If you’re thinking of selling your Ballard, Phinney Ridge, or Greenlake home the most important thing you can do aside from selecting an experienced real estate specialist is to properly stage your home for sale.
Staging your home for sale means making sure that your home’s best assets ‘pop’ so that a potential buyer sees them right away. After all, if a buyer has to search for the potential in your home they may just pass on it. Here are a few tips that will help you to stage and style your home to sell quickly.
Make Sure Your Home has Curb Appeal
You want to do all that you can to boost the curb appeal of your home. Sure, you have heard this a thousand times, but do you really know what it means? Curb appeal means that when people take a look at your home from outside, the home is attractive and inviting. The fact is people are most likely to drive by the home, sometimes more than once, before they ever take a look inside. This is where staging can make a difference.
Cleaning from the Outside In
We all know that first impressions are the most important. This is especially true when staging your home for sale in the desirable markets Ballard, Phinney Ridge, and Greenlake. You will want to power wash the walkways, and ensure the exterior of the home is clean. Be sure that the house numbers are visible, clean, and easy to read – if a buyer or agent can’t find your home they’ll skip it and go to the next one. Fresh greenery and flowers in bloom are always a nice touch if they match the exterior décor. We live in Seattle: there is always something in bloom. If you can’t think of anything try a quality nursery like Swanson’s in Ballard.
The yard should be manicured and clean. Sod can be added as needed to keep curb appeal up. Windows should be maintained and sparkling clean for as long as the home is on the market. Pay special attention to the front windows. Dirty windows or those with a film on them will drastically affect the amount of light which enters a home. “Lots of light” is a requisite I hear from almost every one of my buyers. Don’t underestimate just how very important clean windows, and therefore a bright sunny interior, are to how a home shows. Finally, the entryway must say “welcome home” to those potential buyers visiting. Make sure that your outside lights are on in the evening times in case a potential buyer comes through. Illuminating lights aligning the walkway is also a good idea generally.
De-clutter your Home Before Showing it
This is very important as it sets the tone for a potential buyer’s visit. The goal is to maximize a feeling of openness and space so that a potential buyer can see themselves living there. Clutter needs to be thrown or packed away and moved out of the home. A storage unit may come in handy, because if you are like most, you likely have at least one room with extra furniture that just doesn’t match the rest of the room. The floors should be clear of anything unnecessary, with the cabinets and walls minimally decorated. The goal is to really maximize open floor space so that a potential buyer “feels” that your rooms are spacious.
While you are still living in the home keeping a showroom appearance may be tough, and that is ok. A balance is healthy. Small touches like flowers, your favorite vases and using decorative (or fresh) fruits on the counter are all good rules of thumb.
While you are at it, keep that dining room table fully set. It should be as inviting as it would be for a holiday feast, but not too formal.
In your bedrooms, you’ll want to ensure that the décor and colors are as neutral as possible. One of the toughest areas to de-clutter is the master bedroom as it has most of your day-to-day personal items and often many of your valuables too. Ideally, all of your valuables are moved to a safe deposit box in your bank. Another option is to move all of your valuable possessions (ie. jewelry) and personal items to a spare suitcase and lock that anytime you leave the home (you never know when someone will visit your house if its listed on the MLS and your agent has put a lockbox on the front door). Of course, you’ll need to keep the linens fresh in all of your bedrooms, and reduce artwork to a few contemporary pieces.
When there is a scheduled viewing or open house it’s a good idea to keep the closets open, but you’ll want to free up at least 30% of the closet space for potential buyers to really appreciate the size of the closet. Another favorite tip of mine is to make sure all the hangers match. I know it sounds silly but having all white or black or wood hangers makes a difference in how neat and tidy a closet looks. Try also putting sachets of cedar in the corner of each closet. It makes the closet smell good without being too “perfumy” and has the added benefit of keeping moths away.
In the bathrooms you want to be sure that you have well hidden all personal accents other than things that are both pristine and appropriate. Even the soap should be clean and fresh. Everything should be looked at as if you were a visitor. Glass walls and shower doors should be squeegeed after every use. Towels should match and be fresh. Toilets, tubs, showers, and sinks should be hospital clean.
If you have an upper floor placing an eye catching piece just at the top of the stairs may help entice your potential buyer to view the entire house rather than leaving after just looking at the first floor. You do want to add a pop of color or an interesting piece of art here and there to keep visitor’s interest throughout the tour. If you have areas that are a bit awkward like room under the stairs or a nook then find a unique way to showcase that area. An office area or built in shelves could turn that once awkward area into the homes biggest selling point.
A very important item if you have pets is to eliminate pet odors as much as possible. There are numerous sprays and air fresheners that do this and you’ll have to ensure its done daily. The goal is to must remain vigilant in keeping everything picked up, odor free and clean. Be cautious of strong, artificial or cheap products. Many people will be immediately turned off if upon entering a home they are overwhelmed with a scent. Best to be impeccably clean and use natural scents (pine, flowers, essential oils).
Remember, staging your home to sell is really important, and it should not be taken lightly. The sooner you address this the better as it really is time-consuming and requires planning. Buyers will examine your home from every angle, so make sure that your home is inviting and appealing from top to bottom, inside and out.
If you’re thinking of selling your Ballard, Phinney Ridge, or Greenlake home and don’t know where to start in staging your home, please contact me today. I can provide you with expert advice after visiting with you or if you’d like the help of professionals, I can refer you to local staging experts we’ve worked with in the past.