By Donna Fowler
There are a lot of tips out there for how to best stage your home to not just make the sale, but to increase the selling price by attracting competitive bidding.
But according to longtime Bradford Real Estate agent Melissa Hechter, it all pretty much comes down to one constant: “You want people to say to themselves, ‘I could live here. It’s really cool!’”
Getting potential buyers to think that, though, is not a one-size-fits-all kind of prospect. “It’s all very individual depending on your house and budget, how much you are willing to and can do to set the stage.”
However, there are a few absolutes. First off, your home has to be welcoming and appear well-cared-for. “People often immediately make a decision when they drive up to the curb, so first impressions are critical,” she says. That means a well-kept lawn, potted plants and perhaps a fresh coat of paint on your front door.
Once inside, cleanliness to the point of sparkling is the golden rule. If that means hiring a professional to clean your house, including your windows and carpets, then that’s what you should do. Taking it a step further, new paint is usually essential for freshening things up.
And speaking of fresh, smelling fresh ─ “not fake like potpourri,” Hechter explains ─ goes hand-in-hand with being spotless. For instance, a candle in your kitchen that smells like you’re baking pumpkin bread is very inviting and will cover your adorable golden retriever’s smell (which you may be so used to, you’re not even aware of it).
Along with spurring potential buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, you want them to picture all their stuff there. That means de-clutter and de-personalize!
You don’t want your house to look like there’s no room for their things, so you might have to pack your stuff and rent a storage space. “It’s worth it, and you need to pack anyway, right?”
And personal items can distract them from the task at hand. “Suddenly they’re asking what high school you went to instead of a question about the house.”
You might have to take things a little further by rearranging or removing furniture in certain rooms to free up space so that buyers aren’t concerned with whether their TV or a favorite recliner will fit.
Another big consideration is that 80-90 percent of people like a lot of natural light, according to Hechter. If your home’s set-up doesn’t allow for much light, then you’ll need to change things up some: move furniture that blocks the light, add a mirror to reflect more light, take down the sheer panels you have along with your drapes. “Lighting can change the whole vibe of a room,” Hechter says.
Another of Hechter’s suggestions is to hang art or pictures, “to pop a color.”
These tips are a good start and might be all you need to do. But, if your home has more to overcome to make it marketable, or it’s very high end, then you might want to consider hiring a professional stager. “They’re well worth it,” Hechter says.
Meanwhile, you can take the free, expert staging advice Bradford Real Estate agents provide to the bank.