Thinking of selling your home this spring? The time to prepare is right now, and staging it properly is key. “Staging is a method of preparing your home that is meant to highlight your home’s most impressive assets and help buyers imagine themselvesmoving in and living there. Do it right, and you should have no problem selling your home quickly,” says Susan Corvo of Susan Corvo Redesign, who has extensive experience both staging and decorating homes throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties. Here are the five steps you need to follow, according to Corvo:
Step 1: Make a Great First Impression with Curb Appeal
When someone drives up to your house what do they see? How does your house look from the street? Many buyers will do drive bys before they even call a realtor to book a showing. You want them to be so impressed with the curb appeal that they are clamoring to get inside. A well-manicured landscape and gardens will attract buyers. You need to lure them into the house starting with the mailbox by replacing it if needed or painting. Make sure you have some flowers planted around the area both annuals and perennials. Make sure they see a beautiful enticing front entrance. Have flowers blooming with the shrubs. Power wash the walkway. And by all means, wash the front door and give it a fresh coat of paint. Buy a new, attractive welcome mat. Make sure the lights are clean with new bright bulbs. No toys should be present and no trash cans in site. Garden hoses should be wound and out of site as well. Gardens mulched with brown not red mulch. Your gutters should be in good condition and not overflowing with leaves.
You need to pack away a good percentage of everything in the room in order to create a more clean, open and spacious feel. Remove family photos, personal items, nic nacs, decorations and lighten up bookshelves. It’s harder for someone to imagine themselves living there if they’re looking at pictures of your family. Anything religious should be removed as well because not everyone is religious or is the same religion as you. Remove all toiletries from showers/vanity tops, toilet bowl cleaners/brushes and extra rolls of toilet paper. No towels or bathrobes should be hanging in bathroom. Get rid of unnecessary furniture, and anything that can be stored until after closing. If buyers can’t tell whether or not you live there, you’ve done your job well.
As for cleaning, it needs to sparkle in every nook and cranny. The window sills should be scrubbed, screens cleaned or replaced and windows washed inside and out. Your beds must always be made, clothes put away, and no dirty dishes in sink or dishwasher. No laundry in baskets and no used towels hanging in bathrooms. All toiletries removed from vanity and shower.Baseboards need to be washed and touched up with paint and caulk. And by no means should there be mold and mildew in the shower or soap scum on the glass enclosure. You should remove all toiletries from the shower before a showing. Clean under beds, behind appliances, inside appliances, in your garage and anywhere that does not get cleaned regularly. A super clean home shows a potential buyer that you take care of it and care about it.
Each room should be bright, warm and inviting. Paint the walls a neutral color that works with your flooring, counters and furniture. Gray is not for every home—get a color consult to choose the correct neutral color. Outdated wallpaper must be removed and walls painted. Wood floors should be in good condition or consider sanding and adding a coat of polyurethane. Old carpeting should be replaced or removed if hardwood floors exist underneath. Buyers would rather see wood or tile floors versus carpeting. As for lighting, replacing old fixtures with modern ones has a great impact on buyers. Make sure all light bulbs are in working order in recessed lights and lamps. Use the highest watt bulb possible in each fixture. Update your decor with new pillows, accessories and bedding. If you don’t have the money to buy a new bed, just get the frame, buy an inexpensive air mattress and dress it up with neutral-patterned bedding! Home buyers want to see updated appliances (stainless) and updated counters (granite or quartz). Painting cabinets both in the kitchen and bath and changing the hardware is a great way to update. Buyers think the cost of renovation is double the actual cost. They want move-in ready.
You need to make it look like you never had a pet if at all possible. New buyers will smell the smells and notice the fur, stains, and wreckage left behind by your animal. If they are allergic to animals, they will not buy your house if they notice major evidence of dogs or cats. Do whatever it takes to eliminate these signs, including shampooing or replacing carpet, repairing sod and fences and keeping the dog at a friend’s house during showings. Never leave a litter box out in the open.In general, a deep clean should take care of any lingering smells, but also be sure to always clear out your trash bin before showings so buyers aren’t hit with any offensive scents. You may want to install a small scented plug-in in a couple of rooms too (or just one may be okay, depending on the size and layout of your home).
Step 5: Have Photos Taken
Online presence is of the utmost importance. 99% of all buyers look online first. Your pictures need to capture their attention and stand out amongst the competition. You want as many pictures as possible and they need to be professionally done. Do not include all wide-angle photos because it distorts your home. You want the photos to include several angles and allow the buyer to visualize the flow of the home. Get pictures of almost every room. A listing that does not show a room leaves the buyer feeling questionable and concerned. Be sure to add fresh flowers to the counter or island and foyer. As I have mentioned before, you only get one chance to make a great first impression!