Get it Staged! Get it Sold!

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Get it Staged! Get it Sold!Most real estate professionals will tell you, effective home staging is vital in a challenging market. Now, more than ever, home sellers need to understand the importance of preparing your home for the real estate market. Not only can staging net you a higher selling price, but it can get that sale closed more quickly. The following tips may help get your property out of nesting mode and into financial asset mode.

First Impressions Count:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why with any staging, you should always consider ramping up the curb appeal. You can’t make a statement with your home’s interior if the potential buyer never gets out of the car.

One thing every seller can do to increase curb appeal, irrespective of their budget, is clean and de-clutter their yards and porches. Make sure the lawn is freshly cut and nicely groomed or that the walk way is shoveled in winter. Of course, all debris should be removed, and unnecessary or out-of-place items should be put away and out of sight to give the appearance of a fresh, clean and welcoming landscape.

If there’s no room for painting the exterior in your budget, give it a good scrubbing. You’d be surprised just how much better a porch looks once it’s been thoroughly cleaned.

Of course, if there is room in the budget for painting, consider a nice, neutral color to appeal to the largest amount of buyers. Adding a warm, contrasting pop of color to the door makes a great focal point as well.

If you choose to landscape, keep it simple. A nice healthy lawn goes a long, long way when staging a home. Avoid overly ornate planting designs that will hamper a buyer’s ability to imagine their own tastes at play in your yard.

Finally, a few nice decorative touches like a hanging plant or a comfortable chair and table setting on the porch can make the entrance feel inviting, which is exactly what you want.

Clean, clean, clean:

Cleaning your home’s interior is one of the most impactful ways you can make your home more appealing to buyers. And it won’t take a second mortgage to do so either.

Rent a steam cleaner and shampoo the carpeting throughout your home and scrub hard surface flooring like the sale depended on it–because it just might.

Polish the furniture, wipe all mirrored surfaces so they sparkle and clean every room as if your boss was coming to stay for the weekend. An open, airy home free of clutter helps you draw attention to the home’s best features and shows your property in its best light.

Keep in mind that potential buyers don’t want to see themselves living in your space. They want to make the space their very own. So help then out. It’s all too difficult for buyers to see themselves in the space if there are signs of your day-to-day life strewn about. Remove mail and excess paperwork from surface areas. Make sure all of the trash cans have been emptied and keep all clothes and laundry put away and out of sight.

Pare Down:

Part of the de-cluttering process is getting rid of furniture and other items that another buyer might see as extraneous or superfluous in the room.

Take the opportunity to have a yard sale and purge your home of all of the large items you weren’t planning on taking with you once you moved anyway. Move any large pieces you’re keeping that overwhelm the room into storage and give away anything else you don’t want or need that takes up valuable space in your home. You want the place to feel spacious. The last thing you want is to have a buyer trying to figure out what belongings they’d have to get rid of in order to move into the home.

Next, you’ll want to bring in a handyman (unless you’re a do-it-yourselfer) to make any quick fixes necessary to polish up the home’s appearance. Patch up any holes or dings in the walls and surfaces. Repair that broken trim, those windows or light fixtures you’ve been meaning to get to. Any sign of disrepair for a buyer is a sign of potentially deeper structural issues within the home, which can quickly scare a buyer off.

As with the exterior, a nice paint job will go a long way to freshening the look of your home. The cost of painting your home is a fraction of the cost of a remodel and yet the value they bring to the home at sale time is not as far apart as you might think.

Again, try to select warm, neutral tones. Avoid bright colors that tend to alienate your buyer from an aesthetic point of view.

If you have distinctive trimwork, paint it a nice, crisp white as an accent. Otherwise, try a darker version of your wall tone to create a more subtle palette.

Beautify Your Bath:

The bathroom(s) in your home can often make-or-break the sale of your property. And when staging, you always want to update as much as possible. The bath and kitchen are often the locations that suffer most an more quickly from dating. Fixtures, cabinets and countertop finishes are often decade-specific that buyers might feel they’ve traveled back in time from the moment they entered the room, while you–the homeowner–don’t see a thing wrong.

The first thing you want to do, of course, is scrub all the soap scum and grime off of the tile and shower doors. Next,  replace broken tiles to give the room a clean look. Any dated colored tiles can be painted white for a nice, crisp look. Most paint stores have special tile paint perfect for the job. Subway tiles are back in a big way, so the look will seem modern and fresh.

Pedestal sinks are a stylish and inexpensive way of modernizing your bath. They offer an elegant, space saving alternative to the dated cabinet sinks popularized by the big box stores in the past 10 years.

Fixture updates are relatively inexpensive and also offer a big bang for your buck. But at the end of the day, a good thorough polishing to keep the reflective surfaces gleaming and bright is often all it takes to make the bathroom buyer-ready.

Kitchen Care :

Most experts agree, the updates to the kitchen are the most impactful you can make when staging your home. A clean, up-to-date, well laid out kitchen can truly seal the deal for a hopeful homebuyer and there are several ways, short of a remodel, that homeowners can spruce up their kitchens to attract buyers. Obviously, it goes without saying that every kitchen should undergo a good scrubbing before the home goes on the market. Washing down the walls with warm, soapy water will go a long way toward cleaning up the look of the room.

If a paint job is in order, try lighter colors like butter yellow or mint green to give it a fresh look. Get rid of any extraneous objects like handheld appliances and other countertop clutter to highlight the prep surfaces in your kitchen. Add a hanging plant and, perhaps, some tabletop displays (i.e. a nice glass fruit bowl with apples or pears or lemons) and you’ve got a clean, show-ready space.

No matter how you stage your home, keep in mind that clean, uncluttered spaces with furniture placed to accent a natural, open and airy traffic will make a much better impression on any potential buyer than the lived-in look.

Best of luck!

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