If you are trying to sell your home, presentation is key. Everyone wants to sell their home quickly and for top dollar and staging is an integral part of selling a home.
First impressions are not just important in real estate, they are critical; and just a few simple changes can make a huge difference.
Think like a buyer. When you begin staging your home for the market, you need to look at the home as if you were a buyer. This is critical to your success, so before you begin, you need to disassociate yourself from your house and think of it as you would any other product you are trying to sell. You need to think like an outsider, the buyer – after all, that’s who, will hopefully be living there before too long!
De-Personalize. Remove personal pictures and artifacts. You don’t want your buyers to be distracted―you want your buyers to picture themselves in your house, not you and your family. Take down any potentially controversial items, such as political or religious items. This could turn off a whole lot of buyers and potentially cost you the sale of your home.
Remove Clutter. Fortunately for some, this may not be an issue, but if you’re like most people, you’ve accumulated a lot of “things” throughout the years you’ve spent in your home. Clutter is distracting and can make any home appear smaller. This may be a good opportunity to get rid of some things (donate, sell, etc.). Clean everything off of the kitchen counters. Get rid of knickknacks, books, papers, etc. If you simply can’t part with your beloved items, then pack them away – neatly out of sight, or consider renting a storage unit.
Clean and Organize. It goes without saying – having a clean home is one of the most important parts of staging. It’s also important that you keep your house clean from top to bottom. Here is what I recommend.
- Wash your windows, both inside and out
- Wash and wax the floors
- Get the carpet cleaned and vacuum daily
- Keep wastebaskets empty
- Dust not only the furniture, but ceiling fans and light fixtures
- If the appliances are included, make sure they are clean
- Bleach dingy grout
- Replace or remove worn rugs and towels
- Make sure your house smells good! Open the windows and/or buy some room deodorizers. Odors are one of the main reasons people pass on a house!
- Make sure your dishes are stacked and arranged nicely (coffee cups all facing the same way)
- Put out some fresh flowers
- Alphabetize your spices
- Keep your counters clean and free of clutter
- Keep your closets neat! Hang clothes in the same direction and line up your shoes
Make Minor Repairs
- Patch and paint any holes in the walls
- Replace or repair cracked tiles
- Fix any leaky faucets
- Fix doors, cabinets and drawers that don’t close properly or squeak
- If you have rooms that are painted off colors (pink for girls room, blue for boys room, etc.), consider repainting them with a neutral color
- Replace burned-out light bulbs
- If your cabinet or drawer knobs are old or out-dated, replacing them can be a relatively inexpensive facelift
- If your rugs, towels or bedspreads are worn and faded, consider replacing them. You can always take them to your new home!
Check Your Curb Appeal. Don’t forget about the outside! This is even more important than the inside, as if it looks a mess on the outside, your realtor will never get them inside!
- Keep the sidewalks clean and clear
- Mow the lawn and edge regularly
- Trim the bushes
- Even if you don’t have the money to paint your home, painting faded window trim can make a big difference
- Perhaps it’s time for some new landscaping – but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Putting out potted plants or flowers (grouped together) is easy and inexpensive.
- Make sure your house number is visible from the street
Now it’s time to step back and scrutinize. Put yourself in the buyers shoes…Drive by your house. Does it look good? Do you want to go inside? Once inside, stand at the front door and look in. Is it welcoming? Do you want to see the rest? Take a look at each room objectively and imagine how it looks to a buyer. Ask a friend to critique your house – letting them know that you won’t take it personally. Sometimes an outside opinion can be worth its weight in gold.
Don’t have the time? Consider hiring a professional – or ask your realtor. Many realtors specialize in staging homes for sale – and may even kick in some of the cost, if it will help sell the home. You can begin by searching on Google in your city: “Home Staging Professionals, Orlando”
Either way, it is important and relatively easy to turn your home into an irresistible and marketable home!
Remember, you only have one chance for a first impression!