As a Professional Home Stager serving the Orlando and Central Florida area, I have ample opportunity to view homes and observe what to do, and what not to do to sell your home. Below is a list that outlines the three biggest things you need to be aware of when preparing your home for a sale.
1. De-Personalize-Remove all items of a PERSONAL, RELIGIOUS, or POLITICAL nature. This means family trees come down, as do flags, framed pictures of the last supper, all of the framed family photos as well as pet photos. Your wedding photos, baby’s photos and last year’s family reunion all need to be packed up and stored until you reach your new home.
This is done to remove any negative feelings that could be stirred up by religious or political items. Remember, these things are near and dear to your heart, but they may not be to the potential buyer. It is best to keep these items tucked away as to not hurt your own chances to sell your home. You don’t want to be remembered as “That house that had all Jewish stuff in it.” This is an example, by no means am I putting down the Jewish people. Again, remember, it may be your home now but the point is for a potential buyer to come in and feel at home so they will make an offer. The same holds true for personal memorabilia. As much as you are proud of your child’s soccer abilities, the buyer doesn’t want to see that, nor do they want to see your wedding pictures and your six-year-old child’s baby photos. They don’t want to feel that they are visiting your home, but rather they could envision moving in and feeling at home themselves.
2. De-Clutter– I cannot stress this enough-cluttered homes look messy and dirty, even if they are not dirty! Clutter is an overabundance of stuff that usually doesn’t have a proper home and therefore gets shoved wherever it will fit. Do remove all personal toiletries from the bathroom counters as well as any prescription medication and cleaning products. This room should feel like a spa soothing and relaxing, not counters covered in toothpaste, kids bath toys, makeup and perfume bottles. Sadly, this is what I see a lot of!
Do not use a guest bedroom or office as a dumping ground! Streamline and remove anything that does not belong. Nick-knacks are what I think of immediately when I think of clutter. Tiny figurines, kitchen counters filled with canisters, appliances, dishes, plants all taking up valuable counter space. Clutter will kill your sale every time. Statistically 93% of buyers cannot see beyond bad décor, clutter, dirt, poor color choices and the like. Literally box stuff up, throw stuff out and try to make your home look more like a model show home for a few weeks rather than the really lived-in look.
3. Curb Appeal- Really I should have listed this one first because if a buyer doesn’t like the look of the outside of your home, there is a good chance they are not booking a showing to come inside! Sometimes less is more, so if you have lots of bushes and trees making your home look dark, creepy and unapproachable, you might want to call a tree service to cut them all back. Likewise, if you have not greenery your home will look boring and bare. Invest in 2 large urns and fill them with colorful flowers. You can have some cascading down the side. I recommend having one on each side of the front entry door and if you can, place a filled urn on either side of the garage.
Make sure your grass is cut well and edged and that all hedges are trimmed and even. If your grass is looking less than green try planting some grass seed all over and water well with Miracle Grow fertilizer. In less than 2 weeks new green grass will grow through. If it is a burnt patch, get out the green spray paint! I’m not kidding. In addition to this if you have a porch, add a park bench or 2 wicker chairs and a small table in between creating a cozy ambience. Don’t be afraid to use lots of colorful flowers and remember to water religiously!
Part of curb appeal is not just landscape but it is also the appearance of your home. Pay attention to the condition of the paint on your front door, shutters, and garage door. If it needs to be repainted, sand it and give it a fresh coat! You could also add a simple but stated wreath to the front door and of course a welcome mat.
**One Last Tip!** When having your Realtor take photos to display for the website and/or MLS, ask to check them out before they are posted. Sadly, the majority of photos I’ve seen are less than enticing. You want to look for photos that are light, bright and show the warmth of your home. I see photos of shower doors and small corners of a bedroom and terrible yard photos. You might think, well my home shows better than the photos so who cares. Well, you might care if you knew 75% of all homes purchased were viewed online first! What does this mean? You’d better have some darn good photos to get those buyers in for a look!