I owned “WhiteHouse Staging” for three years before becoming an agent. I offer my staging advice as a service to my clients.
Every real estate agent knows that a Comparative Market Analysis consists of three categories of active listings, and three categories of sold listings. The categories are the Average; Maximum and Minimum price per square foot. The difference in price could be many thousands of dollars. Some houses will get the maximum because they have all the latest amenities that buyers want. Other maximum houses will get their price because of the condition of the house. If you are priced over the maximum, you will probably not get showings and no amount of work will help. You must be priced at fair market value, but you might as well get the most for your house you can, right?
So, what does it take? If it sounds like a lot of trouble, well maybe it is. We are talking about a seller with the desire to get TOP DOLLAR. If you are okay with the average than just make sure it is clean.
First, take a really hard look at the drive up appeal. It should be picture perfect. Manicure the shrubs to perfection; plant flowers (bring out the beds with a little shape). Cover any dirt with mulch. Mow and edge. Plant grass where it is missing and trim the trees so the grass can get sunlight if necessary. Keep the lawn watered. Clean those windows where they sparkle! Touch up any paint on the windows, sills, facia and soffit. Also put a fresh coat of paint on the front door.
This might be a great time to replace out-dated or rusted light fixtures and mailbox. Get a fresh door mat. Maybe place an Adirondack chair in the front yard under a shade tree. Now look again. You want a buyer to think Wow when they drive up to your house.
When a buyer walks into your house it takes only FIFTEEN SECONDS to make a first impression. Make sure the first room you see is really knocked out. Edit furniture and accessories. Touch up baseboards, update lighting, make sure all lights are on and the highest wattage bulbs the fixture can take. Another key factor is the sense of smell. If you have pets, do whatever it takes to eliminate pet odors. Not just spray over them, but major cleaning. Same goes for strong cooking odors.
This is also a great time to purchase packing boxes and start packing! Get a storage warehouse space, or neatly stack boxes in the garage. Clean out closets and pantry. You want to at least have the allusion of lots of closet and pantry space. Remove personal photos, children’s art from the refrigerator as well as political and religious items. Think model home. Maybe go check out some builder models and see how neutral the house is. Remember, while it is on the market it more or less ceases to be home, but a “product” for sale. If you can’t achieve a model look on your own, you may want to consider a professional stager. It can make thousands of dollars of difference.
Paint is the least expensive way to make a home feel fresh and new. If you have dingy walls or holes from art, previous touchups, etc, take an afternoon and paint that room. Stay away from bright colors when you have your home for sale.
Remember when you have a showing it is always best to be away from the house. Take both the two and the four legged kiddos with you. Have the lights on and the temperature comfortable.