Guest Author - Lisa Russell
If your house is for sale, you need to make it look like a place someone else might want to live. This means a bit of temporary redecorating is in order. You can stage your home for a faster sale and stay within your budget.
Get rid of clutter to sell your house
Eliminate clutter. Invest in some clear plastic boxes with lids and large plastic boxes for filing papers. You can find ones that will hold all of your important papers in hanging file folders and arenít those ugly metal file cabinets. They can be stashed away in the attic, garage, or basement. But donít even think of stashing your clutter in a nearby closet. I can guarantee you that any prospective buyer is going to snoop in at least one of the closets. Add a few simple baskets. One to catch the clutter at the door, one for extra supplies in the bathroom, one for incoming and outgoing mail. If your house looks cluttered, prospective buyers will feel stressed and cramped. You know your house looks better when it's clean.
Get rid of excess belongings
Purge! Now that you have eliminated the surface clutter Ė itís time to get beneath the surface. Assign one day for this task and donít dwell on personal items, sentimental feelings and attachments. Think about the space for new experiences, items, memories that you will be creating, and how much easier it will be to pack! Imagine your items entering the life of somebody new and bringing them joy. Apply this rule to make it super simple and clear cut; if you havenít worn or used the item in the last year, give it the heave ho. Donate whatever items are still in good shape. Pitch the rest.
Show off the house's architecture
Think about the walls, doors, windows, and floors as the bones of your home. Think about ways to reduce distractions from your homeís strong points. Take down any distracting art pieces, pull the blinds open and use lighting to highlight architectural features that might otherwise be missed.
Donít underestimate lighting. If youíve always felt that your kitchen was a little dark, or the living room overhead, too bright - consider changing the bulbs or adding a few inexpensive task lights. Walk your home both during the day and in the evening to see if there are any lighting issues that need to be addressed. As a matter of fact, make sure every lighting fixture has new bulbs in it while it's on the market. Our agent once told us that if we can't maintain our lighting then a buyer may think we've neglected the whole house.
Create vignettes. Itís true that prospective buyers will want to imagine themselves living in your house, surrounded by the things that they loveÖ but it canít hurt to create cute vignettes around the house that will invite them to stay a while. Make them look as natural as possible. For example, if your home features a bay window or window seat, create a welcoming reading area by adding a small table, a basket of books and a reading light. Add a basket overflowing with knitting supplies to your coffee table, set the eat-in kitchen table for a cozy meal for two, add a cozy blanket, stuffed animal and bedtime book to the babyís rocker. A friend of mine was visiting a prospective home and was delighted to find a silver tray in the living room, complete with a few lit candles, a tea set and a hot tea pot and biscuits. While you donít have to go that far Ė think of at least 3 scenes that you can ďsetĒ in your home. Use what you already have for authenticity.
Add life and energy by adding a few potted plants or flowers to the scene. Consider curb appeal and add some welcome lights or a potted tree with twinkle lights for fun! Definitely put out the WELCOME mat! Replacing the porch light light is a great investment and can be done in a matter of minutes.
Even if it means putting some things into storage, leave about 20-25 percent of the closet space and bookshelves free. This will allude to there being space to grow. If your shelves and drawers are overflowing and crammed with stuff, the buyer will immediately think that they will outgrow this space just as fast.
Consider updating the drawer pulls in the kitchen and baths. Stick to neutral options and donít necessarily choose something that is your style. Ask the experts what the best selling option is and go with it. It will instantly give your cabinets a boost!
Visit a few staged model homes or take a look at homes for sale online to get more ideas on furniture arrangements that will create the most welcoming space.