint, repair, or completely remove them
Paint front door and shutters in a distinct, but traditional color
Check for rotted trim or siding and replace
Power wash siding & decks
Check for pealing or aging paint and repaint if needed
Clean or replace tarnished door hardware
Power wash driveways and walkways and patch cracks and holes
Landscaping - trim trees and bushes, weed gardens, plant flowering perennials, edge lawn around gardens, driveways and walkways, and keep lawn mowed and weed-whacked at all times
The Living Space: Inside needs to be as homey and welcoming as possible, with minimum potential for turning off buyers.
De-clutter! Remove and pack excess clothing, decorations, utensils, etc.
Remove old or pealing wallpaper
Put a fresh coat of paint on walls and trim, stressing neutral walls and white trim
Solid, neutral colors on window treatments
Remove all personal items, including family photographs. Buyers want to envision themselves in the house, not you
Replace dated or tarnished light fixtures, especially chandeliers and sconces.
Remove excess furniture so buyers can walk through and perceive the space is large, not small and cramped
Replace old damaged furniture with new pieces that can move to your new home
Have carpeting professionally cleaned, or replace it with inexpensive new carpet.