What do buyers want to see when they view a home for possible purchase?
They want to see how they, their family, and their belongings will “fit.” They want to be able to imagine themselves living there and enjoying life.
If they can’t imagine that, or if they visualize a lot of work to be done before they could move in, they’ll likely keep looking. Or… if the layout and location suits them, they’ll make a low offer to account for the work they’ll need to do.
You don’t want them to do either of those things, so before the first buyer walks through your door, make it “Buyer ready.”
The next step is to make your house look as much like a show home as possible – and to create an atmosphere that reaches out to buyers, telling them that they’re “home.”
1. Staging is the key
The name staging really does mean “setting the stage” to make your home more appealing to more buyers. It’s true that they aren’t buying your furnishings, so you don’t want to draw any attention to them at all. They are simply there to create a feeling of “home” in the minds of the buyers.
The easiest route to staging is to hire a professional, but if that’s simply not in the budget, use these tips to create that “buy me” atmosphere:
- Check the colors – if you’ve gone wild with paint color in a room or two, tone it down. Repaint with neutrals. The same goes for carpeting. The hot pink or lime green needs to be replaced.
- Now check the colors of your furnishings. You may love the afghan Grandma made and leave it on the back of the couch for snuggling in front of the TV – but if the color clashes with your furniture, carpet, or drapes, put it away until after the house is sold. Purchase an inexpensive throw that color-coordinates with the room and use that until you move to your new home.
- Buy color-coordinated towels for kitchen and bath… and don’t use them! Put them in place before you leave the house each morning and just prior to any evening showings.
- You can change the whole look of a bathroom with a new shower curtain, rugs and towels. So choose something in “this year’s colors” and give each bathroom a makeover.
- In the kitchen – Modernize by installing a new kitchen faucet or new cabinet pulls. If you have an eat-in kitchen, invest in some pretty placemats, plates and glasses, and leave the table set.
- In the bathroom you can do the same – new, modern faucets can give an “updated” impression.
- In the living area, and throughout the house – re-arrange furniture for good traffic flow and balance. Walk through your home with a critical eye – if you find a bottleneck anywhere, move things until it’s corrected. If that means moving a piece or two into storage until your move, do it.
- You may also need to move some items from one room to another in order to create more space in one place and fill a gap in another.
- If your bedrooms are cramped, move some furniture out. Get rid of the exercise machine, the desk, and anything else that crowds the space. You should have already removed all seasonal clothing, luggage, etc. from the closets during the de-clutter stage.
- Invest in new bedspreads or comforters – you’ll love them when you get to your new home, and they’ll help sell your current home.
- If furnishings are worn, use slipcovers, or move your own things out and rent some new pieces.
- Remove all “personal” wall décor and replace it with neutral art such as landscapes and still life pictures of flowers, etc. Items you should remove include family photos, religious pictures, political posters, awards, hunting mounts, and firearms.
The first reason why you should remove these items is that your goal is to depersonalize your home so that buyers can visualize it as their home.
The second is that your potential buyers could get so interested in these items that they fail to focus on the house itself. You don’t want to distract them in any way – which is why you should also pack your collections in sturdy boxes, ready for the move to your next home.
The third is that more and more people are paying attention to the “energy” in a home.
Individuals who are opposed to your religious or political beliefs, or who are opposed to hunting or firearms may dismiss your home because they’ll feel that it carries negative energy. That idea may offend you, but recognizing the fact and removing those items is necessary if you want your home to appeal to the largest number of buyers.
- If your fireplace mantle, tables, or shelves are cluttered with personal mementos, pack them safely for your move. Leave only a few scattered items – chosen for their addition to the balance in the room.
- Use flowers. Fresh cut flowers are the best, of course, but unless you have an overflowing garden, they can get expensive. So purchase some good quality silk flowers and arrange them in an attractive vase. Place these on side tables, coffee tables, kitchen table, bathroom vanity, etc.
- Open up spaces with well-placed mirrors. If you have a small room, place a mirror where it will serve to make the room feel larger.
- Open the drapes. Let the outside in while you expand the size of the room by giving a view to the outside. Of course, you’ll have to keep those windows sparkling.
- Use lighting to open up a dark corner and make a room feel larger.
- Create balance by including all the elements in each room. This comes from the practice of feng shui, and can have an amazing effect on a room. The addition of a few key items or colors can change a room from cold and uninviting to warm and homey. So strive to represent fire, water, metal, wood, and earth in every room.
You can, of course, represent these elements with objects, as with a wooden table or bowl for wood, an aquarium for water, or an earthenware vase for earth – but it can also be done with color:
- Wood is represented by green or brown
- Fire is represented by red, bright yellows, orange, pink, purple
- Water is represented by blue or black
- Metal is represented by white or gray
- Earth is represented by light yellow, light brown, tan
These colors don’t have to make a big splash – you can accomplish a lot with inexpensive throw rugs or pillows, a simple vase, or with flowers or wall art. Pay careful attention to adding elements to rooms that are heavy with one element – such as a kitchen, library, or office filled with wood cabinets.
2. Remember to Stage Outdoor Rooms
If you have a patio or other outdoor living area, give it the same critical look as your interior rooms. Then apply the same guidelines.
3. Connective Realty, LLC is Happy to Assist!
Should you need a second set of eyes to evaluate the staging of your home, just ask, and we’ll help.
Although we are not professional stagers, we have visited hundreds of homes with potential buyers and we know what makes them stop and take a second look – as well as the small things that make them check a home off their list of possibilities. Many times, it is something that could easily have been corrected prior to offering the home for sale.
When we represent you and your home in the Bryan / College Station marketplace, we’ll take the time to share that knowledge with you and help you present your home in its best possible light.
Selling your home quickly and for top dollar is our goal, and helping you present a “Buyer Ready” home is just one of the ways we accomplish that goal. Call us today and schedule a no-obligation appointment with one of our experienced agents.