Whether you are selling your home by yourself or have a Realtor working with you, here are some best practice ideas for staging your home to be sure your asset gets the best market price.
The first thing people see isn't even the front door. Their eyes travel from the house numbers to the front curb to the top of the roof and back to the door. Everything they take in needs to say that this home has been well maintained. There are several things that can be done to help make this a reality. First is to make sure the that the house numbers are easy to see and read from a distance. Next be sure the landscaping is well manicured. Line the pathway from the sidewalk to the front door with pavers, bricks or low-voltage lighting. If there is a mailbox in front of your home, upgrade it, or at least freshen it up a bit with some paint. Speaking of paint, a fresh coat of paint on the house goes a long way to preserving the home.
Adding flower boxes under the windows brightens the entryway, and shutters can liven up the windows. Upgrading light fixtures, in particular to LED lights, brightens the entryway at night and adds a sense of security.
The Small Fixes:
All those small fixes that have been on the to-do list are now needing to be done. Just like painting on the outside, painting on the inside is a great way to brighten the home. Now, though, is not the time to go wild with the color pallet. Use neutral colors, the idea is brighten the home, and allow the potential new owners imagine the color schemes they would like to have once they move in.
Before painting, you'll need to patch any holes, and don't forget texture. When you can, it is best to make small patches and try to blend the patch in with the rest of the wall.
Check all of the baseboards, counters, cabinets, windows tubs and showers for cracked or pealing caulking. Then re-caulk the areas that need it.
Even if you have a home that is over 15 years old, unless it was built in the late 1800's to early 1900's, there are just dated looks that don't look good. For example, wood paneling. It was all the rage in the 60's and 70's, but not so much these days. Linoleum flooring is also a look that is dated, and can be updated with tile, laminate or hardwood flooring.
If you have hardwood flooring, check to see what the wear and tear looks like. Depending on the damage, you may not need a sander and simple gloss treatment maybe all you need.
Weather stripping and insulation is fairly easy to do and makes a huge impact if you have drafty home. If your home doesn't retain heat or cool air very well, these two simple fixes will make the house a comfortable place for prospective buyers to look around.
Windows, the eyes of a home. If your windows are streaky and its not because of how you cleaned them, they may need to be re-glazed. While your looking at that, check to see if there are any major scratches or cracks that need to be fixed.
If you have a deck, now is a good time to restore it. A fresh coat of sealant or paint on a wood deck can help make it more attractive and inviting. While you're there, make sure the lawn isn't patchy, a little fertilizer can go a long way.
Staging is all about balance. Balancing what you have and what the potential buyer has or will have in the space. Take out everything but the essentials. Having too much makes the home cluttered and gives the impression of not enough storage and space. If you don't have anything in the space, you give them a blank canvass. The risk you run with that... some people just need a little something to see the big picture.
While you are paring down, be sure to keep spaces organized. Closet space is a big area people love to look. Have a few items hanging up, but don't stuff the closet to the gills. Again you want to give the impression that there is enough storage and space for things to go. If you have need to store items elsewhere besides your closet, look to some of your furniture that can be doubled as dresser.
Another area is the kitchen. Make sure you don't have too many pots and pans in the cupboards.
If you're still living in the home, you want to be sure to have your valuables locked away. Having a security safe for your valuables and any medications you have is a good idea.
Switch to white lines. The reason hotels use white is because it suggests cleanliness. You want prospective buyers to feel like they won't have to bring in a hazmat team once they have the keys.
Throw pillows. A simple yet very functional way to both convey comfort, and hide small imperfections. You don't need to spend a fortune on them either. Spend the money on the filler, and then find the colors or patterns you want at the discount retailers.
Accessorize in threes. Think simplicity, elegant and sparingly. Whether its on a bookshelf, counter top or shelving, threes help you keep it simple.
Remove personal effects. You want the potential buyers to see themselves living in the home. If they see your memories there, it can make it difficult for them picturing they can make their own.
Make the views shine. Clean open windows that show off the outside world and let the light shine in to the home make it brighter and warmer.
Have a pre-showing checklist that includes: wipe counters and sinks, vacuuming, removing clutter, straightening linens, opening curtains and turning on lamps. Have this for everyone involved in the selling of your home. This way at a moments notice your home will be ready for viewing.