You’ve made the decision to put your house up for sale and it goes without saying that you are hoping for a smooth and quick process that results in getting your asking price.
To ensure your home receives the attention it deserves there are techniques to give you an edge over other properties currently on the market. Aside from some small repairs that might need to be completed as part of your pre-sale preparations, consider home staging, the art of decorating a house to sell quickly and for top dollar.
According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, research shows staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than non-staged homes and sell for up to 17% more.
It’s important to realize that home staging is not the same as preparing your home for sale. With home staging, the focus is more on the aesthetics, such as design, organization and the overall appearance, as opposed to the functionality of certain things inside and outside the property. You want to present your house in a way that appeals to the largest audience.
Regardless of the type of real estate market you’re in, it’s a win-win situation. In a sellers’ market, staging can help foster the process along a lot quicker and bring you the maximum sale you’re looking for. In a buyers’ market it’s a smart idea to have that additional edge over the competition.
Benefits to home staging:
- You’ll think like a buyer – when you begin to set the stage you’ll start looking at your house the way a buyer would.
- De-cluttering and organizing – Cleaning shelves, closets and cabinets is a big part of home staging. You want a potential buyer to get the feeling of space. Plus, you’ll have to pack these things at some point so why not get a head start.
- Less time spent on the market –This is especially beneficial if you have a set date in which you need to be out of your home and into your new one.
- Helps to justify the asking price – If it’s a sellers’ market you most likely won’t have to haggle over the asking price. If the market is in favor of the buyer, it’s beneficial to not have to justify your asking price.
Setting the Stage Room by Room
Exterior – The outside of your home should be given the same attention to detail as the inside, especially since curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers see upon arrival. You want a positive first impression, anything that will draw away from that should be tended to. If the outside is pleasing on the eye, chances are that feeling of excitement will continue once inside.
- Survey the outside and make notes on the things that need some extra TLC.
- Areas like the lawn and bushes should be trimmed and depending on the season, potting some fresh flowers and plants will liven up the outside.
- In the fall, keep the lawn and surrounding areas free of leaves.
Living Rooms and Family Rooms –Two rooms families spend a lot of time in; they’re a place for gathering and entertainment, and what buyers will envision as they walk through.
- To ensure a good feel for the space, make it not only warm and inviting but spacious.
- Bring in neutral, warm tones; you can add things such as accent pillows to enhance appearance.
- Items that give off the impression of overcrowding should be removed; you want the room to breathe.
- Arrange furniture for the best possible flow; when people want to sit down and spend time in a room you know you’ve achieved your goal!
Kitchens – One of two rooms that hold the most resale value, the kitchen is another area people spend a great deal of time so placing extra attention here is key. Remember, even small improvements will have a big impact. If you must spend a little extra time and money bringing a room up to date this is the one to do it in.
- De-cluttering counter tops and remove any unnecessary items.
- To modernize cabinets consider installing a new set of knobs, or even a fresh coat of paint.
- Keep everything spotless; clean the kitchen area like the sale of your house depends on it.
- Leave the curtains or blinds open and make sure the lights are turned on; you want to leave the impression of clean and bright.
- If you have an eat-in kitchen set the table so buyers can envision themselves sitting down to a meal.
Bathrooms – The second of two rooms that will up your resale value, bathrooms should be up to date, immaculate and well lit.
- If any fixtures are outdated replace them with ones that are more modern and current.
- Hang towels that are color coordinated with your color scheme and consider placing some fresh flowers out; they look and smell nice.
- Scrub everything down, including windows and shower doors till they sparkle. You want it to look like a model home not one that was recently used.
Bedrooms – The goal for this room is cozy and comfortable. You want the room to appear spacious and again, neutral tones will help you achieve the look.
- Limit the amount of furniture to eliminate the space feeling cramped.
- Remove the bulk of the clothes you aren’t wearing from your closet; this will give off the feeling of a larger space. You’re going to have to pack them up anyway, so why not now.
- Consider upgrading your bedding; it’s something you’re going to take with you and will improve the look of your room while it’s on the market.
While these are just a few ideas to consider for each room, remember, the goal of home staging is to make money. Based on your time and budget you will be able to determine what improvements are possible. If you’re in a sellers’ market the amount of changes might be minimal; in a buyers’ market you’ll most likely have to do a bit more work. The key is to find the right balance which will in turn help sell your home as quickly as possible. That, and of course a great real estate agent!