Staging Your Home For Sale
In Atlanta, as elsewhere, the number of homes a buyer has to choose from is high so you need to make sure your home looks fantastic and is a compelling value. Your home will have to make an impression on a buyer and staging your home is at the top of the list for to do items. Every home is different, but here are some common sense ideas you can implement to help elevate your home above a crowded market to make it stand out. We recommend, in most cases, that a staging professional be hired to assist you so that you may present your home in its best light to buyers. If your home is not staged well and doesn't show well, you will receive a lower sales price. Below are some guidelines to help get you started preparing and staging your home for sale.
Begin With the Outside of Your Home
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Start with the view from the street to the front door. If your mailbox shows its age, paint it or replace it. If your home is painted, a good rule of thumb is that if it has been more than 5 years since it was painted, it probably needs to be painted again. Pressure wash the curb, driveway and sidewalk. Make sure your lawn is manicured, your plants look fresh and inviting and you have new mulch or pine straw where appropriate. Finally, consider your front door itself. Make sure the paint is fresh, the locks work easily and the door opens with out any use of force. A nice touch prior to your home being shown to clients is to spray a fine mist of water over the yard to give it a nice shine. This looks especially warm and inviting around dusk.
Lighting is the First Impression on the Inside
Brighter is better here so make sure all lights are operational with the highest wattage bulb allowed for each fixture. Warmer tones should only be used for accent lights to help add character, elicit an emotional response or to develop depth in a room. Yellow lights can make a room look dingy and dull the colors on walls.
Remove unnecessary items from tables, mantles, floors and counters. Items in these areas tend to shrink the feel of the house. Personal items should be removed wherever possible. Your goal is to sell your home so keep your buyers focus on the house, not on you, your family or photos from your vacations. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than three items on a table.
Clean Everything – Remove Bad Odors
Buyers do not want to know that you actually live there. Clean the baseboards, windows, cabinets, ceiling fans, mantles, sinks, doors handles, shelves, vacuum all carpets and treat stains, thoroughly. Clean hardwood floors, organize the laundry room and pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. Dirt and grime can make a buyer feel that a home has not been cared for and will frequently result in no offer or an offer that is lower than you might have otherwise received. It also puts up their radar and makes them wonder if regular repair and maintenance items have been properly attended to if they see a messy home.
Garage and Basement
Remember what the intended uses of these spaces are. Your garage is a place to keep your car out of the weather and offers a second entrance into an out of your home. Place items of storage in organized boxes in your basement and give the impression to the buyer that you are ready to move.
Organize Your Closets
Buyers like to peek into closets to see if there is adequate storage for there possessions. Maximize the appearance of space through minimizing the number of items in your closets. Ensure that all items are folded properly and organized.
Tidy up the Bedrooms
The impression your bedroom should have on a buyer needs to be about the room - not you. To that end, your bed should be made, clothes and shoes should be out of site and this is the one place in the house where softer lighting is appropriate.
Paint Wherever Necessary
Do not skip this step. With paint, you have a chance to freshen up walls that will add new life to your home. The entrance, heavily trafficked areas, doors, bathrooms and kitchens are the most common areas that will need a fresh coat of paint.
Light Fixtures, Faucets and Door Hardware
Think of these items as the jewelry inside your home. These items must be in keeping with today’s style and the overall architectural feel of your home. This is another area that you must not overlook. You can be sure that your buyers will notice outdated items as soon as they see them. Replace all outdated fixtures or reduce your price.
Systems in Your Home
If your hot water heater, air conditioner, furnace and electrical systems are not new, understand that your homes value will be reduced because of it. Anything past 7-8 years will be a negative to a buyer because those items will likely need to be replaced prior to them being able to sell in the future. This can be a significant cost and will put off many buyers. Your price should reflect your use of these items and you should also be aware that buyers will be planning on paying for these items to be replaced at some point during their time owning the home.
Structural Issues – Roofing and Siding
There is a common term home inspectors will use when referring certain parts of your home . It is called “useful life”. If you have a roof or siding that is nearing the end of its useful life, replace it or reduce your price.
Stage Your Home
Create a welcoming environment in your home by showing each room in a clean and organized way that fits with the intended purpose of that room. If you are not comfortable or talented in this area, hire a professional. If there are two homes equal in every other way, the one that is staged will sell first.
Is your carpet new? Does your tile meet the style todays buyers expect? If they don't, you will lose many buyers or receive offers that are reduced due to dated flooring when compared with newer or updated homes.
Elevate your Home Above The Crowd
If you are serious about selling your home, you need to make sure that your home tells buyers that you are serious. If not, you may have a home that sits on the market or sells for a price that is lower than what you hoped for. Some of the suggestions listed above may be a hard to do or seem expensive. You can be sure however, that in today’s market, if you do not complete these, another seller nearby will, and their home will sell before yours, faster and for more money. For every item not completed on this list you will reduce the selling price of your home and it will take longer for your home to sell. It is important to eliminate problems before they happen. By following these guidelines, you will have gone a long way to presenting your home in a way that helps it stand above the competition.