Everyone knows that selling and buying a home is one of the most stressful things you can do. You want to sell quickly and for the top price, of course. But that isn’t something that’s just down to luck. Your home needs to appeal to the widest range of people and it needs to sell a ‘lifestyle’ to your target market. How do you do this?
Home Staging has become a buzzword in the real estate industry for around the last 10 years. What does it mean? Well, it’s a way to appeal to your buyers so that they not only see the positives and potential in your home, but they also can easily picture themselves living there. It’s making sure your home stands out above the competition when the market is high, and appeals to the widest range of buyers when the market is low.
So if you are preparing your home for sale and you want to get the maximum amount of money for it as well as sell it quickly, then there are steps you can take to maximise your sale and reduce your risk of turning off potential buyers. You may not have the biggest or fanciest home out there, but with a bit of work and elbow grease and a small investment, you can sell quicker than your neighbour. Here’s how:
Step 1 – Stop thinking about it as ‘your’ home
This is a tough one, especially if you have lived in your home for years. It holds precious memories for us, it’s personal, it’s become a part of the family. But when you’re selling, mentally thinking about it as no longer yours is very important. It’s time to think about it as a product to be sold. If you’re struggling, picture yourself handing over your keys to the new owners and walking into your new home, starting fresh and looking forward into the future.
Step 2 – De-personalise
Pack up those family photographs, remove the kid’s drawings from the fridge, remove the wall decal proclaiming your family ‘rules’. You want a buyer to view your home thinking about their own family, not yours. Pack up those precious items carefully and when you move into your new home, these items will make it feel more personal rather quickly.
Step 3 – De-clutter
We amass a ridiculous amount of “stuff” while we live in our homes. Take the opportunity to clear out the things you no longer love or that are no longer needed. Pack books into boxes, clear your kitchen worktops, clear out your wardrobe and donate anything you haven’t worn in the last year to charity and store out of season clothes away, remove any dusty knick-knacks from the shelves and only leave a few. Think of it as getting a head start on the packing you will need to do soon anyway.
Step 4 – Clean your cupboards and get organised
Viewers are nosy! And while you may think they won’t look into cupboards and drawers, you’d be mistaken, because they will. So unfortunately, clearing up by cramming all your miscellaneous items into an overstuffed cupboard to the point where they may just fall on someone’s head when they open the door, just isn’t going to work here. You need to get organised. If a potential buyer opens a cupboard and sees spice jars in order or neatly folded clothing, they will likely believe you have taken good care of the home they are viewing. Check out all our tips for an organised home here.
Step 5 – Rent a storage unit
If you have too much furniture (that over-stuffed guest room/office perhaps or those extra three chairs blocking the living room you were going to repaint eventually) or accessories (the snowboard and bikes in your hallway that you have to practically climb over to get into the house), you might want to consider renting a storage unit while you’re selling. The more space there is in the house, the bigger it will appear to prospective buyers. Consider removing the extra leaf in your dining table to make it smaller and remove any furniture that may be blocking walkways or doors.
A home filled to the brim with too much of anything only says there isn’t enough room in this home – that’s not the message you want to send buyers, right? So while it may be more expense, selling quicker in the short term may mean it’s an investment worth making. Ensure every room’s functionality is clear too – turn the awkward alcove into a reading nook by simply moving a chair and a small lamp into the space. If you’ve been using your 2nd bedroom as storage, now’s the time to show it off as a proper bedroom.
Step 6 – Repair and Revamp
All of those jobs you’ve been putting off now need to be sorted. Fix that leaky faucet, put another coat of paint on that chipped skirting board, repair the broken paving stone on your front patio. You may want to completely repaint rooms where needed (in a neutral colour) if you have any bold or dark colours or where the paint work is dirty or marked. Replace any worn cushions or bedding with inexpensive fresh bedding in neutral colours. If you’ve removed family photos from walls, get the filler out and repair the holes left behind, sand down the filler and repaint. Consider replacing your shower curtain or bathmat and hang fresh towels up.
