Leaving it to the professionals
There are many different levels of professional staging. Some cost as little as $300, and can go all the way up to $10,000 (those very large homes take a lot to furnish!). The variety of pricing options is enormous, so check with your Locations agent for details. Some professional stagers have a one-time fee, while others charge by month. Basically, the longer it takes to sell, the more it can cost you.
If your budget or preference guides you to decide to do it yourself, here are some helpful tips:
- Plan on planning – then plan some more. Get a picture of how you want your home to look like as a finished piece. Spend ample time working through each project and determining what you will need to invest.
- Resource management - Honestly gauge your resources before dedicating any of them to sprucing up your home. What tasks do you have the skills to complete by yourself? The time? The energy? If there is a need to bring in outside help, try to do the most expensive projects yourself.
Call a professional
- Shop around - If you need a contractor, get at least three independent bids so you can compare pricing and services, get everything in writing.
- Do your research - Make sure the contractor you choose is licensed and insured.
- Money talks – Talk with your contractor about payment options, making certain everything is in writing. Make sure the terms and pricing are what you’re comfortable with.
- Consult your agent - Locations agents have years of experience building relationships with trustworthy contractors they can recommend.
Go from the outside-in
- Stand in front of your property, or across the street, and take a good, honest look at your home. Take a picture of it so you can see how it will be seen by others. What can be changed or removed to improve its appearance? How’s the landscaping, paint and the driveway? Does it look easy to maintain?
- Consider all five senses. Smells and sounds are just as important as visual appeal. Your house needs to make a good impression, and not just on the eyes.
- Clean your lawn, focusing on the front yard and around the doorway since these are the areas that welcome potential buyers. Clean the gutters. They’re often forgotten about, and messy gutters are a sure-fire way to turn off buyers with a message of “this house is poorly maintained.”
- Remove the driveway stains. Remove the wear and tear of everyday use with liquid dish-washing detergent, paint thinner, or regular dish soap, a strong scrubbing brush, and some old-fashioned elbow grease. Sweep up all debris, both on the street as well as the walkway & driveway.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
- Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Consider what will be featured in the tour of the house and focus on improvements to those specific features. Don’t get bogged down by excessive and unnecessary projects that won’t be noticed.
- Replace the knobs and door pulls on kitchen and bathroom cabinets for a quick, low-cost upgrade. Sometimes a little touch can create an entirely new look.
- Change out light bulbs to brighten up the home. Bright lighting makes it look bigger and cleaner.
- New window treatments are another cost-effective way to add a punch of design flair. For low ceilings, position the drapes and valances higher on the wall to suggest the illusion of height.
- Replace key pieces in the bathroom to emphasize a fresh and clean appearance. Update shower curtains and toilet seats with crisp white replacements. Avoid patterns; they make the room seem smaller.
- Create a welcoming look. It’s the blank-canvas, uncluttered look that buyers love the most!
- Get the carpets cleaned. A thorough cleaning can freshen up the look, feel, and smell of the home. If they have had many miles, consider the cost of replacing carpeting or adding rugs.
General tips & tricks
- Before investing in new fixtures or additions, prioritize which projects need to be completed to best adapt your home to the current market.
- Don’t start painting the exterior, yet! Try a good power-wash, instead. You’ll be surprised how much dirt a house collects. Plus, you'll save the cost of all that paint.
- Measure the value of what you buy with what you need. A 10-pack of knobs might by cheapest option, but if you only need two, those additional eight are simply a waste.
- Professional cleaning will give you the final touch to make your home ready for the professional photographer, whose photos will be the deciding factor for buyers to view your home in person! Once it’s professionally cleaned, it’s also easier for you to maintain, since if you’ve prepared and priced your home properly, you’ll be in escrow and moving before long!
Time to get to work!
Now put these tips into action and present your house as its next owner’s dream home. Be mindful of what the buyer sees as they move through the property and emphasize the strengths in those areas. If you’re unsure of how to go about this, speak with your Locations agent and learn from their experience.