How To Stage Your Home To Get Top Dollar For Your Home
Time was many homes up for sale were either vacant or occupied by the owner’s possessions. That still happens, but savvy owners (often advised by savvy Realtors) know that a well-staged home often sells faster and for more than a vacant one. A recent study from the Appraisal Institute found that vacant houses sold for 6% less than occupied houses and stayed on the market longer. Here’s a point to remember: Once you put your home on the market, it is no longer your home, but is now a product in a competitive market.
So, what needs to be done? Who’s going to do it? And, who pays for it?
If you list your home for sale with Gratton & Associates, we pay upfront for a professional cleaning of your home, then we hire a professional stager to present your home in the best possible way. Our stager will meet with you and give you a to-do list–the steps recommended to present your home in the best possible light. Those steps may include:
Buyers have one thought uppermost as they enter your home–“Can I imagine myself living here?” So, everything from personal photos, religious references, political signage, knick-knacks, and sports equipment should be removed. Think of it this way: buyers need to see your home, not your stuff.
Painting walls a neutral color–beige or taupe for living spaces and a neutral green or blue for bathrooms–will freshen up a room and cover marks and scuffs.
3) Forward Into the Past.
Return all rooms to their intended purpose. That bedroom that’s now an office needs to be staged as a bedroom.
Many professional stagers insist that all furniture be removed. Not ours. But, since the general idea is to provide a light, airy, and roomy impression, a good idea is to remove about half of your current furnishings. Clothing, too.
Remember most buyers these days want a move-in ready home minus a to-do list. Repair squeaky doors, re-caulk a bathroom, fix broken railings, touch up chipped or smudged paint, replace broken fixtures. If it’s been on your to-do list, get it done now.
6) Look Under Your Feet.
Replace worn carpets. If you’ve got hardwood floors that are worn, consider refinishing or at least invest in an inexpensive new area rug for a quick fix that can disguise the look of old floors.
7) Look Up.
Replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches and outlets can renew a room. If your lampshades are dingy or your fixtures are dated, replace them. Just dusting your bulbs and fixtures can add more light to a room.
8) The Smell Test.
Many homeowners go nose-blind to odors they encounter everyday in their homes–pet odors, cooking odors. Pay particular attention to them. You might even consider consulting a neutral nose by having a friend come by for a smell test.
9) The Curb Appeal.
Curb appeal is Realtor shorthand for how your home looks on the outside at first glance. While we generally consider staging a house to be about the interior, the exterior is the first thing potential buyers see. So, outside, basic lawn care is a must, but staging should also include a welcome mat, newly planted flowers, perhaps a potted plant next to the mat. And make sure the house number is clean and easy to read.
Add some finishing touches inside. Fresh flowers in vases, a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter. Keep your nice extras in a closet so they’re ready to go quickly when your agent calls to say a buyer is on the way.
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