You got a new job, you’re moving up, or you’re downsizing for retirement and are ready to sell your home. Now what? Here are some simple tips to put your home’s best foot forward.
Task Number 1: clean, clean, clean. Use some elbow grease on kitchen cupboards and hard water-stained bathroom fixtures. Shampoo the carpeting. If you have tile clean the grout. Deep clean edges, corners, and baseboards. Scrub countertops, floors, and walls.
Do you have a beloved pet? Put away all pet bedding, dishes, and toys. The scent of a dog or cat is a sure way to turn off potential buyers. Put your dog or cat outside or in a designated area during showings. This is inconvenient to be sure, but it will be well worth your time.
Start packing. Banish clutter in rooms, closets, and storage spaces. Buyers need to know there will be room for their stuff. Remove all but a few small appliances and a basket of brightly colored fruit from the kitchen counter. De-personalize rooms by packing away family photos and bric-a-brac. This will make the rooms look bigger and invite buyers to see the space. Themed collections and rooms are a turn off to potential buyers who don’t have the same taste that you do. Put these items away.
Don’t forget to go over the bathroom. Remove used towels and put away toiletries. Hang a fresh set of towels or place them rolled up in baskets. Put a lightly scented candle or fresh bar of soap on the vanity. Resist the urge to go overboard on scents, especially the plug-in type. Strong scents may make buyers wonder what you are trying to cover up.
Now’s the time to make small repairs you pushed to the back burner. Fix broken windows, paint or stain the deck and fence, replace broken doors and door knobs. Potential buyers will see every little thing that needs attention. You want them to see the great things about your house, not the shortcomings.
Has it been a while since you’ve applied a fresh coat of paint? Do it now. Make rooms look bigger by painting hallways the same light color. Go neutral; resist the urge to paint the dining room bright orange. Save your favorite color for the house YOU will purchase.
Stage your rooms for success. Many people think that placing furniture on the perimeter of the room will make the space look bigger but the opposite is actually true. Push the furnishings to the center of the room and anchor them with a rug, creating a conversation grouping and making the traffic pattern obvious. Make it easy for people to move through the house. If your furnishings are scant or one room is overcrowded, re-purpose a piece of furniture to highlight the intended use of a space. An antique bureau can become a dining room side board; a small table can serve as a writing desk in the den or office.
Is your house dark? Even if you have plenty of windows, replace burned out bulbs with higher wattage models to show rooms in the best light. Add task and accent lighting, such as pendant and/or table lamps, to give rooms a warm and inviting glow. Turn on all the lights before a showing even if it’s daytime. You want buyers to see your sparking clean house because you performed Task Number 1 right off the bat!
Put your best foot forward by painting or replacing the front door. This is one of the best investments you can make, returning over 70% of your investment on a new door. The entrance to your home should say “Welcome.” Rake the leaves, mow and trim the lawn, pull the weeds, and plant some seasonal flowers.
Finally, set the dining room table with nice linens and dishes, put out some fresh flowers and candles and voilà, you’re done! Inspiration for this article came from HGTV.com. Visit their website for more home staging and decorating ideas.
by Julie Ketchum, REALTOR