Unfortunately sellers may not be aware of or don't realize the significance of staging or preparing a home before listing it on the market. It's unavoidable that the longer the house remains vacant on the market, the more other buyers are reluctant to put in an offer. They can't help but wonder, "What is it that others are seeing that I'm not seeing?" With the stigma of too many days on the market, the house may be beautiful but deemed more risky.
In a market where houses don't sell as soon as they are listed, the seller needs to consider how to make their house more attractive and stand out among the rest. They need to show their potential buyers the qualities of the house and make it easy for them to imagine themselves living there. The showings need to be seamless, free of obstructions, and showcase each unique and special feature of the property.
How much harder is it to envision yourself in a home that is cluttered, chaotic, and unhinged?
Here are some tips on how you can prepare your home for a successful showing and a swifter sale:
Do not forget the outside areas. The front yard is one of the first areas a buyer will see. This is your chance to make the best first impression. The backyard as well needs to be tidy and well-groomed. A maintained yard adds value to the house in the buyers' eyes. They will not be thinking of how much effort it will take to bring the outdoors to tip-top shape as they continue on their tour.
An uncluttered, welcoming entrance is critical. The entrance hall or area must be clean and inviting as the future buyers step inside. If you set the stage with strewn about shoes and your dog's trailing foot prints, the buyers will be less likely to concentrate on the beautiful chandelier above or the entryway built-in.
One of the most important features that buyers concentrate on is the kitchen. It must be sparkling clean and well lit. If that means installing some more light fixtures, please do, as you will reap the rewards afterwards. The kitchen needs to be free of clutter and all small appliances put away. The pantry should be orderly, and of course no dirty dishes in the sink.
The living room is where the new homeowners will spend a lot of free time with their family and friends. Buyers want the living rooms to feel spacious and relaxing. A fireplace is a plus, but it needs to be clean and well maintained. Spend a little money and time to get it touched up and repainted if need be. Open all curtains and let the natural light in to create a more airy space.
The dining room should be functional and comfortable. Set the table with two, four, or six place settings so the buyers can envision how big the space is and if it's accommodating for their family. Any built-ins, fireplaces, or large windows will only make the room more impressive, so make sure to make them a focal point.
The key to a desirable bedroom is the serenity and the promises of rest that it brings. So keep them uncrowded with few distracting elements. The beds should be positioned in a way that the potential homeowners can see how their furniture will work in the space and how spacious the area is.
Bathrooms are crucial to adding value to a home. They must be squeaky clean, all personal items put away, and all sinks and toilets need to be in good working order. The cabinets and drawers needs to be in great shape with all door handles, and any missing or broken tiles should be replaced. You can stage the bathrooms with fluffy towels, soft rugs, and spa-like accessories, such as nice soaps, scented candles, and bath salts.
Most important are the closets...just kidding...but in all seriousness, the sought-after trait of a closet is spaciousness. The new homeowners need the assurance of plenty of storage space. Pack up everything you are not currently using. With organization and space in mind, invest in cabinet dividers or install some more shelving.
Additional rooms such as studies, offices, and libraries are havens for books and paperwork. Start your moving process early and pack up almost all of it to eliminate clutter. Set each room up with the proper furniture and styling so that the potential buyers can easily envision the purpose and function for the space.
And last but not least are the hallways, utility rooms, laundry rooms, and basements. Make sure they are all extremely well-lit and safely organized. The last thing you need is your buyers tripping over the garden rake or your child's toys. Repaint walls and touch up floors to remove unpleasing spots, scuff marks, holes, and any wear and tear.
Remember the goal here is to make your home inviting, comfortable, and to leave a lasting impression on the new owners. If you want to get that higher asking price and a faster sale, showing your home in the "as is" condition with no improvements or preparations is the same as not studying for the test and hoping to pass. There is always an "A" student out there and they may just get the deal.