Staging Your Home for Sale

Well before you’re ready to plant that “For Sale” sign in your front yard, there is work to be done to prepare your home for sale.

Remember how keen your eye was to every small detail and defect in the houses you saw as a buyer? Now, that door to your bedroom that never quite closed properly, or that leaky faucet that you never got around to fixing may be seen by a potential buyer with that same keen eye.

Start making the obvious repairs today – even if you don’t plan to sell until a year from now. These repairs can cost money and take time. Plus, fixing it now will allow you to enjoy the results before it’s time to move out.

If you plan on doing some improvements before the sale, the best place to start is where the buyers start: at your curb. Potential buyers base a large part of their decision on a property’s “curb appeal,” so make yours say something positive. That means a tidy front yard, a house with well-painted trim, an uncluttered driveway, and a clear, welcoming entryway.

Inside, the biggest return on your investment continues to be improvements to the kitchen, followed closely by improvements to the master bedroom. If you’re making these improvements shortly before selling the house, consider painting and decorating the rooms in neutral colors, which continues to be the most appealing choice to the greatest number of potential buyers.

In addition, start reducing the clutter throughout the interior and exterior of your home. When it comes time to show your home, less will mean more. Potential buyers don’t want to see how your closets overflow with clothes, how every room feels cramped with furniture, or how the yard is difficult to maneuver with that rusty swing set in the way. So, consider minimizing now; not only will these strategies make the preparation for showing your home easier, but these techniques will also make packing for your move faster.

Your agent can advise you on staging your home for sale or which items to stow in storage before listing your home. Additionally, you’ll also want to discuss with your real estate professional which items in the home you want to take with you – the heirloom chandelier in the dining room, the washer and dryer set you just bought last month – and which can stay behind as part of the home sale. 

Finally, here are a few quick tips and reminders for you prior to home showings:

  • Keep windows and floors clean.
  • Replace all broken or burned out lightbulbs.
  • Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.
  • Open draperies and curtains to let the light in during the showing.
  • Remove all unnecessary clutter from your attic, basement, and/or closets to better emphasize spacious rooms; consider storage or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items.
  • Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom.
  • Use air fresheners in light, neutral scents - don’t overpower the home! - to make the room smell pleasant.
  • Use small lamps instead of intrusive overhead lighting.
  • Depersonalize all surfaces; remember, the goal here is to help your buyer to envision himself or herself in your home, and your family’s photos or mementos do not contribute to that vision.
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from surfaces throughout the home.
  • Rearrange or remove furniture in a room, if necessary. As owners, many times, we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  • Outside, you need to trim, weed, and mow.
  • Clear patios or decks of small items.

Looking closely at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before will help you identify areas to improve. Any time or money spent on these items will likely bring you back more money in return and will hopefully result in a faster sale.

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