THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING THE STAGE – When the time comes to sell your house, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the emotional attachment you have for your home. Setting up your home to be an immaculate showcase that screams, “Buy me; I’m perfect for you!” to a wide range of buyers is both hard work and critical for success. I promise that it’s worth your time and effort.
CURB APPEAL – Starting from the outside…an often overlooked area of the “pre-listing makeover,” is the exterior of your house. Pressure wash sidewalks, railings and steps. Give a fresh coat of paint to doors and shutters. New door hardware is always great! Place potted plants near walk and the front entrance. Put out a new welcome mat at the front door. Be sure your lawn is manicured, planting beds weeded and mulched and hedges trimmed. Your home’s street view should draw buyers in wanting to see more!
KEY IMPRESSION POINTS – The curb appeal of your home is the first key impression point. Number two, three and four are the entry/foyer, the kitchen and bathrooms. Be sure to focus on these areas when preparing your house for sale…because the buyers will be as well.
DE-CLUTTER – Since you put a lot of time and effort into making your home your personal haven, furnished to make you comfortable and suiting your tastes, it can be painful to strip your home of all the things you’ve gathered to make it yours. Do it anyway! Pack away knickknacks, figurines and collections. Clear tabletops, bathroom vanities and dressers of all personal items. If you are still living in the house, gather all the items you use daily, place them in a basket and slide them under the sink or out of sight when you leave each time.
REPAIR & DEEP CLEAN – It’s of the utmost importance to present a sparkling, sweet smelling home in evidence of good repair. First patch even the smallest holes in your walls, then ensure that your walls and ceilings are sporting a fresh coat of neutral colored paint. You do not want to be remembered as the “house with the orange sitting room” by potential buyers. Next examine your floors. Ensure that hardwoods and tiles are in good condition. Carpets should be stain free and should not show wear. If necessary, replace carpets. At the same time, your Realtor can advise you on small upgrades which will instantly elevate a room’s overall appearance at minimal expense to you.
Re-caulk tubs, showers, and sinks. Bleach dingy grout. Oil all your home’s moving parts, ensuring that nothing sticks, squeaks or jams. Rest assured that every door will be opened and every drawer will be tried. Tending to the small things, presents the image of a well-kept home which is vital in a market trending toward newly built homes and demanding buyers.
DEPERSONALIZE/NEUTRALIZE – It is essential that prospective buyers can imagine themselves making your house their home. That is next to impossible when they are surrounded by family vacation photos and macaroni art. Neutralizing is key! And while you’re neutralizing the appearance, be aware of smells unique to your house as well. Strong scented products are more of a hindrance than help, pet smells are not buyer friendly and strong cooking odors may be offensive as well. With the help of serious cleaning, removing the source of the smell, mildly scented freshening sprays, solids and plug-ins and as much fresh air as the season allows most issues can be resolved. In some cases new paint and carpet are a must!
STAGING – The furniture in a room should suggest a room’s purpose, rather than filling every inch of floor space. Keep walking paths open and furniture simple. Removing extra leaves from your dining table will make your dining room appear more spacious. Renting a storage facility to house the overflow of unnecessary furniture will be worth far more than the price you pay for the rental. Storing your Lazy Boy can take your room from looking “lived in” to being full of potential. Ask your Realtor about consulting a staging company.
DYNAMIZE – The WOW Factor! This is not to be overlooked and can be as simple as fresh flowers on a coffee table, just baked cookies before an open house, plush towels and toiletries in the bathrooms and pretty throw pillows on beds and sofas. Adding WOW at a slightly higher level can include a pop of color as an accent wall and trendy artwork, mirrors and furniture. Creating a “special look” will help buyers remember your house.
WALK THROUGH – When you think you are finished, walk through the house with your Realtor. Follow the path that a potential buyer will take. Approach the home with a critical eye. Examine the house from the street. Be critical. Linger just inside your front door. Consider your first impression. Is your home fresh and sweet smelling; is it well lit? Make sure shades are drawn evenly and level with each other. Examine the arrangement of furniture. Is it open and welcoming? Have all personal effects been removed?
While these changes may seem daunting, rest assured that a few days hard work and necessary dollars upfront is often the difference of less time on the market and a higher sales price when you sell your home.