Setting the stage for a sale when you are ready to sell your house can be somewhat like romance. It really pays off to set the mood! Check out these 17 rules to go by from the pros:
- Make Room. Clear out unnecessary furniture. Put it in storage, give it to a local charity or have a garage sale. The goal is to make the house look open and spacious. Hallways and doorways especially need to be clear and open
- Counter Intelligence. Go through the house and clear off all the surfaces like kitchen and bathroom countertops. Counters need to be clear and clean.
- Follow your nose. A home should smell good. That means no noticeable odors; no pet smells, no stale cooking smells and no cigarette smoke. If you are accustomed to living with a pet or with cigarette smoke, have a friend whose judgment you trust give you a “smell test”. Scented candles, potpourri and air fresheners are also a no-no. The best way to get rid of odors is the old fashioned way - scrub, clean, replace carpet, etc
- Keep in mind, the next buyer is as lazy as you are. If the property needs work - wallpaper removed, fresh paint, new carpet - have it done now so that all buyers have to picture is moving day. The more changes a buyer calculates they'll have to make in the home, the more likely they are to pass it by.
- Do the baby test. Does your potential market include families with children? If so, ask yourself, if you would put your own child down on this floor to crawl around the room. If not, you know what you need to do. Likewise, if your walls have grimy smudges & handprints, it might be worth it to paint.
- Get rid of the cigarettes. Non-smoking Buyers are much more sensitive to cigarette smells, smokers don’t normally notice is as much. Having a smoker in the house will eliminate a lot of potential buyers. Many shoppers won't even want to tour a home if the owner is a smoker.
- Make your home ageless. There's a difference between an old house and a classic home. If your house looks 30 years old with 30-year-old paint, 30-year-old appliances and 30-year-old carpet, it’s a hard sell. Keep everything fresh and up-to-date and well maintained.
- Let there be light. For the most part, people enjoy space and light. Open the curtains and blinds and let the light shine in! If the weather isn’t cooperating with sunlight, use more flowers and things that suggest sunlight.
- Get a home inspection. Most buyers will have one done anyway. Do it now and make any necessary repairs before you put the home on the market. This cost of this service will vary based upon square footage, somewhere around $400. Doing an inspection will save you the heartache of a buyer backing out of the purchase because issues were found that you didn't know to get fixed.
- Learn to love neutral walls. When it comes to walls, color is popular. The problem is that the next buyer may not like the same colors. Paint is a relatively inexpensive way to make a house look clean and fresh. If you're going to repaint prior to selling, stick with neutrals.
- Take a close look at the carpet. Get the carpet shampooed to get out any stains or smells. If that doesn't work, replace it. And consider if you can, wood as an alternative. Wood floors make the house look larger and people love seeing that it has wood floors.
- Avoid controversy. If you have taxidermy animals on the wall, you might want to take them down. It will be a turnoff to some buyers.
- Clean your closets. Most sellers need to empty the closets of half the things they have in them. Partially empty closets look roomy -- and space sells. Do the same thing with kitchen cabinets. And if you donate your excess clothes and surplus food to a charity, you won’t need to worry about moving it to your next home!
- Harness flower power. Use flowers to create a happy space! If you’re showing your home on a budget, go for less expensive bouquets, green plants or seasonal flowers from the yard.
- Open the windows. If it's a nice day, have the windows open, conversely if it's cold and dreary, light a fire in the fireplace.
- Set your house apart. There was a real estate study in which potential buyers were shown many different houses in similar neighborhoods, all with similar features and amenities. The one house that stood out? A home that had yellow roses on the dining room table. People not only remembered the detail, but they rated the home higher as a result. Give your home a hook that makes it different from the others in a positive way.
- Keep it real. You don't have to go to extremes. You don't want it to look so staged that it looks artificial, what you want is for them to walk in and say 'I could live here.
The Omaha market is picking up but that doesn't mean that you don't have to stage your home. Staged homes sell faster and for more money in any market.