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For most sellers, especially those who are transitioning into a newly purchased home, finding a buyer as quickly as possible is a top priority. Though many sellers may be tempted to drop their asking price in order to attract more offers in a shorter period of time, there are actually simple and inexpensive solutions in home staging that will allow you to sell fast, AND at a high asking price.
When dealing with such a significant financial transaction, it makes a lot of sense to put a bit of time and effort into your home staging before you list your home on the market. Potential buyers are not just looking for a structure to live in, they’re looking for a particular lifestyle and dream. Staging helps you create a more emotional purchase and can make a significant difference both in your marketing time and your potential profit on the sale.
Here are the basics of staging, which every homeowner should consider doing themselves or via a professional, as soon as they make the decision to sell.
1. Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize.
When cleaning and decluttering, keep in mind that the most important rooms in the house are the kitchen and the bathroom. For those still living in the home that listed for sale, these are the two rooms that should be absolutely spotless, flawless and sparkling before every visit. The goal should be to make your home looks brand new. Put away any knickknacks, photos frames, or personal decorative items into storage. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home, so anything indicative of the current inhabitants should be kept out of sight. Items lingering on surfaces or bookshelves are problematic for two reasons- firstly they distract from your home’s features. Secondly, they indicate to buyers that the home lacks sufficient storage space. Since more empty space creates the effect of more space, go through your house and purge it of any unnecessary or unsightly items as soon as you decide to sell your home.
2. Deodorize the rooms.
Once your rooms are clutter free, you need to make sure your home is cleared of any smells that you may have become immune to over time- pets, kids, food, etc. Air out the rooms, rind half a lemon in the garbage disposal to remove sink doors, and make sure any smokers in the family keep their smoking outdoors. If you have carpets, spread baking soda over them and allow it to sit in for a couple of hours to soak in the smells.
3. Paint your home like a blank slate.
Remove any wallpaper, which buyers are unlikely to like, and paint your walls a light neutral tone. Light shades make rooms look bigger, and will allow buyers to envision the space the way they want to decorate it. Now is definitely not the time to experiment with that “fun”-looking bright orange. But that being said, you don’t need to go all white, either. Rich mid-tone neutrals like off-white chardonnay and “greige” create sophisticated backdrops that makes everything look more elegant and pulled together.
4. Fix up cracks, wear and tear.
Any cracks in the ceiling or walls should be checked up by an inspector before listing your home, as they might mean foundation problems that are sure to hinder the sale. If the damage is just regular wear and tear, fix it up and paint over it to avoid scaring off the potential buyers. Same goes for any cracks or damage on window sills, storage space, and flooring. If your bathroom is older and you’re unable to get stains out from the tiles, consider replacing the tiling. The small square footage will mean that the job is relatively inexpensive.
5. Give every space a well-defined use.
Make sure each of your rooms has a single, clear purpose. If you have a spare bedroom or attic that you’re using as storage, turn it into an office space or a guest bedroom. This will help potential buyers envision the maximized square footage. Even if the buyer won’t use the room for the same purpose, it’s important for them to see that every square inch is usable space. This includes window seats, alcoves, reading nooks, and spaces under staircases as well. Setting up a small work or reading station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, will give these areas a clearly defined function.
7. Let there be light.
Lighting is possibly the most important aspect of home staging. If your home has good natural light- make the most of it! Use light coloured drapes of curtains that will let as much light in as possible, and leave your windows open during visits. If your home is on the darker side, buying a couple of extra lights will be well worth the investment. Adjustable lighting is a good option for bedrooms and living rooms, as you can switch up the tones depending on whether the visit is at midday or towards the evening. Pendant lighting is a fashionable choice for kitchens. You can use the light fixtures to your advantage by choosing unique, decorative ones that will complement the furniture and bring visual appeal to the room.
8. Rearrange the Furniture
Understandable, most sellers won’t want to change the furniture right before selling their homes. Compromise by removing extra furniture that makes the room look cluttered, leaving your furnishing to the minimal. Symmetrical arrangements usually work well in the living room, as they create an inviting conversation area. Complement your furniture with artwork or decorative items that blend in well with its accents.
9. Turn your bathroom into a mini-spa.
Buy new towels, soaps, show curtains and rugs to replace the old ones when you decide to sell your home. The bathroom should look completely unused- there’s nothing less appealing to buyers than seeing someone’s half-used soap bar during an open house or visit.
10. First Impressions
Exteriors are generally not an issue in condo projects, but if you’re selling a family home make sure that the lawn, lawn, hedges, and garden plants are well-maintained and neatly pruned to increase your curb appeal. Brighten windows from the outside, and if possible powder wash your home’s exterior to make it look freshly painted without the large expense. For condos with terraces, create an inviting exterior space with sun chairs, a plant and lighting. Lastly, don’t forget that corridors create the first impression when a buyer walks into your home. Make sure your corridors are uncluttered, clean and fresh-smelling, these small touches go a long way!
How much should you spend on staging?
Even if your budget is hefty, avoid putting too much money into the staging process. As a general rule, you should be spending about 1% of your home’s value on staging- for a $250,000 consider that $2,500 towards staging is a good budget to stick to. Keep in mind that to get the best returns on your staging efforts, you should be designing your interiors to appeal to the broadest number of possible buyers. Think about the demographic that typically invests in your neighbourhood, what lifestyle they prescribe to, and what their general preferences and needs are in terms of interior design.
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