When a home is on the market, it is important to “stage” it before letting prospective buyers in. Although the structure itself is often the deciding factor, many steps must be taken to enhance your home’s features and increase the likelihood of it selling faster.
You want the overall feel to be clean, spacious and inviting. Here are some of the basics of staging:
First, clear away all debris and unnecessary objects. For example, if the items in a room are mostly packed away in boxes, put them in a rented storage unit. Make sure each piece of furniture looks as attractive as possible. Although buyers know they will be bringing their own items, less clutter allows them to better visualize themselves and their belongings in the home. It is also important to clear away as many unnecessary furniture items as possible. This makes rooms look larger. Prospective buyers will not be attracted to a room that seems crowded.
Take down family photos and personal items. You don’t want the home to look like yours … you want potential buyers to see it as theirs.
Patch and paint any unsightly areas on the walls. Remove dated wallpaper. If an entire room requires a fresh coat of paint, it should be painted white or a neutral color. Limit the number of wall hangings, photos and decorations.
Remove magnets, notes or photos from the refrigerator. Make sure the countertops in the kitchen are free of cookware, small appliances or other accessories. The same idea should be applied to bathroom counters and shelves. This makes the rooms look tidier, and prospective buyers are able to determine what they can put there. Be sure the toilets, showers, sinks and floors are cleaned thoroughly. Clear away as many bath accessories as possible, and place a set of coordinating towels on the rack.
Pack up and store as many belongings as possible. It is more affordable to pay for a storage unit for a few months than let a cluttered home stay on the market for several months. Consider having a yard sale or give unwanted items to charity. Make closets appear larger by decluttering and organizing them.
Keep in mind that potential buyers will look in closets, drawers and cabinets. If they are jam-packed with stuff, they may not think there’s enough room in the home for their belongings.
It is good to have an attractive piece of furniture or an accessory in each room as a focal point. However, try not to place furniture in front of windows. Be sure to clean the carpet in every room. If there are hardwood floors underneath, remove the carpet.
If drapes and upholstery are dirty, they should also be cleaned for aesthetic appeal. Wash all windows thoroughly. Consider renting a power-wash tool for the exterior sides of the windows. Leave a few lights on after dark. This allows potential buyers driving by to notice the home and visualize a warm-looking interior.
Walk around the home’s perimeter. Remove scraps of wood, building materials, garbage cans and any other unattractive items that may be considered clutter. If possible, store them in the garage in an area that is not prominent. Throwing them away, or taking them to a dump or storage unit is a better choice, since this allows more open space in the garage.
Climb on the roof to perform an inspection. Look for moss, dry rot and items clogging the gutters. Remove any debris in the gutters, and sweep the roof. However, if the roof has dangerous angles, it is best to hire a professional. Carefully check the condition of the exterior paint. Since curb appeal is very important in drawing buyers, it is important to have the home, trim and front door looking their best.
Look closely at the landscaping. Trim any overgrown shrubbery or trees. Plants should not block the windows. If there is any dead vegetation, remove it. Pull all weeds that are growing in planting areas, and place fresh mulch in them. Always keep the lawn cut, fertilized and edged. If there are unsightly potted plants, patio furniture items or barbecue grills, remove them from sight.
A few extra preparations must be made especially for viewings. To ensure prospective buyers receive the best image possible, follow these tips:
- Keep the thermostat set to a comfortable and appropriate temperature for the season.
- Have all overhead lights and floor lamps on during the viewing.
- Play soothing quiet background music from an FM station.
- Toss some coordinating accent pillows on beds, sofas and easy chairs.
While these staging tips enhance the home’s beauty, they should never be used to cover up major flaws or damages. To enjoy a higher likelihood of selling quickly, take the necessary steps to fix any major structural issues before worrying about viewings.