Sunday, April 12, 2009

Staging to Sell

Pricing your home correctly is still key to selling quickly, but there are many steps that owners should follow before putting theirhomes on the market to ensure that they will get the best price possible in a short period of time. Once the decision has been made to sell, owners must be ready to shift from how they are used to living in their home to how they should market the house or apartment to a broad base of potential buyers. This requires an objective assessment and a willingness to edit, repair, paint, clean-up and "stage."

Edit: You're selling space. Your home is not a furniture showroom. If you plan on giving away some furnishings before you move, do it now. And if the pieces are important to you, consider moving the excess to mini-storage. Rooms that feel spacious with good flow have high appeal. Pack away all but a few personal photographs and reduce the number of accessories and knickknacks on display. Worn bedspreads, shams, mats, towels and shower curtains need to be replaced.

Repair: You will need to call the plumber and have the toilet that's been leaking for six months fixed. And all those other "minor repair" jobs you've been putting off need attention. A lot of small nuisance items can add up to an impression of a house that needs a lot of work. If you have cracks in your walls or buckling floors, potential buyers will assume major renovation is required.

Paint: Nothing lifts the energy of a home as instantly as a fresh paint job. There may be no better short-term investment you can make than to paint your home in a light color that will appeal to a majority of buyers before you put it on the market.

Clean up: Get rid of the clutter! Books can be donated to libraries and charitable thrift shops are pleased to take items of value. Throw the rest out. Mini-storage is another solution if you can't bear to part with your clutter immediately. Now make sure the entire home is clean, and that includes carpets, draperies, blinds and windows. Bathrooms should have a spa feeling and kitchens should be immaculate. Mustiness, smoke, dampness, strong food and pet odors are instant turn-offs to potential buyers, but there are cleaning and air filtering products on the market that solve these problems.

Stage: Now you're ready to showcase your home. If you don't have enough lighting, purchase additional uplights and lamps. You've edited your furnishings and accessories, so you will probably have to do some rearranging and rehang some pictures. Don't overcrowd the walls. Remember you're selling the room not art. Add color to your rooms with fresh or good quality silk flowers, green plants or trees, throw pillows and bowls of fruit.

Checklist: Go through your home as a potential buyer. Take note of what you are seeing in the first 90 seconds - because potential buyers are already forming impressions during this initial viewing. Are the best features of your home showcased? Is everything in good working order? Do the rooms feel light and fresh and welcoming? Your home may look so fabulous you won't want to move!