As seen in Stamford Plus magazine, Summer 2021
Lights… camera… sale! Selling your home is a complex and important deal and one of the crucial elements of getting the best offer is presentation. So, here are some expert home staging tips and essential steps you might want to take to get the best possible offers, and as fast as possible.
It is crucial to depersonalize the home before going on the market. All family photos, diplomas, memorabilia, personal collections, religious and holiday items need to be packed away. Don’t forget about anything displaying your child’s name, calendars hanging on refrigerators or financial information sitting on desks. If you are concerned about removing frames or leaving wall damage; leave the frames and replace the personal photos with something generic like a page from an art book, wrapping paper, wallpaper or an old map. Remember, you are inviting the public into your home to look around! Potential buyers need to appreciate the house and not be drawn into the personal lives of those who live there. It’s human nature to be curious!
People will not be able to evaluate the home if they are distracted by too much stuff! Now is the time to donate or discard anything that is not making the move with you. Buyers must be able to freely move about the home to properly evaluate the space. Window sightlines and high traffic areas need to be clear of obstructions. This can be one of the most difficult parts of moving; disconnecting from the home. Don’t let “holding onto to stuff” cause you to lose a sale. There are several local resources that specialize in helping with this process including organizational consultants & junk removal services. Always remember, you are paying to move these items from one place to another; evaluate what is worth the cost & will you be excited about it when you unpack in your new home?
Buyers shouldn’t be distracted by the color on the walls. We live in our homes very differently than we sell them, therefore make sure any taste specific colors are changed out for softer, more neutral tones that almost disappear and appeal to a wider market, allowing the structure of the home to shine through. There is no more impactful transformation or higher return on your investment than a gallon of paint. You can never go wrong with a light gray, soft beige or simple white. Pay attention to the colors in your floors, tiles or kitchen cabinets when choosing a neutral color. Colors that may work in a new construction may be the wrong choice for an older home.
Now is the time to repair anything that may draw negative attention to home. Oftentimes, things we overlook when living in the home can become a glaring problem when showing the house. If floors need to be refinished, windows replaced, bathrooms re-grouted or kitchen cabinets repaired, now is the time to address these projects. Don’t forget about lightbulbs! Make sure all lamps, overhead lighting and outdoor fixtures have working bulbs. Buyers will notice and they will quickly add up the repair costs as they evaluate the home. If you neglect these small projects, buyers will wonder how well the home has been cared for over the years. Don’t give them reason to walk away!
5. Don’t ignore THE outside!
The first thing buyers see is the front of your house. This is where they will make their first impression. Don’t ignore your curb appeal. Hire a landscaper to clear away any brush from the front walk, mulch the beds, plant vibrant color & strategically place planters. Make sure paint isn’t chipping on the front porch or front door. Check for loose stonework on steps and the driveway; wash the moss away & clean the gutters. Now is the time to pack away kids toys, bicycles, garden hoses, political banners and signs, religious statues, wind spinners, mirror balls, garden gnomes and the like. Adding a simple door mat welcoming buyers to your home is all you need.
Hands down, clean homes attract buyers and sell quicker. Before listing your house, plan for a deep clean, targeting places that don’t normally get a good cleaning. Buyers will often notice dirt that homeowners may have overlooked, and other’s people’s dirt can be off-putting! Ceiling fans, baseboards, tops of wall hanging items and fireplaces need your attention. Pay attention to odors as well. There is nothing worse than pet odor, smoke, mildew or strong food smells when entering a home. Throw away any pet stained carpets or furniture that may be trapping lingering odors. Have wall to wall carpeting cleaned and the windows washed. You will greatly increase the equity in your home with very little cost when you invest in a deep cleaning prior to listing.
Master Bedrooms are one of the most important spaces when selling a home, after kitchens; and there is nothing more impactful, both in person and through the camera lens, than a well-made bed. Strip away older linens and replace with a fresh set. White always photographs the best—reflecting light and making the space feel bigger. Skip bold, bright patterns and add color with coordinating throw pillows and shams. Make sure the bed skirt is ironed and hiding everything under the bed. Tightly tucked sheets, cleared end tables, matching lamps and soft fabrics makes for an inviting and well marketed space.
Removing window treatments does wonders to transform a room. When selling a home, it is so important to let the light in! Remove heavy drapery, broken blinds or any dated choices such balloon shades or valances. Oftentimes, removing the window treatments changes the entire feel and look of a room, including the color on the walls. Paint colors that originally seemed dark or muddy can take on a whole new brightness when exposed to more natural light. It will help brighten the photos as well. If you don’t need treatments for privacy, remove them completely.
Bathrooms that feel spa-like are always exciting to buyers. Clear counters and shelving of all personal effects before selling. Toothpaste, brushes and shampoo bottles should be packed away. All bathmats, bathrobes, older towels, and wastepaper baskets should be tucked away as well. Adding a set of fresh white towels and florals will help elevate the bathroom. Orchids are always a good choice. They photograph well and require little maintenance. Bathrooms can often be small and challenging to photograph. Keep clutter to a minimum so the rooms feels larger.
10. Hire a Stager
Staging actually has very little to do with design and more about properly marketing the home. A stager will make sure the home has proper flow and purpose. They will arrange each room in the most effective way possible; highlighting the best-selling features & distracting from the negative. They can help coordinate color and connection throughout the home that will draw buyers through the house & create an emotional excitement. A stager will offer edits to make the space feel larger and ensure the camera will catch the best angles of the room. A good home stager will partner with both the homeowner and the real estate agent resulting in a crafted marketing plan and an exciting listing capturing buyers from the start. Staging is a unique component to any good marketing strategy & should be customized for each client and property; regardless of the listing price. Stay a step ahead of your competition and hit the market strong and effectively… you will be glad you did!■
Liz Pensiero is the Owner and Principal Stager at Liz Pensiero Staging & Designs, LLC. She can be reached at 203-940-0338 and lizpensierostagingdesigns.com