We’ve all seen a home that has made us wish to have that look in our home.  That is what your goal should be … to APPEAL!  Not REPEL!  Decorating to live and decorating to sell are very different approaches.  But, decorating to sell can also be informative and helpful in making your next home more comfortable to live in!  That is where a home staging professional can help you sell your home AND define your style.

It’s just logical that we grow accustomed to our home and no longer have an objective opinion about how it looks, functions or smells.  It’s home and that is all we end up caring about.  We have so much going on keeping up with all of the schedules that families have, that our homes fall on the back burner.

Another concept that sellers often fall into is: “I don’t want to spend any more money on this house, I just want to get out.”  Hmmm… that begs the questions, “what are your running from?”, “are you tired of caring for your property?”  I always use a term that business owners know to be true… “you often has to spend money to make money!”  This is imperative to understand.  Investing what is needed in your home to show your home has been cared for translates to buyers and the opinions they form of your home… ahem… their future home.

What to consider before you sell

1 – Using a Home Staging Professional. 

Stagers are able to view your home with clear eyes, have your best interest in mind and also map out the best ways to improve your home.

2 – Entry/First Impression

Wow! Is this an understatement.  What does it look like to walk up to the front door?  Does it look shabby, dirty, cluttered, or bleak?

Remember, you only have one shot at a first impression!

We’ve all been to homes we like and maybe don’t even know why, but it feels comfortable and inviting.

Revive the mailbox, front door, fences, etc. with fresh coat of paint will give buyers optimism that the rest of the home is updated and kept up.

3 – Functionality

Often we get used to how we’ve set up our homes and it wasn’t really planned, it just happened to land that way.  The best thing you could do is reconfigure a central message center and entry or mudroom.  Re-organizing before you move is an investment in your future.  It will help you get rid of things you are no longer really using and help you see your needs for your new home.

Planning a transition from one home to the next is key to smooth packing, moving and unpacking

4 – Clutter

Clutter… by definition is a confused or disordered state. None of us want that to be what people think of our house. Then you say, ‘but I have to live here’. There are many ways to improve the appearance/functionality of your home without losing your way of life. Change is difficult to take, but not being able to sell your home is even more difficult!

Clutter can be distracting for various reasons.  Too many personal photographs, knick-knacks, collections, books, or anything that becomes a focus of a room and cause people to focus on the photos and other items, not the room.  Are you selling your belongings and family or the home?

Depersonalizing is important, but doesn’t always mean eliminating Everything!  It just means intentional editing that allows buyers to see that real people live here and how they use the space.  Staging can identify or re-identify a space to be more purposeful and show at its best.

Kitchens with open shelves and other bookshelves should be showcased by following the rule of three. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases and pictures, and one-third empty.

A home office should appear spacious with a generic theme or décor so anyone can imagine using the space.  You also don’t want them wondering what you do or how much you make.

Parent’s with little ones have a different struggle, keeping their children occupied, but not allowing the toys to take over the room.  Keeping a laundry basket handy and empty will allow for hasty pick up and transfer to bedrooms or put the filled basket in your car when you leave!  Done, clutter bomb evaded!

5 – Smells/Odors

Wow! Is this an understatement.  Be careful what your home smell says about you… the homeowner.  If there is a specific odor that you’ve become “nose-blind” to then you are at risk for losing a sale.  Ask your friends or neighbors to give you an honest opinion.  Smells to be on the “nose” for are pet odors, stale or old air, mustiness, lingering food odors (fried food, strong herbs, fish or greasy food), smoke, and feet!  Yes, I said feet.  We walk around barefoot, have sweaty shoes/socks on fabrics, carpets and rugs.  Our shoes should be contained in a closet, but be sure to use powders and sprays to neutralize the shoe odor.

People will ‘smell’ your home and wonder what may be hiding that they cannot see.  They’ll question your ability to clean or care for your home.  Many ideas will cross their minds.  The goal is to eliminate all potential odor traps.

Clean your cloth furniture.  Our living rooms/TV rooms typically have the most cloth and the most potential for unwanted odors to be absorbed.  Carpets, area rugs are another place for odors to collect.

Kitchen odors come from garbage disposals, dirty trash cans, old spills down the side of the stove, etc., which are all easily cleaned.

