Every home Seller wants their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. In order to give yourself the best chance of this happening, you need to take extra steps to get your home ready by home prepping, and then home staging. It’s all about careful planning and knowing how to spruce up your home that will send home Buyers scrambling for their checkbooks.
Below are some simple steps on how to prep a house, then stage it, and this combination of effort turns your home into an irresistible and marketable home. Implementing every single one of these prepping and staging strategies will ensure your best chance of getting top dollar for your beautiful home, no matter the size, shape, location or age. These home staging and prepping tips are for all properties from the studio apartments to the million dollar mansions:
The first step to preparing a home for sale is to let go of your emotional attachment. Selling your home is a business transaction. Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Picture yourself handing over the keys and the garage door openers to the new owners. Say goodbye to every room. Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Home Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you do not want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they cannot do that if yours are there. You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.” You want to avoid a Buyer evaluating the kind of homeowner you are. This will distract from the home Buyers purpose of being there – to buy your house.
People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it. If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away? Remove all books from bookcases. Pack up those knickknacks. Clean off everything on kitchen counters. Clean and pick the backyard. Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use. Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway. De-cluttering is the biggest essential strategy in home staging.
Home Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out. Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means Neatly stack dishes. Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way. Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction. Line up shoes, just to name a few.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and neatly put them in the garage or storage. This is another critical strategy in home staging. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
One of the most effective things you can do as a home seller, especially if you've lived in the property for a long time, is doing the main professional inspections before putting your home up for sale: a Whole House Inspection, a Pest Inspection and a Roof Inspection. Then complete all the recommended repairs found. This removes all "surprises" that can happen during the future escrow period. PLUS, its an amazing "marketing perk" your Realtor being able to say the home has already been inspected and repairs completed. Go to INSPECTIONS for more information on inspection details.
Otherwise, if you don't do inspections, make repairs that you are aware of that will allow home to show at its best. Fix leaky faucets. Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.” Replace burned-out light bulbs. Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. Patch holes in walls. If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now. Bed spread kits and pillows make bedrooms pop.
Wash windows inside and out. Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. Clean out cobwebs. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Vacuum daily. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Bleach dingy grout. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
Walk up to your front porch as if you were a potential Buyer and open the door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you? Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Make sure window coverings hang level. Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz? Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If a home buyer won’t get out of their car because they don’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get them inside. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Mow the lawn. Paint faded window trim. Trim your bushes. Add a potted plant or two to give some color, even if they are fake plants. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number. Your curb appeal should make the potential Buyer go “Wow.” Be a home Seller that makes that first impression count.
Now that you have prepped your home, consider getting it staged. Home staging is about illusions. It’s how David Copperfield would sell a house. It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it. It’s about more than preparing the house for sale. Staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it’s all about dressing the house for sale. It’s about adding the small details: the lipstick, mascara and, for simplicity, a stunning, single strand of Tahitian pearls.
Home stagers bring in a vast array of items to spruce up the house. Here is a small sampling of items professional stagers often use to dress each room. How they are utilized is limited only by the creativity and vision of the stager.
The idea behind staging is to allow rooms to show themselves. For example, the kitchen is the focal point of any home. Here are some practical tips for making that space sparkle:
Bathrooms are essential to dress well. Bathrooms should look open, airy and delightful. A common decor is to add baskets filled with spa treatments such as:
The back yard needs staging, too. For patios and decks, bring plants and potted flowers, and add additional color by setting the picnic table with bright, plastic dinner plates.
Home staging prices vary depending on where you live and the local demand for professional home staging. Coastal areas and large metropolitan cities where home staging has been prevalent for years command higher prices. Some real estate agents help sellers stage the home themselves. Most listing agents agree that some sort of staging, whether its little accents here and there, or a full boat hiring of a professional home stager, makes a difference on a potential Buyers perspective while walking through a home.
Contact Grace Lee if you have any further questions or real estate needs.