If you have lots of unappealing and dated appliances in your home, consider buying new matching appliances to give your kitchen an instant upgrade. A home that is in ‘move in’ condition will sell quicker than a home that looks tired and needs some love. If your buyers can picture themselves not having to worry about the hassle of small repairs and large replacements, you are making it much easier and quicker to sell your home.
Step 7 – Maximise the light
While those dark, heavy curtains may be great at keeping in the heat, they will also block any sunlight. A light bright home is normally top of the wishlist for most buyers so maximise any light by removing them completely. Sheer and unlined curtains will filter light beautifully without blocking it. If you have a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight (like a North-facing room) consider adding additional lighting in the room by way of floor and table lamps and replace low-wattage bulbs with higher-watt ones. If you have painted a room in a very dark colour, you may want to consider repainting it in a brighter, neutral tone.
Step 8 – Give the house a good clean
Now that the house is cleared out and bright, it’s time to clean it like it’s never been cleaned before! This is not a quick once over with the vacuum, it’s all about attention to detail. Dust skirting boards, light fixtures and clean light switches. Make sure your windows and window sills are sparkling clean (both inside and out), eradicate any cobwebs on the ceilings, clean your light fixtures, polish your taps until they gleam, bleach any stained grout and clean the inside of your oven.
Consider dotting some fresh flowers around the house as well which always make a home look a little more cared for. Don’t forget to open the windows and air out your rooms, even more important if your home is older (musty/damp smells), you have pets or smoke. Consider getting the carpets professionally cleaned. A prospective buyer may be quick to judge if they see your home as dirty – and they may feel you haven’t taken good care of your home. Have a look at our Spring Cleaning checklist for more ideas.
Step 9 – Maximise your curb appeal
Walk around your property and have a good objective look at your outside space. Are there overgrown plants or trees blocking the light? Prune them back. Weed the front and back and consider a few planters with fresh potted flowers to give maximum curb appeal. You may want to consider giving your front door a new lick of paint or replace the fixtures with new ones (or at the very least, give them a good polish so they shine!).
Rake any fallen leaves, remove any dead plants and sweep any paths. If you live in a flat, make sure communal entries are tidy and the door to your flat is clean. If you have a back garden, remove any kid’s toys or rusted furniture, plant pots that have seen better days and mow the lawn. Give everything a good weeding. power-spray any decking and remove moss from footpaths. Replace or repair any broken or old fencing that has seen better days.
Step 10 – Take some pictures
You’re almost done! Now, grab your camera or phone and take a few pictures of your home. Look at the pictures objectively as if you were a buyer – does the home look clean, tidy and well presented? Are there any glaring things that you no longer noticed after living in a home for so long? It’s time to remove yourself completely from your home and see it as merely a house. Is there anything left to do? If not, then you are ready for viewers! Well almost…
Step 11 – Remove your pets
If you have pets, consider having family or friends watch them while viewings are taking place. Fido may get very excited about company but having him jump on potential viewers with dirty paws may not be the best first impression. Even better, take your furry friend out for a walk when viewings take place. Cat litter trays may need to be removed to another location or stored out of sight while the viewing is taking place and clean any cat flaps. If you have any ‘creepy’ critters like snakes or mice, these may deter potential buyers so make sure to give them to someone else to look after during viewings. Which leads us to our last point…
Step 12 – Get out of the house!
Not only do you want to remove your pets during a viewing, you want to remove yourself! Your agent knows the best way to sell your home so let him or her get on with the job at hand and stay out of the way. Take a walk with the dog, go to the local pub or visit with the neighbours. Buyers don’t really appreciate the home owners hovering around while they’re trying to be nosy! You want them to be as comfortable as possible to explore every inch of the home that you’ve lovingly taken care of and give them all the more reason to buy your house!
Image sources: The Sawdust Diaries / Wise Decor / Lily / Jennifer Kathryn Photography for The Every Girl / Brooke Palmer Photography for Style Me Pretty / Brittany Ambridge Photography for Domino Magazine / Love by Serena Photography for Style Me Pretty / Fantastic Frank / Decorpad / Temple of Cats