Staging/prepping is anything relating to getting your home ready to go on the market. If the goal is to get the best price for your property, most homes could use a little sprucing up. You want to make sure the house looks well loved and tidy to the Buyers who are going to consider buying it. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) spend a lot of money getting the house ready. However, spending a little money staging will cost you a lot less than a price reduction! Look at any design/decorating magazine as a blueprint for how a home should be presented. You never see kitchen counters full of appliances or bathroom vanities full of personal grooming products. Thinning out your personal belongings a bit is a good place to start. Contrary to some popular advice, you don’t have to strip away every bit of evidence that real people actually live in the house – every family photo does not have to be removed – just don’t have an overwhelming number of them all over the place. We also suggest you pack up collections of stuff that are personal – for example, a big collection of vintage cameras. Thin out furniture if the house looks a bit crowded. If you have stuff bursting out of the closets, tidy those up as well – overstuffed closets just make it look like you don’t have much storage space. It’s relatively inexpensive to go to public storage and rent a storage space. They almost always have a special for $1 for the 1st month and they don’t require any commitment – it’s month to month. Craigslist.org is also a great source for selling stuff you don’t want to move or getting rid of stuff fast. They have a free section and we’ve used it to get rid of scrap metal and old appliances. There are tons of people who will gladly take stuff like that off your hands. No point in paying a junk hauler to take it away. Don’t go too far with staging. In our opinion, setting the table with dishes and place settings is going overboard – it’s like having a huge neon flashing sign that says this house is staged, this house is staged, this house is staged.
In some cases, a professional stager may be worth the expense. They can also bring in just a few pieces of furniture or do a complete stage providing every piece of furniture and all art work and accessories. They usually charge a flat fee that includes the first 3 months and then charge a monthly fee beyond that. They can really transform a home and their fee can easily pay for itself and more.
It’s well worth the effort to prep the house. Small handyman projects you have put off are worth doing as well – the fewer items that come up in an inspection report the better.
If you have some overgrown shrubs around the house those should be trimmed back or replaced. Fertilizing the lawn a weeks before you go on the market will make the lawn nice and green. Cleaning the leaves out of the gutters is a good idea. Do what you can to let lots of light into the house. Your home should be shown with curtains and blinds open – natural light is a big selling feature – you don’t want your home to appear to be dark if it isn’t. Consider re-painting walls that have really dark bold colors like red or purple since most Buyers aren’t big fans. Studies have shown that many people can’t visualize so don’t leave it up to Buyers to do that. Light, neutral shades are the way to go. Professional house flippers often use whites or light grays and they work great to make a space feel fresh, modern and crisp. Spend time and a little money to make sure your home looks nice.
Here are a few easy and inexpensive tips that have a big impact. CLR or any similar calcium and mineral deposit remover will get rid of those unsightly scummy deposits that build up on glass and tile in the bathroom and kitchen area. It’s super easy and safe to use. We have a power washer and it’s great for getting rid of dirt and grime outside the house. We use it to wash cement walk ways and driveways, clean the side of the house and it also takes all that crud off teak patio furniture leaving looking almost new again. It does an amazing job cleaning up Spanish style pavers as well. If the concrete slab by your front door is painted and it shows a lot of chips go over it with a fresh coat of porch paint. Bleach and a little elbow grease can do a lot to clean up grout between tile. Those whitening pens can also make grout look much better. These simple things take years of wear and tear off your home and make it look much more appealing to buyers.
If you’re selling a fixer, you should still make sure it’s clean. Also, everyone should take steps to protect themselves from theft – it’s unfortunately a reality and at times there can be a lot of people at an open house and professional thieves often work in teams. Get jewelry, prescription drugs, bank statements, laptops and other small valuables locked up or out of the house altogether. Better safe than sorry. We’ve never had a theft at our open houses because we make sure our Sellers do this.
The time and effort you put into prepping the house can really pay off and we’re happy to provide the assistance to our clients – we want to make sure we fetch a high price for you.
If you’re expecting multiple offers and don’t want to have long contingency periods for inspections you can also consider hiring a home inspector to inspect your house prior to coming on the market. It typically costs about $400 for the inspection but the advantage is you can give that report to perspective Buyers up front. That way they can potentially shorten their inspection contingency significantly or even eliminate it altogether. This can also decrease the chances of a re-negotiation after the inspection phase.
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