Staging Your Home To Sell

  • Appearance is Everything

    Many real estate professionals feel that potential buyers make a decision about a house within moments of walking in the door.  That said, first impressions are crucial, but in these challenging financial times, it’s more important than ever to make informed decisions on what to spend our money and time on. To that end, I’ve gathered some info for you to help you determine what to do and what not to do when preparing your home for sale. First, trim overgrown bushes and mow the lawn. Lay fresh mulch or sod, pull weeds and clear fallen leaves, especially on the walkway into the home. Create a warm, inviting feel by putting out potted flowers on the front porch or steps. And place a welcome mat outside the front door. If it's wintertime, make sure the walk is completely shoveled. If the house needs painting, have it done. But if a new coat isn't needed and the paint looks dingy, consider power spraying the house. Photo Credit: davidChief
    Make It Less Personal
  • Make It Less Personal

    When preparing your home for viewing, think about who will buy it. “Once we determine whether the home is more suitable for a single professional, a young couple, a young family, or possibly, a foreigner looking for a pied à terre, we can stage the property far more effectively and successfully," says Hadas Dembo of Mise En Scene Design, a professional home staging service in New York City. Most stagers and brokers suggest "depersonalizing," or removing personal items, from your home. Buyers want to see themselves in a property. As Dembo warns, “if a home is too neutral, it may not offend, but it likely won’t entice. In today’s market, a sellable property must be a more than a good investment. It needs to have a strong emotional draw.” Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Clear The Clutter
  • Clear The Clutter

    Limit tchotchkes to a few in each room. Also, store away items that look old or worn. Prospective buyers will see the basement and attic, so make sure things are stored and organized, or put them into storage. Gianna Botbyl, a realtor in Montclair, N.J., advises, “clear out the basement and attic as much as you can … more people are converting these spaces into living areas, and you want potential buyer to envision that." Don’t forget the closets and cabinets. Also, consider a professional house cleaning. Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Embrace Natural Light
  • Embrace Natural Light

    “If the house does not get a good amount of sun, remove the curtains but leave the trims,” Botbyl says.  Also, leave the lights on even during the day to make the home as bright as possible, and make sure all light bulbs are working. Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Tone It Down
  • Tone It Down

    Try viewing your rooms with a neutral eye. Brightly painted rooms may suit you, but they aren't for everyone. Botbyl says, “If the room colors are too extreme, tone it down to a neutral color like beige or white, as they are the most universally appealing.” Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Make Repairs
  • Make Repairs

    Botbyl advises hiring “a home inspector to identify problems in advance, especially those that might be readily apparent, including leaks, faulty electric, cracked steps and so on." Rectify these issues before a buyer can notice them. Photo Credit: cdessums
    Mind The Details
  • Mind The Details

    Remove, and ideally replace, any worn carpeting or area rugs.  Display fresh flowers in the kitchen or dining room to brighten the space.  And remember to remove pets from the home during the viewing. Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Use Furniture Wisely
  • Use Furniture Wisely

    Some home stagers recommend buying new furniture. Instead, try moving your existing furniture around, then remove a few pieces to give the appearance of a larger room. Sometimes, just a subtle switch can do the trick. Another alternative is renting furniture. Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Update the Kitchen & Bath
  • Update the Kitchen & Bath

    Kitchens and bathrooms are crucial to selling a home, so you might be encouraged to re-do those rooms. Before considering a renovation, try cleaning the cabinets thoroughly and experimenting with new pulls and knobs. Also try adding a fresh coat of paint before investing further. “Making a bathroom pop can be as simple as adding brightly colored towels," suggests Botbyl. Photo Credit: kitchendesigner
    Fix the Floor
  • Fix the Floor

    You'll often be advised to finish the wood floors in your home before putting it on the market. But this is difficult to do when you're still living there. Focus on the entryway, since it's first focal point someone will see when visiting your home. If its floor is worn , refinish that area with a hand sander. Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
    Enhance Empty Rooms
  • Enhance Empty Rooms

    “Some people feel anything in a room is better than nothing, but I disagree," says Dembo. "If the furnishings don't enhance the space, the space might be better left empty. Leaving one or two rooms empty allows potential buyers to imagine themselves in the home: one person might want a home office, another a media room.” Despite any advice you are given, look objectively at the exterior of your home and each room – what would you think if you were seeing it for the first time? Photo Credit: Hadas Dembo
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