Like clock-work, the real estate market heats up well before the weather does.  So it’s no surprise we are seeing the usual uptick in staging calls we generally see this time of year.

First impressions are lasting ones.  And while we’re never supposed to judge a book by its cover, let’s be honest.  We often do.  Since it’s an uphill climb to overcome a bad first impression, why not avoid making one if you can?  That’s especially true when you list your house for sale.

The average homeowner (and even some realtors) might think of real estate staging as simply neutralizing, de-cluttering and de-personalizing.  However, truly effective staging is FAR MORE than just taking down a few family photos and painting every wall off-white.

Home staging is intentional decorating to highlight your home’s most impressive features and to set the stage for buyers to imagine themselves living there.

Staging ensures your property is market-ready and stands out from other listings.  It also ensures you will enjoy the highest possible return on one of life’s largest investments.  If you’re one of the many folks getting ready to list your home this Spring, here are some tips & tricks every owner can use to help you put your home’s best foot forward:

    You’re moving, right?  Now’s the perfect time to purge.  Getting rid of things you won’t be moving will save you both packing time and moving costs.  And it will help make you money by showcasing just how much space you’re selling.  Clutter takes up space.  And, at the end of the day, space is really what you’re selling.
    Nothing turns off a potential buyer more than a dirty, cluttered property.  Imagine touring a listing and walking into a bathroom only to find a cigarette butt floating in a stained, nasty toilet.  Now, imagine yourself turning around and running out.  It should go without saying:  CLEAN like you’ve never cleaned before!  Give every room a deep clean, especially the kitchen and baths.  Things that can’t be cleaned because they are severely damaged, rusted or stained should be replaced.
    No one wants to spend money they don’t have to spend!  But you can’t expect top dollar for your home if you expect the buyers to do your deferred maintenance for you.  No, you don’t have to renovate your entire house just to turn around and hand it to someone else.  But, prospective buyers (and their home inspector) will be paying attention to the smallest details.  So, you should too!  Here are a few key areas to check:
    Patch the walls & repaint as needed.
    Touch up or replace damaged trim.
    Repair & clean dirty and damaged grout.
    Re-caulk kitchen and bath sinks, baths & showers.
    Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
    Oil squeaky hinges.
    Repair or replace broken windows & torn screens.
    Replace old, yellowed smoke detectors.
    Replace extremely dated light fixtures.
    Basically, if you notice something that’s dated or damaged, you can bet buyers will too.  The more “to-dos” you take off their list, the more likely buyers are to make a higher offer (or even make an offer at all).
    You’re not just selling a ‘house’; you’re selling someone their new, dream ‘home’!  If buyers can’t envision themselves living in the space, you’re in trouble.  Family photos and overly religious items are obvious NO-NOs!  But you also need to remove or hide anything considered personal, even grooming & personal-care items.  As strange as it may feel while you’re still living there, you need to remove any items that might “offend” buyers and keep them from envisioning themselves calling your house their home!
    We said before, “You’ve got to get them in the door to get them in the door!”  Most buyers, especially women, decide whether they like a property within about 10 seconds of walking in the door.  That’s not much time to make a good, first impression.  So, focus on staging where it counts the most.  Living rooms, kitchens, baths and master bedrooms influence buyers most.  Focusing your efforts and extra dollars there will help you “get them” within the first few minutes they are in the home.  Buying a home is as much an emotional transaction as a business one.  Tug on your buyer’s heartstrings by giving them a reason to fall in love with your home the minute they walk in the door.
    Light and bright sells.  So it makes sense that opening window coverings and turning on lights will help make your spaces feel happier, larger and more inviting.  The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to have to fumble around in the dark looking for the right light switch.  Those fresh flowers and other bright, cheerful colors will really pop when all the lights are on (even in the closets) and the shades are open.  Just make sure you didn’t miss the windows while you were cleaning.
    Internet and online shopping play a huge part in today’s real estate market.  Professional photos of your well-staged home will definitely stand out from the competition enticing buyers to take a closer look.  Don’t showcase your hard staging work and additional investment with cell phone snapshots.

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran has been quoted as saying, “Real Estate staging used to be optional. Today, it’s a necessity in selling a house.”  Nationwide, staged homes statistically generate higher offers and spend less time on the market.

By using the tips we’ve shared here, you’re going to be well on your way to attracting the most potential buyers and entertaining the best offers on your home.

Happy Staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433