The prime selling season has started at Lake Oconee, prompting many would-be sellers here (and those who must sell in order to be here!) to prepare their homes to show. I have studied professional staging, and practiced it, but have to admit that most homeowners can prepare a home to sell themselves. One can find staging lists in newspapers, Pinterest, magazines, etc. The most important task for the homeowner/stager is to disconnect their personal pride in the home you made for your family, and to look at the home as a product to sell.
The best analogy that I know for selling a home is to imagine that you are selling your car, trying to get the best price. First you have it detailed, then you remove your personal items from the car: windshield stickers for families, schools, and areas; rear-view mirror fragrance hangers, and car seats. A car that is perfectly clean and devoid of personal add-ons will be more attractive to a potential buyer.
Thus, the first step in preparing your house to sell is to meticulously clean it, inside and outside. Don’t forget the lawn, make edging neat, and even plant new shrubs and flowers if necessary. The second step is decluttering. (As I type this word my spell check reminds me that it is not really a word, but stagers have coined it to describe the process of removing objects that are not necessary!) Homeowners can do these processes themselves, ask a talented friend to do it, or hire a handyman.
Even if you have lived with dirty windows, it is a turnoff for potential buyers!
Aside from the basic staging, here are some of my personal tips learned from experience for preparing to sell homes, illustrated with photos from my own files:
1. First impressions are important! Repaint your entry door and/or buy new hardware for it. Have attractive plantings to add color to the front of the house.My gift to each new listing owner is a new door mat.
2. Buy new, small decorative items to perk up your home’s look. I often purchase inexpensive decorative pillows, towels, vases, pictures, artificial fruit at big box stores. Choose one bright color (red or blue) to unify your look from room to room. New towels (never used by people) soften a bathroom’s look, and can be inexpensive. Bowls of fruit add color to a kitchen or dining room.
3. Remove personal reminders of your family from sight. Homeowners often overlook partially used shampoos,toothpaste etc. in bathrooms (buy a little bucket to swiftly tuck them away). A few personal pictures are good, they remind buyers that a family lived here, but whole walls of photos are a little much! Collected souvenirs of favorite sports teams may not appeal to buyers, so pack them away. Refrigerator magnets are a no-no!
4. Re-position furniture if needed. I once had a seller refuse to move the position of his favorite TV chair that accommodated his needs, but was misplaced in the room! Be creative, furniture does not need to be against a wall. Invite a friend who has an eye for design to help you see the best placement. Be mindful of traffic patterns, or conversational grouping.
5. Don’t stage every room. If you have already moved out, or your guest rooms or office look neat, don’t worry. The most important rooms to stage are Kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom, and all Bathrooms. Buyers want to know if the master bedroom will have space for the bed they prefer. Many times I have taken towels, artificial flowers, spa products, and pictures to vacant homes. I usually stage a fireplace mantel in the main room, too. It looks more like home.
Staging does work! Let go of your personal preferences and make your home look neutral for the average buyer so they can see themselves in the home.
For further advice on Staging, or buying a home for sale at Lake Oconee,
just give us a call.
Contact us at RE/MAX Lake Oconee
Suzie Hudson 706-347-1115, or Jim Hudson, 706-453-6253.
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