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, also known as The Staging Diva, shares 5 top tips for getting a house ready to sell:
1. Make sure that showing appointment isn’t just a drive-by
Just because there’s a showing booked on your home doesn’t mean the potential buyer will actually go inside. Imagine you’re a home buyer and your real estate agent has 10 houses to show you today. When you drive up to what could be your dream home, you see a broken railing and children’s toys strewn across a weed-filled 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 not only attracts potential buyers who happen to be driving by, it also helps draw prospective buyers into your home once they already have a showing appointment booked with their agent. When a property looks unkempt, it scares off potential buyers (unless they’re looking for a tear-down at a rock bottom price). To enhance curb appeal:
• Cut the lawn and ensure fallen leaves and weeds are removed. Keep walkways and driveways freshly swept.
• Add planted urns or hanging plants to the entrance area.
• Repair or replace any obvious defects to the front door/hardware, mailboxes, railings, address sign or lights.
• Move garbage and recycling containers from the front of the house or tuck them neatly in a garage or shed.
• Pressure wash the exterior and decks. If necessary touch-up up paint.
2. Stash your keepsakes and keep your home clutter-free
De-cluttering is essential, especially when you remember that many people move because they feel too crowded in their current homes. Your treasured collection of decorative plates, figurines or stuffed animals will look like clutter to most potential buyers. Tackle one area at a time so de-cluttering 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’s worth the effort. Try setting a timer for 60 minutes and it will no longer seem like an endless task. Consider that any time you spend now on this task will make packing and moving that much easier.
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 scaring buyers away with a To Do list
You don’t want potential buyers focusing on one flaw after another during a showing. No one wants a list of projects or problems to deal with when they’re buying a home. You want them to fall in love with your home and imagine themselves living there not thinking about how much less they should offer you because of everything they’ll have to do.
Try to be very objective and do a walk through to spot problems. You might want to ask a highly critical friend or relative to do this for you because when you live somewhere too long you become blind to the problems.
Look for chipped paint on the door frames or scuffs on walls that need touch ups. Glue down any peeling wallpaper.
Ensure all electrical outlets and light switches have un-cracked covers. Repair or replace broken tiles, 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
White walls often look cold and sterile, unless you warm the room up with accent colors and patterns. 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. A feature color in one room can be repeated as an accent in the others, through vases, artwork, throws or decorative pillows.
Bring life to a neutral decor with cut flowers or a potted orchid for example.
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 hang something on the wall where an old picture hook happens to be. Position art so that the center is 60″ up from the floor. Make sure the size of the piece is 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 might offend 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 home buyers. 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 Voice of Possibility Group Inc. which operates Six Elements Home Staging and the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. An entrepreneur for almost 25 years and author of several guides, Debra has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and trained over 7,000 home stagers worldwide. Visit StagingDiva.com for additional tips or to find a home stager in your area.
*Living room staged by Staging Diva Graduate Red Barrinuevo, Redesign4more Home Staging & Design Solutions.