Maximize your home’s value before going on market
When you’re getting ready to sell your home, one of the most important things you need to do is stage it. No matter how much you love your decor and personal effects in your house, you need to make sure your house’s appearance draws in a buyer and makes it feel possible for them to envision themselves living there. If you’re wondering how to maximize your home’s value by getting your home ready to show before you sell, here is a helpful guide.
First impressions matter: Start with the Curb
When people arrive at your home for the first time, you want them to immediately see potential — not all the work they need to put in to make it feel like their home. The good news is that you don’t have to completely change the look of your home to make this happen — just a little maintenance work.
First, make sure that flower beds are weed free, edged, tidy and freshly mulched. Fix any places outside that need new paint — like siding or shutters. Finally, accessorize your entrance to make it feel more like a home. You might want to consider putting flower pots with flowers or a bench. Anything that warms up the outdoor space.
Inside: Seeing Through the Clutter
One of the most important things for a seller to do when they’re prepping the home for showings is de-clutter. Buyers want to be able to see themselves in your home, not get stuck envisioning themselves living within the piles of your stuff. Do your best to help them see past it by clearing off counters, picking up piles of clothes on the floor, putting away shoes by the door, closing laundry hampers, etc. You might even consider organizing pantries and closets to remove clutter, as well.
Take Care of Obvious Blemishes
Even though you might have already taken care of something big, like a leak, you don’t want to draw attention to cosmetic problems it may have created. Even if that blemish is small, it’s best to take care of it before prospective buyers arrive at your door. If it’s still there when they look, buyers will likely start wondering (or worrying about) what’s actually going on behind the wall.
Specific Palettes Help Buyers Paint a Picture
You may have loved that bold red color you came across several years ago, but prospective buyers might not share your love of the bold. A new study by Zillow, though, shows that certain wall colors help homes sell for more. (For example, light blue bathrooms, grey/beige exteriors and oatmeal colored living rooms, etc.). A relatively small investment in paint on your part could help prospective buyers envision your living room as a space that they’d want to spend time in. So repainting before you show is worth it.
Focus on the Kitchen and Owner Suite Bath
True story: kitchens and master baths sell homes. If you want to get your kitchen ready to show, first think about the functional aspects of your kitchen. When a prospective buyer sees a cluttered kitchen, they become concerned with being able to spread out and prepare a meal. By clearing the counters of small appliances, dishes and food, you create the perception that this could be a great work space. If you happen to have a large, open kitchen look for ways to make it seem more inviting – a place the kids would gather around after school.
Similar to the kitchen, the owner suite bath must be both functional and inviting. And like the kitchen, there are a few things you can do to make it show well. Decluttering counters, hiding hampers and limiting other items can make the space feel bigger and more functional. Once you’ve decluttered, it’s now time to make your master bath feel like a relaxing retreat. Even if you don’t have a big bathroom or a big budget, little things like fresh paint and simple accessories can change the feel of a space.
Appeal to Four of the Five Senses
As a rule of thumb, you should appeal to four of the five senses when you’re staging your house to sell.
Sight: get the lighting right
The right lighting can make or break a room for a prospective buyer. If they are touring your home during the day, don’t make them wonder what it would look like if the curtains were pulled back — have them open and the light streaming in. If you happen to be showing your home in the evening (or you have a room with little / no natural light), make sure it’s lit with lamps and overhead lighting, in a way that’s warm and inviting.
Smell: freshly baked cookies, not freshly baked scallops
The way your home smells is almost always fleeting, but you want to make sure you are creating a great first impression when a prospective buyer walks through your door. Here’s a list of do’s and don’t to get you thinking about creating the right aroma to sell your home.
Match the season. An apple pie is a great scent for a fall showing, while a fresh cucumber spray is better for summer. Your house should smell “right” for the time of year that a person is looking at it.
Make it smell inviting, not off-putting. Bacon is delicious, but it can be an overwhelming smell in a space. Think about the scents that draw you in when they waft by on the street (fresh cookies, roasting nuts, etc.)
Overpower with smell. The scent in your home should be recognizable, but not overwhelming.
Cook a meal right before a showing. It can be hard to get past the smell of someone else’s meals and envision your own meals there.
Touch: make sure your home is the right temp
Depending on what time of year you are selling your home, you want to make sure that it feels inviting to a prospective buyer. If you’re selling in the summer and you have a room that gets a lot of natural sunlight, you will want to crank the AC so that it doesn’t feel like a greenhouse. Even if it’s a little cool for a prospective buyer, you at least want them to walk away knowing that the room has the potential to feel “just right.”
Hearing: quiet is nice
While you might not be able to control 100 percent of the sounds that surround your home, there are some simple strategies that could help quiet things down, so that people know they’ll be able to get some peace and relaxation when they live in the space.
Keep windows closed to limit the impact of outside noise (e.g. traffic, neighbors, pedestrians, etc.)
Turn off noisy appliances. If you have a dehumidifier that runs in the basement (or some other constantly running appliance), turn it off right before the showing. No one wants to think that their new family retreat will sound like a machine shop while they’re trying to sleep.
Turn off all TVs, computers, sound systems, etc. Prospective buyers don’t want to be greeted by the sounds of Wheel of Fortune or the evening news. You also don’t want to highlight the fact that you have thin walls that allow sound to travel from room to room.
Talk to your neighbors. If your neighbors happen to be the source of your home’s “noise profile,” you may want to see if they’d mind keeping things down when you are showing your home.