If you’ve gone to a high-end open house, chances are you’ve witnessed the work of a “stager.” That is, someone who is hired to present the house in a way that resonates with potential buyers. Although this can be an extremely useful tool to entice buyers, it can also be very expensive—especially if the makeover calls for new furniture, appliances, or artwork.
If you decide that you’re ready to put your house on the market, but aren’t sure if you can spring for a stager, here are some simple and fairly inexpensive steps from Debi Benoit, of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. Real Estate, to make buyers fall in love with your property and get it off the market. Next
Think like a homebuyer
Walk through your home and imagine you’re seeing it for the first time. Does it have an open feel? Can you easily navigate the space? The set-up you’ve grown used to may seem stale to an outside buyer.
Consider moving the furniture around to create a different flow. Put any extra furniture into storage and move out the clutter – whether it’s an overabundance of kids’ toys or piles of scattered files in your home office. Too much “stuff” can create visual stress, and that’s the last sentiment you want potential buyers to feel. Next
De-personalize your home for open houses
You need to make the house feel friendly to other families. When buyers enter your home, they need to be able to envision themselves living there – a difficult task if family portraits and photos of children adorn every wall.
For scheduled open houses, put away some or all of your tabletop framed photos. It may seem bare to you, but will appear clean and uncluttered to house hunters. They’re much more likely to move on homes they can picture as their own. Next
Paint a new palette
The quickest and cheapest way to update a house and make it feel new is to paint it. Colors that you like and have lived with might not be neutral enough for potential buyers.
Consider a more subdued palette and then paint as many rooms as you can prior to the first showing. Normal wear and tear can take its toll on the walls of a home, and all of the window and door trim, so add a coat there, too. Next
Control the amount of light that comes into the home
Be sure to keep shades open in the living room and pull the furniture away from the windows to ensure the most natural light possible. In smaller rooms that are particularly dark, invest in a floor lamp or other artificial light source. Controlling light levels throughout the home will make it more inviting, and can even make certain rooms seem larger than they really are. Next
Spring cleaning, plus
This is the time of year we routinely give our homes a deep cleanse, but the spring cleaning is a little more involved to prep a home for the market. Roll up your sleeves, and put some elbow grease into it; it’s a good idea to do everything from steaming your drapes to washing your upholstery to getting your carpets and your tile and grout professionally cleaned. Your house will have a much fresher feel. Next
Consider a kitchen and bath update
This might seem daunting, but we’re not suggesting a complete makeover – just a little facelift. A new vanity, mirror and shower curtain may be all your bathroom needs for a little boost. In the kitchen, new cabinet pulls, a new coat of paint, and some new accessories will provide a welcoming feel. Next
Fix visible issues
That shutter or window shade you’ve been meaning to fix, or the holes in your walls from paintings you moved last fall, need to be attended to as you prep your home for potential new owners. Put yourself in their shoes and look for all the little repairs that need tending to, or risk letting them feel you haven’t cared for your home. Next
Optimize storage space
De-cluttering is a must, but also make an effort to combine, condense, or store your stuff so that it naturally fits in the living space. Clothes bursting out of closets, or kitchen appliances that don’t have a real home will give buyers the impression that their belongings won’t fit when it comes time to move. Next
Don’t forget the outside of the house
Be sure to give a little love to the outside of your home – with special attention paid to the entrance. New plantings, a new welcome mat, and maybe even a new color for your front door will give off a welcoming feel. Next
Create a welcoming atmosphere on open house days
On days when you’re hosting potential buyers, create a welcoming atmosphere that appeals to their senses. Play music (at a low volume) to give the home a calming ambience. Flowers will provide a pleasant and soothing scent.
Open a few windows if it’s warm enough to keep the air fresh. In cooler temps, adjust the thermostat to maintain a comfortable setting. With all you do, create a mood: that your home is your refuge. Back to the beginning
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