Home Staging

By: Alan Olson

So you've decided to sell your home. Maybe you're relocating, maybe trading up. Whatever your reasons for moving, you want to be sure you get the highest price for your current home. The key is to make sure potential buyers viewing your home get the best possible first impression. That's where home staging comes in.

Home staging is about fixing up those little aesthetic and functional flaws in your home that you've learned to live with over the years. Let's face it, you didn't have time to fix that sticking cupboard door, and it still worked fine so it wasn't a priority. But when a potential buyer opens it to see how big the cupboards are, that stick could turn them off buying your home. These little flaws can add up, making it appear as though the home wasn't well cared for and potentially lowering its value. So before putting your home on the market, have a look around with an objective eye to what could use fixing. And remember, a little money spent now will make you money when your home sells. Here's some tips on what to look for:

The first thing a buyer will see is the front of your home. Is the walk-way clear and the landscaping tidy? What about the paint or siding? Is it faded or peeling?. Freshly painting or washing a house is relatively inexpensive, and makes a world of difference to the appearance of your home. Keep your colors neutral so they appeal to all tastes.

Next consider doorways. Do doors stick as they open or close? Do they have trouble latching? Have they been scratched by pets or damaged in any other way? Are the frames still in good shape? Consider repairing or replacing anything that doesn't look or work its best.

Inside your home, the more of the actual home that a buyer can see, the better. This means it's a good time to tidy up any cluttered surfaces. Consider putting excess furniture and decorative items into storage until after your house is sold, or even having a garage sale for items you are ready to part with. A minimally furnished and sparsely decorated home looks cleaner and more appealing, and has less of your personal emotional feel to it. It leaves room for potential buyers to mentally fill in the blanks with their own belongings. Even outside the home, if boats, bikes and RVs block the view of your property line, a buyer may be discouraged. Consider storage for these items as well, until you can move them to your new home.

Pay attention to details. Are the kitchen appliances dull? Is there faded paint or peeling wallpaper? Are counters or molding chipped? Is there caulking peeling off around bathtubs or sinks, or mildew stains on tiles or back splashes? Are toys laying around or is the cat litter box in plain view? Is there garbage or recycling overflowing anywhere? Are there any plumbing or wiring problems? Now is the time to get these things cleaned up or fixed. If there are any safety hazards, make these your top priority, but never underestimate the power of good aesthetics to sell your home.

Finally, make sure the furniture, carpets, bedspreads and window dressings that you have decided to keep on display are clean. Consider having them cleaned professionally. Hang clean towels in your clean bathroom. All of this will not only improve the appearance, but also the odor of your home.

You may be feeling like all these little repairs will get expensive. Hopefully many of them can be done by you, but keep in mind that a well-done job is worth it in the long run. It can not be stressed enough how a little financial investment at this stage in the selling process will earn you money in the end. So don't hesitate, fix what needs fixing. Your future profits depend on it.

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