“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Coco Chanel
The same principle holds true when presenting your home to buyers; if your home is shabbily presented they will remember the negatives; if it is impeccably presented they will remember the home.
Clear every surface, especially kitchen, bathroom and office surfaces. If your kitchen has multiple appliances, utensil holders, knife blocks, cookbooks, fruit bowls, ornaments, etc, put away everything except the bare minimum and your kitchen will instantly appear much larger.
In the bathroom, put away everything from the countertop except hand soap; multiple bottles of shampoo, lotion, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwash, etc, may be a daily essential however they will make your bathroom appear smaller and lacking in storage space if they are left out on show. Seeing someone else’s toiletries reminds the viewer that it is someone else’s home and prevents them from imagining it as their home.
Remove all ornaments, framed photographs and souvenirs from living areas; if your bookshelves are overflowing then remove 40% of the books; this will again give the appearance of a more spacious room with ample storage. Remove 40% of the items in your closet to give the impression of lots of storage space.
If you have large plants, they can make a room appear much smaller and so its best to either cut them back or remove them to help sell your home. A large number of plants in one room are also inadvisable.
Don’t de-clutter by cramming everything into your closets; buyers open closets and an over packed closet gives buyers the impression that the home lacks storage space. Instead, pack everything you remove from your home into boxes and place it into storage.
Buyers notice your personal property and furniture before they notice the room. Comments about the sellers taste in decor are just as common as comments about the space itself. Red walls may look great and your taste may be impeccable, however, if the décor is too personal then your potential buyers will have a hard time imagining their own furniture in the room and will view the property as one requiring a lot of work.
Try to make your home as neutral as possible by removing personal items, keepsakes, photos and ornaments, and where possible, tone down any strong colors or patterns.
Remember that buyers open doors and drawers, so don’t leave anything to be ‘found’ such as dirty laundry in your closet or, past due bills in kitchen drawers, because that’s what your buyers will remember about your property.
Photo’s of your family simply highlight the fact that it is your family’s home and remind the buyers that they are in someone else’s home. This reduces the chances of a potential buyer feeling at home or imagining their own family living there.
Never underestimate the power of great home staging. Most buyers are attracted to homes that feel very “now”. An on-trend look can be achieved through staging the home with select pieces reflecting current interior design trends, without having to redecorate the home. If your home was updated more than ten years ago, adding some décor reflecting current trends will help your property to appeal to more buyers. In addition to this, a great home stager can transform the look and feel of a home to make it appear more spacious and more memorable.
4. Define Spaces
Don’t assume that your buyers have imagination or will see the potential in a space. If you have a room, that is used in multiple ways, for example a bedroom with a small office area in one corner of the room, or, a playroom with a TV area, buyers will often comment that they don’t know what the room is for or how they would use it. In the buyer’s mind, the room is now viewed as a negative and it becomes a strike against the property.
If you have a space in your home, which isn’t used, or, if you have already moved out of the property, it is always best to ‘stage’ it and clearly define every space in the property so that your buyers don’t need to use their imagination.
Clean as if your mother-in-law is coming to stay, then clean again. Buyers notice dirt that sellers don’t see and a dirty, unkempt home is a huge negative to most buyers.
Don’t assume that the potential buyers won’t look inside kitchen or bathroom cabinets; they will. Don’t assume they won’t open the refrigerator or the oven; they will. Make sure they are all very, very clean.
Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink, or, in the dishwasher; buyers will look inside the dishwasher and opening it to find dirty dishes will give them a bad impression of your home and often make them view it as dirty, even when everything else is clean. This is also an instant reminder that it is someone else’s home, making it harder for the buyer to imagine it as their home.
Hang fresh, clean towels in the bathrooms and make sure that any dishwashing sponges and brushes are out of sight in the kitchen. Put clean, ironed linens on every bed. If possible, have your carpets cleaned. Clean every window in the house until it sparkles inside and out. Put away children’s toys.
6. Paint & Minor Repairs
Buyers never see repairs as minor, no matter how minor the repairs actually are; to a buyer, those repairs are often seen as major work and enough to rule out a property. Often, buyers imagine the scenario that if such minor repairs as paint touch-ups aren’t taken care of then the seller must be ignoring major repairs too.
Touch up paintwork and make sure that all minor repairs are done. If you don’t do this, buyers will notice these things and see them both as a strike against the property and as a reason to negotiate a lower price.
7. Curb Appeal
Don’t underestimate the importance of the buyer’s first impression; it doesn’t matter how nice the interior of your home is if the exterior doesn’t draw buyers in.
Mow and edge the lawn, repair any yellow patches in the grass, weed, trim trees and hedges and make sure that the landscaping is maintained for the duration of the sale process.
Add a potted plant next to the front door, purchase a new doormat, polish the house numbers and if seasonally appropriate, place a decorative wreath on your door. If needed, give your front door a fresh coat of paint; studies show that black, red, navy blue or dark green are the best colors to select.
Don’t assume that potential buyers are pet lovers; many aren’t. A lot of buyers will be put off by a dog jumping up at them, or, may have allergies and be wary of purchasing a home that in their view may contain a lot of pet hair. Wherever possible, remove pets from the property for showings, and remove all pet items such as feeding bowls, toys and pet beds.
9. Scented candles
Eliminate odors caused by pets, smoking and cooking by placing scented candles around the house, that your real estate agent can light for showings. Scented candles mask odors and also create a warm, cosy and inviting atmosphere in your home. Select popular scents such as vanilla or delicate floral scents and avoid anything overpowering or unusual. Here at the Burb.com team we provide our clients with our own custom scented candles, with a fragrance we had custom developed for home staging purposes.
10. Finishing Touches
Place a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase on an end table. Set the dining table with your best dinnerware. Make sure that all drapes and blinds are open to maximise natural light and showcase any views the property benefits from. Check that all light bulbs work and replace any that broken ones. Fluff up pillows and cushions. If the shower or bath has been recently used, make sure to dry it off. Close all toilet lids. Make sure that the best parking spot is left open for your buyers as this helps them imagine the home as their own.
11. Be Showing Ready
Maintain your homes presentation at all times until it sells. Buyers often request to view a property at very short notice; make sure that it is ready to show at an hours notice at all times. This can be hard to do, especially if you have kids, but it is worth doing so that your home is presented in a way that generates the best offers possible.
12. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent
Your choice in Real Estate Agent will mean the difference between listing your home and selling your home. When considering who to work with, make sure that you look at the Real Estate Agent’s level of experience. While its relatively easy to obtain a real estate license, over 70% of agents are no longer in the business within five years of obtaining their license. Successfully working with clients, and negotiating the sale and purchase of properties on a consistent basis, takes a skill set that most real estate agents do not have. You can read more about our experience here.