selling your home faster and for more

First impressions make a significant impact on a buyer's decision-making process! Once your home goes on the market, it becomes a product. Home Styling or Staging simply allows you to highlight the best of your home and de-emphasize its flaws. It's not about decorating, but actually turning your home into a model, to appeal to the broadest range of prospective buyers. The goal is to make people feel like they could live there, and the best way to do this is to "neutralize" the surroundings without making it look steril. 

Try out these helpful styling tips taken from Setting the Stage - REALTOR® Magazine Online. They've compiled the best tips from stagers and real estate pros—many times things you can do for little or no expense—to put your home in prime showing shape.

  • Most importantly clear out closets and clutter—for example sellers can give away or pack up excess toys, books, magazines, clothes, linens, and small kitchen appliances to store offsite. Buyers are also forgiving of storage boxes neatly tucked away in a garage or basement.
  • Focus on the most visible areas—the foyer, kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and family room.
  • De-personalize the home by removing photos, mementos, and dated items.
  • Use plants in colorful pots or inexpensive wicker baskets to fill in empty spaces.
  • Look to home catalogs for little details on beautifying the home. For instance, arrange books, pictures, and objets d’art appealingly on bookcases. Remove oversized furniture to open up space which makes rooms look larger.
  • Try angling one or two pieces of furniture slightly and move furniture 4 to 6 inches from the wall to create more interesting room spaces.
  • Put away large collections—figurines, plates, and so on.
  • Remove valuables, prescription medicine, papers, and any personal items in general.
  • Trim trees, prune shrubs, weed the flower beds, and make sure the lawn is mowed and watered regularly.
  • In summer, turn on the sprinklers for five minutes, 30 minutes before the open house. It makes the lawn and driveway sparkle.
  • Refrain from cooking anything that leaves a distinctive odor, such as fish, garlic, or cabbage.
  • Hire a professional service to clean the home, including the carpets, drapes and windows.
  • Set the dining room table with attractive linens, dishes, and stemware.
  • Arrange fresh or silk flowers throughout the home.
  • Light a fire in the fireplace in fall and winter.
  • A mirror in a pretty frame can make a small room feel more open.
  • Use as much natural light as possible. Add extra lamps in dark rooms or corners.
  • Make functional repairs—fix dripping faucets, sticking doors, squeeking hinges, cracked glass panes, hanging gutters and broken fences.
  • Bring in another pair of eyes—even if it’s not a professional stylist. The other person may see problems you have missed.

Look at your house from a buyer’s point of view. Forget about how cute your 1-year-old looked when she learned to crawl on the living room floor and start thinking about your home as a commodity. This will help you to assess the condition of your home more objectively.  Once you see your house from a potential buyer’s perspective, you can make the changes needed to allow your house to stand out.

Have a home inspection. I highly recommend a home inspection if your home is older than 10 years old. Why not spend 300 or 400 bucks to clearly define what’s wrong or what’s right? You’ll avoid surprises when the buyer conducts their inspection of your home. With this done, you can be proactive and fix all of the house’s problems before it goes on the market, saving buyers time and making their decision to buy your house even easier!

Don’t be the worst house on the block. If the standard in your neighborhood is to have granite countertops and state-of-the-art appliances, then your house should include those features. If you have a home that is second-rate for the neighborhood you live in and you bring it up to the neighborhood norm, you’re going to get a good return on your investment when it is time to sell. There is so much inventory on the market today, your house will not get a serious consideration if it’s substandard.

De-personalize and de-clutter your home’s décor. Let potential buyers imagine their own possessions and décor choices more easily in the home. This means removing clutter such as toys, exercise equipment, family pictures and mementos. It is hard for a potential buyer to notice the beautiful mantel if it is covered with distracting personal photos. Light and airy is inviting, so you should repaint any colored rooms in neutral beiges or whites. Enlist the help of a staging professional or get advice from your real estate agent if you have trouble making these choices.

Make a good first impression at floor-level. Install fresh carpet or have your carpet professionally cleaned. If you have hardwood floors shine them up, or have them refinished if necessary. This will prevent buyers from making a lower priced offer on your home because they feel the floors aren’t move-in ready. Also touching up the trim around windows, doors and baseboards makes your home look well cared for.

Choose an experienced ‘online’ agent. Choose an agent, like me, that will  market your home online to reach more buyers 24/7. Having the correct online exposure is like having a billboard on the interstate showing your house is for sale.

Avoid being involved in the showing process. Make buyers feel comfortable in your house and allow them to imagine themselves owning it. When your home is being shown to a potential buyer you should not be at home so that they can feel comfortable to look around the house in detail. There will be always a professional showing agent with them to take care of them, and your property.

Offer a home warranty as an incentive to buyers. A home warranty is a one year service contract that covers such things as the air conditioner, furnace, plumbing and appliances. By offering such a warranty, you will give potential buyers piece of mind during one of the most important decisions they will make. Home warranties are quite affordable, with annual premiums costing $300 to $600, depending on what is covered. Most such contracts also allow the new owner to renew the coverage after the first year is over.

Make sure your home sparkles inside and out. Show potential buyers what your home looks like at its best! Sometimes just power washing your house and your driveway can make all the difference. Try to get it as light and bright looking as possible. Just seeing clean windows is a huge thing for some people.

Keep your landscaping trimmed or replace it if it’s out of date. If the outside of your home looks like it hasn’t been well-cared for then buyers will assume that the inside hasn’t been either. One thing you can do to improve your curb appeal is to keep the lawn mowed and get rid of those overgrowing shrubs. If you’ve got large, overgrowing shrubs that look kind of shotty and unkept, that can affect some of that curb psychological impact. You want potential buyers to drive up to your home and think “this is the place I want to live in!”