One of the most important things you can do before you list your home for sale is to stage it. Home staging refers to arranging the home’s furnishings and decor so it looks as good as possible. In other words, you use the decor and furnishings to make the home look like a showroom, so buyers walk in and feel instantly at home. This can help your house sell more quickly and for a better price. If you’re interested in starting the home staging process, here’s how to do it.
Clutter is the enemy of a fast home sale. It makes a home look crowded and unkempt. Purge and clean until your home looks as empty as possible. This may mean sending some items to storage while the home’s on the market, but the more you can get out of the house, the better.
Next, change the arrangement of your furniture. Often you will need to remove some pieces to make the home look larger.
In the living areas, pull couches, chairs and tables away from walls to allow them to float in the room. This actually makes the room look larger and inviting. Use an area rug to create a chatting area.
In bedrooms, make sure there is plenty of space on the floor showing. Get rid of a nightstand or dresser if you need to temporarily, so the home looks larger.
As you go through your home to stage it, look for things that are highly personal to your family. Family pictures, children’s artwork, or an heirloom item that has meaning to you, but does not add to the home’s look, can all be removed. You want the home to look and feel like a perfectly staged model home, not your personal, comfortable space.
If you need to paint a room or add a piece of decor, make it as neutral as possible. Again, this will help buyers feel at home, no matter what their personal tastes may be. Bright colors are best avoided when staging a home.
Cleaning your home as you stage it is unlike any other cleaning you have done. You need to clean it as deeply as you can so that it shines from top to bottom. This shows that you take care of your home, and makes buyers feel more confident that they won’t be purchasing a lemon. In addition, patch and repair anything you find, including holes and scratches in the paint.
Staging a home is a bit time consuming, but the rewards are worth the effort. About half of all buyers’ agents report that home staging changes how a buyer views a home. You want the buyer to have a positive experience in your home, so stage it well!
If you've lived in your home for more than a couple years, chances are you've grown rather attached to it. Whether you're selling your house because your family has outgrown it or your company has transferred you to another location, you're probably attaching a lot of sentimental value to the price tag. Unfortunately, sentimental value does not translate into dollars and cents in today's real estate market.
The emotions of prospective buyers will often play a role in their decision to make on offer on your house, but they're probably not going to pay more than the market value for your property -- unless there's a bidding war situation going on. One of the best ways to determine a fair and reasonable asking price for your home is to have it appraised by an experienced real estate agent. Their appraisal will be based on objective data, such as the selling price of comparable homes in your area. The location and condition of your home will have a bearing on pricing your home effectively, as will the prevailing market conditions and other factors. Although online estimates can sometimes give you a ballpark figure of what your house may be worth, a local appraisal is more accurate
A common misconception among homeowners is that a $10,000 home improvement expenditure should justify a $10,000 increase in the selling price of a home. Although that concept may seem logical, it unfortunately doesn't work that way in the real estate market. An updated kitchen, bathroom, or roof may make your house more appealing to prospective buyers and help it sell faster, but it probably won't have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the price buyers would be willing to pay. Since each selling situation is unique, however, your local real estate agent is the best person to consult regarding a fair asking price for your home.
Avoiding Home Seller Mistakes
In addition to overpricing their home, another mistake home sellers make involves three related activities: decorating, staging, and attempting to create curb appeal. In spite of a homeowner's best intentions, their decorating and home staging ideas may clash with those of the house-buying public. When you attempt to tackle home staging on your own, several things could go wrong.
If you're in the process of preparing your home for sale, nothing can replace the marketing benefits of making it look its absolute best!
Successful home staging is all about effectively appealing to all the senses -- especially sight, smell, and sound. When prospective buyers are touring a home, they're essentially looking for two things: aspects that are appealing to them and areas of concern. To a large degree, their impressions will be based on emotional reactions and subconscious impressions. For example, if there's anything about your home that reminds them of fond childhood memories, then that will definitely work in your favor.
In some cases, the right kind of music playing in the background can have a positive effect on first impressions. Fragrances, such as cinnamon, lavender, citrus, baking bread, or coffee brewing can also help create an appealing ambiance. On the other hand, the presence of pet odors, stains, fur, or cat litter boxes can send a very negative message to prospective home buyers -- especially if they don't own pets or have allergies. By the way, one other item that can be an enormous turn off to people is seeing mouse traps anywhere in the house. (A worst case scenario, of course, is a visible mouse trap that has recently been sprung! That could easily be a deal breaker!)
Home Staging 101
It can be challenging to consistently keep your house in tip top condition while you're still living in it, but, considering all that's at stake, it's worth the extra effort. In addition to impeccable cleanliness, other priorities for staging a home include fresh coats of paint where needed (preferably a neutral color), attractive landscaping, up-to-date appliances, and furniture that's in good condition. If you're at all unsure whether a room looks cluttered, dated, or poorly decorated, your real estate agent can provide helpful suggestions and feedback. An experienced real estate agent can spot potential problem areas in seconds and offer valuable advice about improving the marketability of your home. After having observed hundreds of buyer reactions to everything from cluttered rooms and mismatched furniture to peeling wall paint and water stains on ceilings, they can advise you on what needs to be fixed, spruced up, replaced, or rearranged.
Curb appeal -- or lack, thereof -- is literally the first impression your home will make on prospective buyers. If you can give your lawn a manicured look, eliminate signs of peeling paint, repair cracks in walkways and driveways, and remove grime from windows, concrete surfaces, and siding, then you'll stand a good chance of making a positive first impression on home buyers. Although home staging does not have to be an expensive undertaking, it can help you get top dollar for your property and minimize the time it remains on the market.