So you’re ready to sell your home and of course, you want to get top dollar for it – but hiring a professional home stager may not be in your budget
Well I’m going to give you some tips on how you can get your home looking like (and hopefully selling for) a million bucks, without hiring a professional home stager.
Preparing your home for sale is a bit like designing a stage for a play. Everything needs to be in just the right place, perfectly arranged, and looking cosy and comfortable.
Homes that are properly prepared and decorated right sell faster and at a higher price than similar, otherwise drab, cluttered, boring and unprepared homes.
Before you start, you need to keep in mind that you’re not going to make the changes to live in your home. Your only goal is to show your home at its very best to potential buyers. Without being distracted by clutter and dirt, they’ll be able to picture themselves in the home you’re trying to sell, and will find it hard to resist making an offer.
And if you’re sceptical about the benefits of going to all this work or doubt that it will make any difference in selling your home, put yourself in the place of a home buyer.
Have you ever walked through display homes? The paint is fresh, appliances are shiny, there’s artwork arranged around the house, and fresh flowers stand on the kitchen counter. Mirrors are sparkling, towels fresh, and there are no toys on the floor. The rooms look spacious and the furniture comfortable.
Now go down the street where the homes are several years old. Dead plants “welcome” you at the front door, kid’s toys are stacked in the lounge room. So many boxes are piled in the garage that you couldn’t park even one car there. The house isn’t dirty, but there are dishes in the kitchen sink and toothpaste stuck on the bathroom vanity. Homework is spread out on the dining room table. The family dog is yapping because of the strangers in the house and the floors are scratched.
Which house would be more appealing to you? Of course, the first one! The homes may be the same size, but because of the clear layout, the first home seemed much larger. The house was prepared to show off all the good points and none of the bad.
What most homeowners need to understand, is that the way a home should be presented for resale and the way you live in your home is two completely different things. Most of us don’t actually live our lives like a page torn out of House Beautiful.
Keep in mind that what you are selling is the house – not its contents. If you remove throw or area rugs, eliminate clutter and collections, and cut down on furniture and accessories, the room will appear to be more airy and spacious.
Are you ready to get started?
Plan to do one room at a time. Remove anything and everything that is personal, shabby, soiled, or crowded. Clean all surfaces thoroughly, then replace only the pieces that look wonderful. In this case, less is more.
Now get out the cleaning supplies and boxes, and get ready to sell your home fast! You’ll love how easy it is to transform your home for a quick and profitable sale with just a bit of elbow grease.
Rent a storage unit or borrow a friend’s garage for a few weeks or months and fill it with boxes of collectibles as well as sports equipment, Christmas decorations, seasonal clothing, and extra furniture.
Add boxes of garage clutter, and items pulled from storage areas such as linen closets and wardrobes. If your closets are stuffed, it’s time to weed through things. You can either sell or give items away or pack them up for your next home. You’re going to have to move it sometime anyway, so get some of it out of the way before you begin showing your home.
What Goes, What Stays?
You know that people will open your cupboards and closets. Be sure they’re organized neatly and not packed to the point of overflow. They’ll look more spacious if you don’t try to show off your whole wardrobe or collection of china. They’re not buying that! Let potential buyers envision their own thing there. Will they fit, or will the space seem too small, since your own things don’t fit?
Every storage area in your home — including display shelves — should be neat, clean, organised, and clutter-free.
Get Rid of Personal Items
Take down your wedding photos, religious items, the kids’ school pictures, and your collection of refrigerator art. A buyer needs to picture himself living in the house. That will be more difficult if your personal photos, awards, and mementos are everywhere. It won’t take long to remove these things. Be sure to wrap them carefully and put them in the storage unit.
Remove All Valuables
During the time of your home sale, you’ll have lots of people coming through, including potential buyers, groups of realtors on walk-throughs, open houses, inspectors, cleaners, and handymen. Before they do, pack up your art collections, crystal, silver, and anything that could be stolen or broken. You’ll be moving it anyway, so you might as well get it ready ahead of time.
Make a List
Ask your realtor or a friend to help you put together a list of items that need fixing. Walk slowly through every room and look for obvious defects, such as loose door handles, burnt out light bulbs, leaking taps, or stained carpeting. Add to the list little irritants or eyesores, such as slippery rugs or dangling extension cords. You might as well take the time to make repairs before buyers knock on the door.
Clean Like You’ve Never Cleaned Before
Once the clutter is out of the way, you can really get to some thorough cleaning. Cleaning for home staging goes beyond a regular house cleaning routine. You’ll want to really concentrate on bringing a sheen to every surface of your home.
Make a list and do the work yourself or hire a cleaning crew to come in after you’ve moved out the clutter — and just before your home goes on the market. Check every surface including windows (inside and out) and window sills, ledges, door knobs, ceiling fan blades, mini blinds, ceiling, and floor corners — and make sure they’re clean. It might be helpful to make a list of things to be done in every room. Check off the items as you complete them.
Create a Welcoming Entrance
Remember the outside of your house when you’re getting ready for sellers. After they see your home from the street, they’ll notice the front door and porch. Spend some time and money getting this area beautiful.
Wash, scrub or repaint the front door so that it shines. Replace the door handle if it is weathered and unsightly. Clean any windows in this area until they sparkle. Add a fresh topiary or planter and keep it watered and trimmed. Stand outside and look into your entry area. It will be the first thing buyer’s see of the inside of your home. Is it welcoming, clean and uncluttered?
Rearrange the Furniture
Remember that the purpose of this preparation is to sell your home fast. What worked for your family may not work for an open house. You may need to call in help from friends or a pro to help you rearrange the furniture for a smooth traffic flow and maximum impact.
Rethink your accessories in every room. Keep in mind — uncluttered, elegant, colour-coordinated and beautiful. Again, less is more, so pare down and box up anything “extra” or unneeded.
Fresh Flowers and Plants
Look carefully at your houseplants. If they’re leggy, dying, or otherwise scraggly, it’s time to give them a new home or toss them out. Start over with some new plants, or there are plenty of great fake plant options these days at places like Kmart. Be sure to place the plants in clean and attractive pots.
Turn Up the Light
Dark areas are uninviting, so keep the lights on. Some quick fixes might include opening the blinds, adding lamps, increasing bulb size, or replacing dated light fixtures. Adding some candles will create extra light and ambience, not to mention the nice smell.
Clean and neat is obvious. But also consider replacing torn and frayed old towels with a couple of fresh new ones. Put a plant on the vanity, and remove all personal care items from the counter-tops. Put the dirty laundry somewhere else (perhaps in the washer). Polish the mirror until it glows and think about adding some candles here also.
Keep It Up
Don’t undermine your hard work by ignoring basic maintenance during the weeks your home is being shown. Keep up on watering the plants, polishing the mirrors, dusting the front door, and keeping clutter at bay.
Get Your Free ‘From Chaos to Calm – The Ultimate De-Cluttering Guide’ E-Book
Your home should be your sanctuary and where you come at the end of the day to rest, not be bombarded by the visual clutter that causes you stress
Coming home should feel like a big warm hug and I want to help you to get that hug every day
If you haven’t done so already and to help you get your home ready for sale and to help you keep your new home tidy, de-cluttered and comfortable – I’m offering my free e-book ‘From Chaos to Calm – The Ultimate De-Cluttering Guide’ when you sign up to Harp Interiors (not too often I promise) newsletter
The Harp Interiors newsletter is full of loads of tips and tricks for decorating your home and a bit of fun too
Good luck with your de-cluttering and re-decorating
I’d love to see your results – who doesn’t love a good before and after!
And of course, if you need my help I’m always here for you