6 – Kitchens

Kitchens and Baths sell homes!

For kitchens, there should be no more than three countertop appliances or clusters of items.  Cabinets should be emptied, shelves wiped and restocked in the most organized way possible.  Don’t think that people do not look into your cabinets.  THEY DO!  If there is no room or it appears junky, they leave with that impression.

Clean, clean, clean!  A clean kitchen even if it’s outdated will show upkeep and caring.  Often a new countertop will pay for itself at the closing because the price of the home is not diminished.

7 – Bathrooms

I’ll reiterate.  Kitchens and Baths sell homes.  Bathrooms that are dysfunctional, dirty, or in disrepair are just not a good thing.  It is important that plumbing work well, with no drips or pressure issues.  There are many inexpensive ways to improve functionality and style.

8 – Color Missteps

Today home’s need to appeal to a wide variety of tastes.  The ultimate goal is to provide relevant, modern colors without going overboard.  If you happen to love color, brighten your room with accessories, curtains and pillows. If you want to sell your house in a short amount of time and with minimum hassle, it’s critical that the color and decor is up-to-date and attractive, but not a turn off.

9 – Closets

Are you stuffed to the gills and barely able to contain your own belongings in your home?  If so, how can a buyer see the space available if it’s all taken up?  It shows them there isn’t enough room.  Be sure to leave your closets functional for you, but reorganized.  Keep only half a closet full of clothes and little or nothing on the floors of the closets.  Shelves should also be lightly filled.  Editing now makes for an easier move!  It’s all about pre-preparation!

10 – Outdated Décor

No one says you need to totally throw away your favorite items.  Your new home will love them if you love them!  However, when selling there must be a broad appeal and eliminating distracting themes and collections will allow buyers to see themselves in your home… ahem… their new home!

Mirrors are a fantastic way to improve the look of a home and help people “literally” see themselves in your home.  Too many mirrors will have an opposite effect, but finding strategic places to bounce light around the room and capture a buyer’s reflection and they can imagine themselves living there.”

11 – Worn surfaces and carpeting

If your carpeting or countertops are completely worn out, they will turn buyers away.  In order to hit top dollar for your home, it may be necessary to replace big ticket items.  Spending a few thousand on the front end on decent, neutral carpeting doesn’t make you lose money.  You will gain you that money on the back end. 

Cleaning carpets may be enough, but if the carpet has folds, it could potentially be stretched.  If the knap of the carpet is matted, most likely it should be replaced.

Countertops are tricky.  Depending on your home, a laminate with high design can be effective, but solid surfaces offer another mid-range cost option.

12 – Curb Appeal

Every single, little detail counts!

Trimming (trees, shrubs etc.), raking, edging, mowing, mulching, fences, mailboxes, dirty façades, anything broken, unpainted or unkempt can be distracting and create the first ‘mood’ that potential buyers have. 

Mulching your beds and planting flowers that bloom during the season make for a nice first impression. 

Pressure wash your exterior to brighten your home’s exterior, remove spider webs, wasp and other nests.

13 – Garage

Garages are so important because they are an extension of your home that can show buyers how important your home is to you and how you have probably cared for your home.  Disorganized, cluttered, and dirty garages are less appealing to buyers than those that are organized, tidy, and swept.  They don’t have to be spotless, but looking close to their very best. 

14 – Backyard and Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor spaces are a big selling point for many buyers and very popular today.  A nice, well-maintained, inviting deck, or patio is key. 

Inviting and appealing doesn’t mean you have to have a full blown set up with a deck, patio, etc., but it does mean you have to put in a little effort to bring life to a popular and desired space, with color, flowers and organization. 

Clean cushion and furniture, painting decking or the concrete, creating a beautiful outdoor space doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

15 – DIRT

Nothing turns off a buyer quicker than a dirty house!

One of the top mistakes of all is not cleaning every inch of your home and in the best possible condition. 

Sellers should go the extra mile to deep clean tile and grout and to clean or replace carpets.

“If your carpets are old and smelly, you should put in new and make sure you replace the pad!  It’s an investment in a quicker sale.

It is so important that you keep the home neat and clean and clutter free.

If it smells of cats, or other musty dirty smells, or the kitchen sink, counters, cabinets and refrigerator are filthy.  That is just a no-no and a deterrent to buyers.

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