Selling a home can be the largest business deal that a person executes in their life. The difference between making a great deal and a bad deal can cost you tens of thousands of dollars for a high average valued home. The magnitude of a home sale should get you actively involved with the process but, unfortunately that is not always the case. When people feel overwhelmed by the process they can enter a state of apathy that leads them to hiring an agent and just waiting for results. The evidence has shown time and time again that staging your home will lead to better offers, quicker sales and an over all better return for your money. If you have hired an agent make sure your home is staged and be sure it is done right.
Work From The Outside to The Inside
Unless you are looking to unload a Beverly Hills Estate most likely don’t need to get a professional to clean up the landscape. So long as you have kept up the lawn care, getting a clean look could be as easy as simple pruning and leaf pick up, maybe throw some turf building seed out to get a nice green yard. Major damage visible from the street will need to be fixed and here is where getting a professional may make sense to fix things like broken gutters or cracks in the driveway. The outside is important because it is the first thing people will see when they come to your home and it can set the tone for the whole showing. A home with poor curb appeal can practically guarantee a 10% lower offer.
Clear The Clutter
If you are planning on staging the home yourself be sure to remove anything that can clutter up the house as well as personal items that may not provide an inviting feel for buyers. A Buyer wants to buy their “new” house, they will not want to buy your “old” house, and it may sound like semantics but it will make a difference. Remove large family pictures from the walls and replace them with nice artwork instead. The less you have in the kitchen the better some basic appliances are great to show how the space is used although they must be spotless, so be sure not to cook bacon before a showing. Bathrooms are a haven for soaps of Christmas past, a suggestion is to just throw them out, if you didn’t use them in the last 5 years you won’t need them in the next 5 years. Bathrooms like kitchens need to be spotless, if you are living in the home while showing it try to minimize the rooms you use so it isn’t a huge hassle when the agent calls to give you a 30-minute warning.
Furnish The Spaces
The staging process is often focused on the placement of furniture and the name of the game is to create appeal, not to create efficiency. If you have lived in the home for some time you have most likely settled into a plan for your furniture but the idea is to show the potential of the house, so you may have to move some items around. When placing furniture be sure to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If your furniture is older or not appealing to a wide portion of your potential buyers then you may need to change it out. Don’t buy furniture unless you intend to keep it, other options include renting furniture or even borrowing from friends. A professional staging company should have plenty of furniture for a great look and if you get the right company it will be included in the service you pay for after closing.
Vacant or Lived In?
The question becomes whether you are going to live there or not while it is showing. There are advantages and drawbacks to both and in the end it is going to come down to a personal decision on your part. Living in a home that is getting shown is a huge hassle but can provide an engaging feel to potential buyers, although a vacant home can be maintained in a show state 24 hours a day. Some staging companies will actually place a home manager in the home to reap the benefits of a lived in home but, keep the home in a show ready state at all times.
Do You Want Professional Help
Getting a professional can take the guesswork out of home staging. Be sure to get the most for your money and get it done with no upfront fees. Many interior design companies pass themselves off as home staging companies as an added revenue source and though some do a great job others leave much to be desired. You shouldn’t pay for the new furniture that you are putting in an old home. The idea of buying new furniture for an old home is outrageous and a professional staging company should have furniture that they place in the home free of charge. Do not write a check until the home sells, if someone wants to partner with you to sell your home then that partnership should be settled when the home closes. Some companies will even help offset utilities while they are managing the home for sale. Be sure to get the most out your sold home because a 10% difference in the final closing price can be as much as a years salary and just because people tend to throw around huge numbers variations when it comes to home remember it is your money.