Yesterday I made a post regarding simple and inexpensive ideas to make your home stand out above all the other homes your potential buyers will see. I covered 2 major projects: painting the home and curb appeal. Today I focus on the interior projects.
Step 1 Staging: Remove the clutter
My home is cluttered. This does not mean messy, it just means the home has our stuff where we want it. And since I live here it can look exactly how I want it to look. However, when your home goes on the market you want to de-clutter it. Your stuff spread throughout the home will make it more difficult for a buyer to picture their stuff there.
Here is a rule of thumb; remove at least half of everything that is in a room. Let’s take the kitchen as a prime example. You have counter space and on it sits the toaster, a mixer, a blender, and cookbooks. When your home is on the market I would suggest placing at least 3 of these items in a cabinet. Sure, it makes living there more difficult but your goal is to sell the home so some sacrifices to life will need to be made.
As you walk into the living room ask yourself what is really needed and what can be packed now. You are moving so you can go ahead and start doing some of the packing now. That overcrowded bookcase or entertainment center adds to clutter. Pack up most of it. Make the unit cleaner and clearer and the result will make the room feel larger.
Another key is removing furniture. Again, you need to strike a balance here between living there and selling the home. Get rid of as many pieces of furniture from the entire house that you can. You want the floor space to be as empty as can be. This will make the room feel larger and also allows the buyer to picture their stuff in the room.
Along with removing the clutter is a good spring cleaning. You want everything to sparkle from the kitchen to the bathroom. If it is clean they will stay. If it feels dirty they will want to get out of the home. I also recommend a steam cleaning for the carpets. It is relatively cheap; much cheaper then replacing the carpets.
Step 2 Staging: Warm feeling
Above this headline is a picture of a de-cluttered and staged home. The living room, which you can only see a portion, is a typical 12X18 living room. In the picture you can see a coffee table, a chair, and table, and what you cant see is an identical chair on the other side of the table. That’s it. There is not another piece of furniture in the room. The dining room table is set with very nice looking settings; ready for a dinner party. The counter window to the kitchen also is staged with a fruit basket and flowers. You walk through the front door and this is what you see. It is quite impressive.
Staging begins be removing the clutter (that was step 1.) The next step in staging is to give the room a warm feeling. A professional can help make your home tell a story. The end result of the story is that the buyer must have this home. A professional stager might cost you some money but if it helps your home sell fast it is well worth the investment. If this is not in your budget your real estate professional could offer you some suggestions. Some key items I would recommend is a nicely set dining room table, green plants, and mirrors.
When a buyer makes an offer on the home and the home goes into escrow then first thing a buyer will do is order a physical inspection. This inspector is there to make sure the basic functions of the home are working and that there are no disasters about to happen.
If you know of a problem fix it now. If you had a leaky pipe hire a plumber to make sure the pipe is repaired and any damage is fixed. You will have to disclose this during the sale process but by being upfront about the situation and showing the buyer the receipts for the repair they will know that you have taken care of the home.
Some other items to look out for are outlets that do not work, dripping faucets, running toilets, water stains under sinks, stains on a kitchen counter (or dirty tile grout), and loose trim or hand rails. Each of these are fairly simple and minor repairs that you can do yourself or hire a local handy man to repair.
Making your home stand out from the rest of the pack is the key to a fast sale. None of these items are extravagant or draining on the pocket book. However, the over all affect on the looks of the home will easily get your home to top of the buyers list.
One other word of caution; do not go overboard. You may be tempted to do some big ticket changes like granite counter tops, replacing all the carpets, or adding new wood flooring. I am not saying don’t do it, I am saying slow down and talk to your professional agent. Some repairs or remodels could cost a lot more than the benefit they will bring.
*Disclaimer – David Cairns is a real estate professional serving San Diego, California and is licensed by the State of California only under CA DRE lic #01890743. All information on davidcares.com is for informational purposes. Information regarding short sales, foreclosures, buying homes, selling homes or any other information is general in nature and is not intended or should be construed as legal, tax, or other advice. Every person has a unique situation; I would be happy to talk to you regarding real estate matters. You must consult a legally qualified person for advice in all other areas before taking any action. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org