staging tricks & Small investments
Your home has one chance to make its first impression. Here are some easy, mostly inexpensive staging tricks. that are a must do before your house hits the market. Try looking at your house “through the buyer's eyes” as though you’ve never seen it or been there before. Any time or money invested on the following will bring back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.
Remember: How you arrange a house for sale is very different from arranging a house to live in. It’s a lot of work, but the more work you do to prepare your house for market, the more “sweat equity” you gain!
STAGING TRICKS THAT ARE EASY AND INEXPENSIVE OR FREE :
- De-Clutter! This one is simple. De-clutter everywhere; inside and outside. Personal things are a big distraction. You want the buyers to be able to visualize their own belongings in the house. Buyers typically spend less than 10 minutes in your house for an average showing. You don’t want the buyer’s precious minutes in the house to be spent looking at your personal photos and trinkets; you need them to really see and take in as much of the house and yard as possible. Buyers often have a hard time remembering house details after a showing. You need them to focus on the house, not your kid’s photos and drawings, or your souvenirs from around the world.
- Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to just 1 or a group of 3 items.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. Buyers love counter space – show them as much as possible!
- In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes etc., in one small group on the counter preferably in a decorative container. Put toothpaste and toothbrushes in a cabinet if possible. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only and arrange neatly on a rack.
- Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our own personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger. The bottom line... less is best. If it's old, worn or dated, you should put it in storage. If you need room to store extra possessions use the garage or rent a storage unit.
- Get rid of extra electronics that require extension cords or power strips. Cords and strips indicate to buyers that you don’t have enough outlets for modern living, plus they are unattractive.
- Take down pictures or objects on walls. Only leave select fine art. Patch and paint if necessary.
- Make sure insides of closets are presentable. Buyers will open them. An overstuffed closet indicates to a buyer that there’s not enough storage in the house.
- Make sure all light switches work and that there are no burned out light bulbs.
- Remove unnecessary window coverings. The last thing home buyers want to see is a dark home with all of the windows covered.
- Clean windows inside and out. Buyers want to know and see the view they will have from every room - don't make them look through dirty windows.
- Deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms. These are two of the most important rooms in the house. Just cleaning up isn't going to be good enough - you need to deep clean: scrub all counters, floors, cabinets and fixtures in the bathroom. Make sure all grout is free from grease and dirt.
- Take care of odors. Absolute deal killers are cigarette or pet odors. Don’t smoke in the house. Keep your pets clean and outside as much as possible. Keep cat boxes spotless and tucked away. Also, keep cooking odors under control. Avoid cooking smelly meals, especially before showings. Often a little lemon oil mixed with water in a spray bottle used lightly will add just a bit of freshness without overpowering the house.
- Clean out the basement. This is a big one. A clean empty basement, even if unfinished, will make the buyer think of more living space and can double the amount of “living” square footage in your home.
- Clear the exterior: Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans into garage or other discreet area. Get rid of discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc.
- Remove everything lying around the yard. Put things like sports equipment, boats, trailers, small planters, flower pots, charcoal, toys, etc. into storage, or organize neatly into garage.
- Prune overgrown bushes, shrubs and trees. Everything in the yard needs to be trimmed, watered, manicured and alive. Remove dead plants. Cut back plants and trees that block windows.
- Check gutters and roof moss and dry rot. Make sure gutters are swept and cleaned. This is an absolute must in Oregon. Clean gutters will keep your basement dry and make a very positive impression on the home inspector.
Some sale preparation takes a little more money and effort. However, small investments can real large rewards. Having a well maintained, beautiful home will give buyers confidence and bring about a quicker sale.
STAGING/REPAIRS THAT COST SOME MONEY BUT PAY OFF
- Make as many repairs as possible. Dripping faucets, broken windows, damaged walls and doors, etc., should be repaired. The more things that a buyer sees that need repair, the more they will ask themselves: “What else is broken or doesn't work?” A well-maintained home will inspire confidence from a buyer and from their home inspector.
- Paint anything that needs paint. A fresh coat of paint on the outside or inside is an excellent way of freshening up your home. Be sure to use neutral colors.
- Seal and paint unfinished basement floors and walls. This is an easy way to make a basement seem more like living space and feel like a clean and more inviting area. Add some furniture and a carpet, a desk, or a TV. You might even start hanging out down there yourself!
- Professional clean carpets, drapes, and furniture. This is especially important in homes with pets or smokers.
- Refinish your hardwood floors. Hardwood floors can be a huge plus for buyers unless they look like a 20 year old basketball court. It may be a great investment to have them all refinished - but keep in mind that it's not a simple weekend project.
- Install new fixtures, counter tops, or enclosures. Install new fixtures, countertops, or enclosures. In the bathrooms consider new fixtures or countertops and perhaps redoing the shower and tub enclosures. Nothing turns off a buyer like a scummy shower. If new fixtures are not in the budget you may want to consider having them refinished.
- Add some color. Place annuals in planters or plant them around the exterior. Buy fresh flowers to put in vases around the house.
- Mulch. Place bark chips or mulch in all planting areas to give a freshly landscaped appearance.