Wouldn’t it be nice if you can just leave your home exactly like it is (save a good scrub down) when you are trying to sell it? After all, potential buyers know to look past everything they see, to visualize their stuff there and what they can do with the space. While this is one of the top pieces of advice given to the buying crowd, it is one of the hardest for them to follow. First impressions matter; they have a difficult time looking past what is. Purchasing a home is an emotionally charged process, and most who cannot see themselves living here right away will move onto the next prospect.
This is where staging comes in. It helps transform your home into a space that appeals to the widest set of buyers possible, a space that people feel more powerfully drawn to. While there are professional stagers who will handle everything for you, this may not be an option budget-wise. But, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive things you can do on your own that can up the appeal factor of your home significantly, which can result in a higher price and a faster sale.
Clean and De-Clutter
These two simple tasks not only cost next-to-nothing, they are the core foundation of your staging efforts. Clean every nook and cranny of that house—steam those carpets, give the exterior of your home, the sidewalk and driveway a good power washing, get rid of that grime on the bathroom tiles. Hiring a cleaning service may be a worthwhile investment.
Now for the clutter—get rid of it, get rid of all of it. A cluttered home is an uninviting home. And I am not am not just talking about junky stuff, like that pile of old magazines, but the hundreds of knick knacks scattered throughout the home, the exposed kitchen shelves packed to the brim with spices, coffee cups and dishes. Not only will a cluttered home turn off prospective buyers, it gives the illusion that you do not have a lot of space in your home, and that is not an illusion you want to create when you are selling a home. It is important to remember that too much furniture can also create a ‘’cluttered’’ feel. Look at each room carefully and see if anything can be removed to create a room with more space and better flow. De-cluttering may be a time intensive project, but well worth the effort.
Boost Curb Appeal
You hear about the importance of curb appeal so often, you may have tuned it out a bit. But, it is a worthy DIY staging project. Many people looking for homes do preliminary drive-bys. An unattractive exterior can take your house out of the running before they even step inside. Put some flower beds in the window. Get some colorful potted plants to line the walkway and/or place on the front porch. Paint or re-stain the porch if it is looking a little lackluster. If you have room, place a couple of pieces of furniture on the porch to create an inviting atmosphere. Get a new doormat and paint the door if necessary. Some solar lights lining the walkway is an attractive touch. Trim the hedges and grass.
Slap on a Fresh Coat of Paint
Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint in the staging process. It is especially important if your walls are of a questionable color that may not have broad appeal. You may be over the moon about your lime green bathroom, or Pepto Bismol pink bedroom, but not everyone may share your eclectic tastes. Go for neutral colors that would match any décor—remember, you want people to be able to picture themselves and their stuff here. Repainting your whole home or parts of it can be an arduous task, but a painting pizza party with friends can help you get it done in no time.
Make Your Closets Look Appealing
Closet space can make or break interest in a home. Making yours look attractive and spacious is an easy DIY tip. You do not have to empty them out completely; in fact, leaving some stuff in there makes it easier to visualize the space. Leave 20 to 30 percent of the space unoccupied to create the illusion of space.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things real estate; she recommends you visit Kanetix to learn more about buying and selling a home in Canada.