With a little sprucing up, your home will be ready for buyers.
We’ve all heard the term ‘curb appeal.’ When getting your home ready for sale, it’s the absolute most important goal you should have. Whether you keep your house immaculate out of habit or you have a tendency towards that ‘lived in’ look, there’s always something you can do to give your house that special something that dazzles buyers.
There’s a reason they refer to this process as ‘staging’ your home; you are not just cleaning up, you are setting a stage, you are creating a sense of peace and wonder. You are giving buyers the feeling that they are already home, much like a set designer of a play gives the audience a sense that they are in another time and place.
So how do we go about creating this illusion? First, you need to change your whole attitude towards your house. Forget all about this being your home. This is now a product you are selling; so depersonalize it. Take down family photos, personal artifacts and anything else that would make a buyer wonder who lives here. You want them to picture themselves living here; not you.
You’ll probably want to consider renting a storage unit, or even begin advertising a garage sale, as you will be doing some heavy-duty housecleaning. You should also be ready to dole out your share of old-fashioned elbow grease. Are you ready to beautify your home and turn it into an experience that no buyer could possibly resist? Let’s begin.
A GRAND ENTRANCE
Walk across the street from your house. What do you see? Do you see neatly trimmed grass or well-maintained landscaping? Do you see gutters clear of pine straw, shingles clear of stains or debris and siding that sparkles? Do you see a driveway bereft of gardening equipment, children’s toys and automobiles? Do you see colorful annuals aligning the pathway to your sparkling entrance? Or do you live in the real world?
What we’ve described is exactly the picture you want to paint for buyers, so get to work. Give the yard the white glove treatment, trimming grass to perfect formation, clearing the landscaping of weeds and defining your yard. If possible, put in a few showy flowers to add a hint of color (aim for marigolds - it’s believed that the color yellow invokes a motivation to buy).
Make sure your house is up to par. Residents of the Lowcountry don’t need to be told what a hassle it can be to keep gutters and roofs clear of pine needles, but buyers don’t necessarily need to be reminded of that right away. Sweep them off the roof and any walkways. Then, inspect the siding, foundation, walkway, front steps and siding for cracks. Check for peeling paint, and touch up as needed.
Another important aspect to making your outside presentable is your doors. Keep the door to the garage closed. A closed garage door makes the entire house look larger, and buyers will want to be able to see it from the inside, anyway. Make sure your front door is clear of cobwebs and other debris, and possibly give it a once over with a soft cleanser. You’d be amazed what a difference a sparkling entryway can make.
AN APPEALING INTERIOR
Now, let’s head inside. Begin by taking a tour of your home, pausing in each entryway to see if every room feels inviting.
Wash, wax, polish and dust everything, down to the smallest nooks and crannies. Wash windows, inside and out. Scrub tubs and sinks, and re-caulk where necessary. Bleach the grout. Keep fresh towels hung in every bathroom.
Next, organize everything. Buyers snoop; it’s just what they do. If they peek into a closet and see shirts hung neatly with care, or find an alphabetized spice rack in the kitchen, it will have two effects on them. First, they will assume that someone with such an attention to detail will have surely kept up with their home’s maintenance, and feel more comfortable about the property. Second, they will make the connection that, by buying this home, they’ll be organized as well (it’s this same principle that puts supermodels in clothing commercials).
One important thing to clear out is furniture. De-cluttering doesn’t just apply to knick-knacks, it applies to any bookshelves, couches and tables that make a room feel smaller. Large, overstuffed sofas are comfortable, but they can crowd a room. Put it in storage.
If you have mostly large pieces of furniture, considering putting them all in storage and renting smaller pieces for the time you are showing the house. As long as you’re getting rid of things, take a look around at your fixtures. Is there a chandelier in the house you can’t part with? A window treatment or built-in that would look perfect in your next place? Get rid of them now, and replace them with an equally attractive alternative. The last thing you need is a buyer falling in love with the house because of the one-of-a-kind antique pedestal sink, only to be told you’re taking it with you.
SEALING THE DEAL
A buyer is much more likely to buy your house if it already feels like his or her house. Think about who might be looking to buy, and get to work making it homey for them.
Once you’ve set the stage, there’s no telling what a spellbinding performance your home might put on for potential buyers.