By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality
So you've decided to sell your home. While you're preparing for this next chapter in life, keep some of your attention and energy on the importance of preparing your home to outshine all others on the market. Selling your home in the shortest amount of time, receiving your asking price and having an all-around flawless sale can be achievable if you properly prepare this (very large) item you're about to sell. Here are my tips to ensure that success.
1. Emphasize the idea of move-in ready
A neutral palette (regardless of how boring you may think it is) will always be a timeless choice when it comes to paint, furniture and window coverings. And you don't need to be a professional interior designer to arrange things within your home – visit some model homes in your area and take note of how they're staged. Simple DIY projects go a long way.
2. Declutter and depersonalize
Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home; need to envision how they can make it theirs. Simplify spaces (including entryways) by removing everyday items such as TV remotes, schoolwork, piles of laundry, to-do lists on the fridge, personal photos and excessive amounts of pet toys. Clean out closets and begin boxing up items. If you know you're moving, why not get a head start on your packing anyway? Clean, well-organized and minimal closets showcase space potential, not your personal items. And adding fresh flowers, plug-in air fresheners, a foyer table, simple décor and a nice rug can give buyers that well-needed hug when they enter your home!
3. Appeal to the senses
Walk your home and ask yourself (or others), "What do you see, smell, touch and hear?" Deep clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company to make it sparkle – it gives buyers the impression the home has been well cared for. Remember, sticky floors and filthy light switches appeal to no one. If you have pets, consider confining them to one area of the house while your home is on the market. Barking dogs (or chirping smoke detectors) can hurry a potential buyer along during a showing. Consider leaving on some instrumental music during showings to appeal to your buyers' ears.
4. Remove the eyesores
Look around your home and ask yourself these questions: "Would I purchase this home today? Do I like the overall style? Is my home dated? Is my backyard a sanctuary for a family?" The answers to these questions will help you identify the eyesores. Look for items in your home that are dated, have harsh patterns or edgy colors, are too small to fill a wall or are too large on a small one. Styles that clash with one another, aged wallpaper, broken items you can't repair, rusted car parts or clutter in your yard or patios all create eyesores. It's better to have an empty wall, an empty room or nothing at all than something that doesn't work for the space or is unappealing. Mirror your space after current styles and trends found in design magazines.
5. Consider using my checklist
Here is my checklist when I am staging a home. This list has never failed me and keeps me accountable – and sets my Realtor up for success!
- Grass is cut, edged and looks healthy.
- Weeds are pulled.
- Any dead bushes or trees have been removed.
- Simple flowers or wild grasses are added on patios and porches.
- House itself is cleaned and/or power washed.
- Toys, yard hoses, dog leashes, dog waste, yard statues are all cleaned up and put away.
- Back patio and yard are "lightly staged" with plants, cushions on chairs, and rugs under seating areas
and patio table. Add outdoor lanterns and candles.
- Patio or deck is cleaned.
- DIY projects are completed. To include: freshly stained deck, repaired broken floorboards, loose
banister railings, exterior lights, sheds or outbuildings organized and cleaned. Any landscaping
projects are not left incomplete. Large cracks in driveways or sidewalks are repaired.
- Home smells clean, looks clean, is decluttered and appeals to the senses.
- Eyesores are removed.
- Personal photos and items are put away.
- Daily messes and countertop items (in both the kitchen and bathroom) are put away.
- Toiletries, perfumes and jewelry are not left on vanity counters.
- Small appliances, dishes and kitchen needs are not cluttered on kitchen counters
- Fresh flowers or artificial plants are placed throughout the home to add life
- Color palettes and themes in each space are transformed to a more neutral palette. Bold patterns in décor or too many colors are minimized.
- Themes and prominent styles in home are minimized as to not assume the home is exclusively Santa Fe style, Tuscan style, Western, etc.
- DIY projects are completed. To include: replacing dated textures, fixtures, wallpaper, window coverings, faucets, general household repairs, etc.
Keep these items in mind when staging your home for resale, and you'll enter the selling process with the confidence your home deserves!