Sorry folks, but yes, we do judge a book by its cover. Your home is being judged by potential buyers, and guess what – you are doing the same to the houses you are considering.
So, I ask you this question: Have you looked at buying a house recently? Did you form an opinion about the homeowner by their furnishings, clutter, and/or smell of their home? I bet you did. We all would. We are a fickle folk, that places judgment on these things, even if those things like dated furnishing are removed when the current homeowner moves out.
We are in a market now, that move it ready homes are desired. Brown carpeting, purple walls, and pink bathrooms exhibit a negative reaction that money needs to be spent immediately. Big dollar signs are a turn off to buyers who are looking for move-in ready homes.
So, the big burning question is how much do we do to our homes before selling? In my opinion, upgrading your bathroom is one of the best rooms to focus on and has the biggest return. I feel it is so beneficial to put your home in the best light, so sprucing up a tired, dated bathroom is always a great idea when selling. If done properly, the homeowner will recoup 50% of the cost put into the project. Please don’t be that house with the pink bathroom!
Staging shows off the full potential of the home and helps buyers visualize themselves coming home to it. Sometimes hiring a professional stager (like me, shameless plug 😉) is best. Home stagers know what buyers are looking for. They help you accent the positives, select paint colors, suggest removing or adding décor and advise on placement of furniture – plus so much more.
If you want to stage your home yourself, here are 12 tips I can offer you:
1). Declutter and depersonalize.
The goal is to allow the potential home buyers to see this as their home. Not yours.
· Get rid of all clutter. Magnets on the fridge, stuff on the counter, piles on nightstands -everything.
· Put away ALL family pictures, all of them.
· Paint kids’ rooms in neutral colors and put away as many toys as possible.
2). Clean like Martha Stewart.
· Scrub everything. From window blinds to bathroom grout – make them sparkle.
· Consider hiring a cleaning service, to give your home a deep cleaning.
3). Remove, replace or touch up furniture.
· You want a lot of floor space. Consider removing extra furniture you don’t need. Less furniture will make the room appear larger.
· Do you have old pieces of furniture that look unattractive? Could your new house deserve some new pieces? Consider buying them now and donate or sell the old pieces.
· Does your big, old comfy couch look a bit worn? Why not consider a slipcover to clean it up and make it look new again?
4). Freshen up your master bedroom.
· Consider changing your linens to a neutral solid color, with some pleasantly updated throw pillows (don't go crazy on throw pillows).
· If you don’t have a headboard, borrow one from a friend, make one or find one at a great price.
· How do your lamps look? Could they use a fresh look? White shades are best. Buy something you like for your next home, but use them now.
· Do your end tables match? If not, give them a quick paint!
5). Let the sunshine in.
· Create more light in your rooms, by opening the blinds, and curtains.
· Paint your rooms with light-colored paint
· Turn on all your lamps
· Use neutral lightly colored furniture (borrow some if you have to)
6). Get rid of smells.
· Get rid of old carpet and replace with fresh neutral carpet
· Send your pets on a pet holiday. Have them stay at a pet motel or at gramma’s house during the listing, this will help with the pet odors and cleanliness.
· Keep cat litters fresh.
7). Stage each room for its intention.
· Do you have a bedroom that you use for storage, without furniture? Consider purchasing a bed, some nightstands, and a dresser to create a bedroom. Another idea is making it an office. Go get a desk chair and office things. Maybe your potential buyer might want a home office?
8). Make your hardwood floors new again.
· Replace damaged boards. Then, rent a sander and give the floor a good sanding and re-stain them. Your floors go from drab to fabulous.
9). Replace dated carpeting.
· Using neutral colors only, replace the old worn out carpet, or carpet with dated colors like pink, greens, etc.
10). Replacing kitchen appliances.
· Appliances that are dated and mismatched can make the kitchen look dated. Matching stainless steel is the way to go. You don’t have to buy top of the line ones to make this effective.
11). Paint dated tile.
· Painting tile is a huge trend right now. Take old wall and floor tile and paint it – if they need to be updated. This is a much cheaper alternative to replacing them and if done right, it will look amazing.
12). Curb appeal is important.
· Even if you are in the winter season now, things laying around the yard need to be picked up.
· If you have old cars, metals, and pieces of wood lying in piles, they have got to go.
· When spring gets here, trim, rake and clean up, and add some planters with colorful flowers.
With some time and investment spent on your home, you will be ready to list for this upcoming spring market.