When the birds start singing and the days heat up, so does the real estate market. It’s competitive. The biggest favour you can do for yourself when you list your property is to start seeing it through the buyer’s eyes.
This post gives you some DIY tips for staging your house in a competitive market.
We can all agree, buyers aren’t interested in who you are or your interests. They are just curious enough about your house to request a showing.
Once they pull up to the curb, it is your responsibility to “WOW!” them.
Spark their emotions. Your goal is to help them see beyond your stuff and picture themselves living the good life in your house.
So where do you begin?
1. Take the “YOU” out of your house
Every photo comes down. Pictures of you just make them feel like intruders and cloud their ability to envision their future in this space.
Memorabilia comes down.
Political items comes down.
Religious items come down.
Collections come down.
Store valuables off the property.
Anything that tells your personal story or views comes down.
REMOVE ANYTHING YOU WOULDN’T CONSIDER SELLING TO THE BUYER. Realtors don’t usually mention this but the last thing you want is to lose your ______ (whatever) because the buyer coveted something you left in view.
Trust me. I can tell you personal stories about losing things in a house sale that I didn’t think someone would have the nerve to ask for…but they did…and they will.
2. Pack and Purge
I have a post that will walk you through this step.
Again, the buyers need to picture themselves living their dreams with their family in their future house – which just happens to be yours at the moment.
Get rid of (almost) all your stuff!!! It needs to look like a model home to compete.
Clear out as much as you can until it boarders on looking minimalist – your rooms will look much bigger.
Keep enough in the closet for a weeks worth of living. Store the rest elsewhere – especially off-season items.
Don’t cram your stuff in closets. That is the first place they look.
It’s not good if they are full. It sends the message that there is not enough storage in the house. Red flag!
Absolute minimal wall hanging on the walls – mirrors are great for helping them imagine themselves living there.
Yes, you will likely need some off-site storage – either purchased or some amazingly generous friend or family member whom you will exchange favors with or compensate them in some way for their kindness.
3. Clean Every Inch
I have 4 cleaning strategies in this post that can help you clean more efficiently.
Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Make sure your drawers and cabinets are cleared out and clean leaving only necessities.
They are really wanting to open the cabinet drawers and imagine where they will store their utensils.
If there are breadcrumbs, hair, excessive hygiene products and kitchen equipment, they will be put off in record time.
Empty all garbage cans, wash them and replace the bags.
Clear off all horizontal surfaces and wash down every inch of everything – including the soap scum behind the tap and toothpaste over-spray that dried on the walls.
Mirrors must be absolutely spotless.
4. Remove Odors
Smells. Every home has one or more – even if you deny it. Unless your friends are always saying, “Your home always smells great.” Then you need to put some real effort into deep-cleaning and remove all personal and pet odors.
There is no short cut – you must clean everything.
Fabrics, upholstery, clothes, and carpets hold scents so start there.
Air fresheners should not be relied on as they might trigger an allergic reaction or the strong scent might be just flat-out offensive to the buyer. Use with caution or opt for bouquets of flowers strategically placed throughout the home.
Clean carpets or replace with a neutral-colored carpet if there are stains and show wear patterns. Don’t go high-end to impress – most buyers will just tear it out anyway.
5. Fresh Paint
Unless you have painted all your walls neutral in the last 6 months – paint the walls, trim and doors in a light neutral. Even if the buyers want to paint all the walls sunshine yellow, you want them to be able to imagine that being possible. If your walls are bold colours, it just looks like too much work to cover.
Check out Abby’s post at Just a Girl and Her Blog on how to paint baseboards.
6. Remove Wallpaper
For the same reason, remove wallpaper unless it is holding the wall together. Wallpaper patterns are a personal choice and I can guarantee you – they won’t have your exact furniture to match it. Everyone knows what a pain wallpaper is to remove – and no one wants to bring-out the honey-do list at the showing. Paint just sells a house better.
7. Fix or Remove Broken Items
Remove broken “anything”.
Replace burnt out light bulbs to improve lighting.
Window blinds should be repaired or replaced. Here is a post to help you purchase the right window coverings.
Raise blinds to the top and let the sunshine in – if the view is desirable.
Speaking of windows – they must be spotless, too. Remove black mold – that may have formed from lack of circulation – completely.
9. Utility Room
Clear out the furnace or utility room completely.
They will camp out there to inspect the mechanical heart of your home.
These units are pricey to replace so make sure you invest some time making it look well maintained.
Replace the furnace filter with a fresh one.
Provide all necessary warranties, receipts, and manuals that apply to the furnace, air conditioner, water heater, sump pump, and so on to answer their questions – and show off your impeccable maintenance routine. It will speak volumes about your upkeep of the whole house! #bonuspoints
10. Utility Bills
While we are on the subject, leave a photocopy of your utility bills throughout the current year on the kitchen counter. They will eventually ask, so volunteering this information will show you have nothing to hide.
I have been “real” in this post – and maybe a little blunt – but I have done it with your best interest and the sale of your house in mind.
Try to relax and enjoy the process because today’s moments become tomorrow’s memories.
Take some fun pictures to remember your selling and purchasing journey.
All the best as you move on with your life.
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I love to hear your comments!
Do you have staging tips?
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