Getting Ready to Sell?
10 Staging Tips to “Wow” Home Buyers
Preparing any property for sale can be a daunting and often overwhelming task, even for a seasoned investor. Whether you are living in your property or if it has been tenanted for years there are some key staging strategies that can help get your property open house ready. A good approach is to start with either the outside or inside one area at a time
1. Start with a change of mind
Too often investors/home owners become either too emotionally attached or not attached at all. We have seen investors who were renovating a property and blew their budget on some obscenely expensive tile they “had to have” and had nothing left for furnishing the home. On the other hand I’ve worked with landlords who did not see the value in painting a home that had gone through 3 tenants! Look at a property from a buyer’s perspective is key
Take a tour with a realtor or a staging professional and get some outside opinions on what areas you should focus your dollars on and what’s needed to get the maximum dollar for your property
2. Maximize curb appeal
The outside of your house should draw people inside. Neatly trimmed bushes, mulched beds, and weeded lawns all help make that crucial “first impression”. Freshly painted front doors with new mailboxes and visible house numbers are inexpensive ways to create maximum impact. Adding seasonal flowers or plants by the front door for some colour is another way to brighten up concrete steps or boring brick.
3. Choose neutral colour palette
Bold colours are great for living, but not for selling. Light and Bright should be your motto! Stick with a neutral palette like tans, taupes, greys and whites. Avoid dark colours, especially in small spaces (like powder rooms or small bedrooms). Keep the ceilings white to keep walls looking tall. Rule of thumb, if the walls haven’t been painted in over 2 years, now is the Time!
4. Let there be light
Lighting plays a vital role and is often overlooked when getting a property ready for sale. Dark hallways, rooms with little natural light, basements and bathrooms should be addressed. A minimum of a 2-bulb overhead fixture with maximum watt bulbs can transform a dingy area. There should be NO overhead receptacles without a light bulb! Consider adding pendant fixtures in dining rooms and eating areas. Big box stores offer affordable options such as brushed nickel or silver fittings
Adding ambient lighting is essential especially in areas where there is no overhead fixture. Adding table lamps and floor lamps will help brighten up any room and help your property appear as “light-filled” as possible.
This is the other main area that always increases the value of a home. It might cost you less to replace worn carpet or add new flooring then to leave it to the new home owners.
Most purchasers are looking for reasons to discount their offers. Flooring is one of the first things buyers see when they walk in. If their first thought is “I will need to replace these floors”, I guess they are discounting their offers $5000-$10000 for condos and $7000 – $15000 for houses. Doing the work yourself can cost you a fraction of that amount. Remember to use neutral colours that compliment most other colours
6. It’s all in the details
Replace all burnt out bulbs, touch up any nicks and dents in high traffic areas, replace torn screens and fix leaking faucets. De-cluttering is a must if you want prospective buyers to see the potential in your house. Some buyers can look past clutter and other simple just ‘pass’ as they can see the potential. This may mean packing nick knacks, dishes, paintings and such into boxes and putting them, along with unnecessary pieces of furniture into storage. Keep it simple. Focus on the pretty stuff. Fresh linens in the bathrooms, a bowl of fresh green apples on a kitchen island, fresh flowers on a dining table or in the entrance way.
7. Clean, clean, clean
This may seem like common sense, but unfortunately it’s still the one area owners tend to try and shortcut. This is the time to hire a professional cleaning company. Special attention should be placed on appliances, inside and outside of cupboards, baseboards and windows. Bathrooms should be scoured and if necessary use grout cleaner to get the tiles looking spotless!
8. Highlight best use of the space
You or your tenants may have liked to use the dining room as an office, but it should be shown with its intended purpose. Giving a room more than one function (i.e. guest room and office) is a great way to effectively show the space. In condos this becomes essential when space is at a premium.
Using small glass desks with a stool you can tuck in can creatively introduce a “work space” where one wouldn’t think possible. Adding a daybed to a den/office creates extra sleeping space. Determine what adds the most value to potential buyers in your neighbourhood and showcase the space accordingly.
9. Kitchens and bathrooms are the place to invest
If you have dated cabinetry, cracked and worn laminate counters, chipped or broken tiles, consider investing in repairing and upgrading these rooms.
If your budget is limited, changing cabinetry hardware to brushed nickel or silver knobs and handles will give it an immediate appeal. Consider painting cabinetry instead of replacing them.
Depending on the price point of your property it is often worthwhile to install stone counters. This immediately adds value and is very durable for long term use. If stone is not in the budget, consider a “stone– like” laminate counter. Re-caulking around sinks and bathtubs is a simple improvement that can greatly improve the look of a bathroom.
10. Vacant properties sit, staged properties sell
Statistics tell us that staged homes sell 2 – 3 times faster and up to 6 per cent more than unstaged ones. People perceive staged units that are well decorated as worth more. Professional stagers know how to highlight the features of the unit and distract from any “not so desirable” features.
If your budget is limited consider focusing on the main living areas and at least one bedroom. If you can’t borrow furniture and artwork, rental companies carry everything from furniture to linens. Just keep in mind that the goal is to show people how to use the space effectively.
Remember that 79 per cent of buyers have already viewed your property on the MLS; make sure that your property stands out among the competition!
Immaculate showing condition is your key to getting noticed quickly, receiving several offers and getting it SOLD!