Staging Your Home To Sell
If you have been following this blog for the last few months, you will know that I have been talking about the upswing in the real estate market. The market has taken a decisive turn around and by all indications is making a rebound. It’s not a wild uptick, but a slow, and constant rebound.
If you are thinking about selling your home, or if your home has been on the market for an extended period of time, you should consider staging your home to make it more appealing to potential buyers. The difficult part about “staging” a home is to eliminate the emotional connection sellers have with the home and to try to visualize the home as a buyer would see it.
Buying and selling a home is undoubtedly one of the largest financial transactions most people make. It is important to utilize the skills of experts to maximize the benefit of selling your home. If you are selling a home, I encourage hiring a staging professional who can come into your home and make recommendations on how best to present your home. It can range from clearing clutter on your counters to bringing in furniture to make your home look more inviting and spacious.
It is critically important for home sellers to be able to let go of the emotions of their home and to present it in the best possible light. I remember showing a home to some buyers that I represented. The MLS listing has an agents note including indicating that there was a dog in the house but that he was friendly and would be in his crate.
The moment we walked in the door – and probably quite a while before hand – that dog was barking and growling as if to take our legs off. I have no doubt that if that dog got out, I would not be here today writing this blog. What was a perfectly friendly dog to the owners was an instant turnoff to the potential buyers.
The goal of staging your home is to make your potential buyers feel comfortable and invited. We want them to feel like they could live there, and not feel like they would be living in someone else’s house. There are several basic tips to help give the best presentation.
- The first one is curb appeal. Obviously you only get one chance to make a first impression and buyers are looking hard at the house as we drive up. That first impression can be a make or break moment. The lawn should be cut regularly with all the trimming done. Grass blown off the sidewalks and driveways. If the house is vacant or you will be on vacation while the house is on the market, make sure you have arrangements for a responsible person to take care of the yard.
If you have over grown bushes, especially close to the house, trim them back or get them out of there. Some seasonal flowers and mulch add much to the yard.
It’s also a good idea to power wash the gutters, driveway, patio, sidewalk if necessary. Again it gives the impression of neat and clean and well maintained.
I am also a stickler for burn out light bulbs both inside and out – light bulbs may not sell a house, but a burned out light bulb can be a turn off to a potential buyer.
2. The second issue to address is clutter. This is where a professional stager can be a big plus. After living with numerous things on the counters for umpteen years it is not going to look normal to hide all that stuff, yet that is exactly what needs to be done. Family pictures should also be taken down and replaced with more neutral photos or wall decorations. The simpler it is the better.
One area that is many times over looked is the closets. Most of us have far too many clothes cramped into the closets and one of the things that buyers are looking for are “spacious closets.” Regardless of how spacious your closets are; if they are jam packed with clothes, they will not look “spacious.”
If necessary, rent a climate controlled storage facility for a few months and move any unnecessary items in to it to give your home the look and feel of spaciousness.
Other areas that need to be addressed for clutter are the garage and basement. If you are not going to be using it for a few months, take it to the storage facility.
3. Another area that is often over looked is the odors that may be present in the house. Some real estate agents may encourage you to burn scented candles in your home. I discourage that for several reasons. The first is that many people are either allergic or sensitive to those candles and would not give a good impression. The second is that what smells pleasant to you may not be so pleasant to someone else. And the last reason is that it also gives the impression that you are trying to mask an underlying odor. My advice is to go clean and neutral in the odor department.
Cooking odors can linger in a home for a long time. If you are cooking with strong spices or other strong scents, try to neutralize the scent.
If you have pets, be sure they are clean and not contributing to the odor in the house. I remember showing a house to a young couple after reviewing the MLS data sheet. The house looked like a good option, but one whiff of the cat litter box sent both buyers and myself running – never to return.
Keep the odors clean and neutral.
4. The next area I would like to cover is repairs. Without a doubt homeownership is all about repairs, it never ends. But not having repairs in check tells the buyers that you are not up on things and they will immediately question what else might be wrong.
My suggestion to sellers is to hire a reputable home inspector to provide you with a list of everything noticeable. You can use that as a “to-do” list to tackle the repairs. You may need to keep your house off the market a little longer, but in the long run you will probably close quicker this way.
I also suggest that once you have the home inspection completed, let the buyers see it so they can see what was already done.
This is just a quick recap of what you can do to better prepare your home to sell. There are many, many other things that can be done. It is a great help to have an outside set of eyes looking at the home you may have lived in for ten years and no longer notice what needs to be repaired. I believe that hiring a professional staging person, or at a minimum having your real estate agent go through these issues with you can go a long way in selling your home.
As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, or simply to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.