Selling your home can sometimes be an overwhelming task, but with a little bit of work and re-organization, it can become a smooth process that puts extra money in your pocket. According to a study done by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that were staged stayed on the market 78% less of the time as compared to homes that were not staged. Staging your home doesn't require one to be an interior decorator or have an "open wallet" to quickly re-design and tidy up your home. It's not as difficult as you might think. The main purpose to staging is to sell your home quicker by making it more attractive to prospective and well qualified buyers. Staging helps to increase and generate more showings which increases the chances of selling your home at a higher price. Staging your home helps the listing agent to advertise your home more effectively by being able to take better pictures and creating much interest in your home.
Many sellers have emotional attachments to their home and the way it's decorated. Staging will require a seller to break this emotional bond in order to live with a lifestyle, or space, that they may not necessarily be accustomed to. During the selling process, a seller will have to look at their homes as being an asset that needs to be marketed effectively in order to maximize equity.
Take a good look around your home (with an unbiased eye) and imagine that you're a potential homebuyer. Take a note pad, walk around your home and write down all the things that you find unappealing about your home – whether it's paint color, cleanliness, tidiness, furniture or damage. It's likely that these things will be unappealing to a buyer as well. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask a family member, neighbor or friend to make a list as well. Ask your realtor as well.
In the real estate business, FIRST IMPRESSIONS are everything. Specifically, the first impression that a buyer has when they drive up to your house can make or break the showing. If a buyer drives up to your house, and the home shows signs of neglect (uncut grass, dead flowers or trees, chipped paint, broken windows), a buyer will walk into your home wondering what else is wrong and start looking for defective items and things to nit-pick.
However, if a buyer drives up to your home and the grass is green, freshly cut, free of weeds and bright colorful flowers dominate the flower beds, a buyer will have a positive outlook upon setting foot inside your home. They won't be looking to pick apart your home. With that being said, keep your grass green and healthy. Keep the grass cut. Pick weeds from your lawn and flower beds. Plant flowers that add color to the front of your home. Keep flower beds mulched. Paint any wood trim that is faded or chipped. Repair any wood rot and add a fresh coat of paint to your front door.
Even if you think your house is clean, go ahead and clean it again. It's amazing at the things you'll forgotten to clean if you go through your house again. Every desk, countertop and end table should be dusted and cleared. It's ok to keep small decorative items such as vases. One of the most important rooms in your home is the kitchen. Be sure that your kitchen looks immaculate and that you could eat off the floors! Clear your countertops of all unnecessary items as this makes the kitchen look bigger. Buyers will look inside your oven, so make sure it's clean. Buyers will look inside your fridge, so clean your fridge and throw out anything that may create unpleasant odors. Buyers will look inside your pantry, so keep it clean and organized. Clean your windows to remove fingerprints.
If you have pets, make sure your home is free of any lingering pet odors. Some sellers are immune to noticing these odors, so ask a neighbor whether they can smell any pet odors. Keep any cat litter clean. Buy some air fresheners and place one on each level of the house. Make sure the air fresheners aren't over powering. De-personalize yourself from your home and remove personal items, including photos. Buyers can sometimes feel intimidated by personal effects and think that they are "displacing" a happy homeowner. Buyers want to be able to visualize their own belongings in the home.
Do you have extra furniture or do certain rooms look cluttered? You may have more furniture than you think. Remove furniture items that aren't necessary to have. It helps to open up space - in bedrooms, living rooms and even the garage. It makes rooms look bigger. Buyers who have an interest in your home, try to visualize their things in those spaces – exactly what you want them to be doing. Making space in the kitchen, living room, bed room, bathroom and laundry room are priority.
If some of your flooring, lighting and wall colors are out-dated and dull, you may want to consider updating them. Try as best as possible to keep wall colors neutral. Bright and wild colors may be appealing to you, but they aren't appealing to most buyers. If you have wallpaper, you should consider having it removed and paint a neutral color - such as gray, light blues or beiges. Repair any drywall damage. Give your baseboards a fresh coat of paint. Re-caulk any trim and baseboards that may have split. Check your shower and caulk where necessary. Refreshing the look of your home will only increase the chance of a sale, and more importantly, put more money in your pocket!