Staging Tips to Sell Your Home

Want to be the seller who goes to market instead of the one who stays home? The difference might be a few of the things you do before you put up that For Sale sign.

It’s a buyer’s market. Your house has competition, and that means you have to do some work to get it ready to sell. So while your home looks great compared to the neighbor’s foreclosure, it might not quite compare to that house a block over where, rumor has it, the owner clips the lawn with an electric razor. You don’t have to spend a ton of time or money. A few simple tricks can get you market ready in time for the start of the spring selling season, especially if you start now.

Make it shine. Step one to getting your house market ready: break out the cleaning supplies. Give your home a really good cleaning. The problem is that a lot of sellers might not have the same perception of ‘deep cleaning’ that a buyer would. For that reaason it may be worth spending a couple hundred dollars to have professionals come in and clean. Two places where clean can be critical for buyers are kitchens and bathrooms. Having those rooms clean and sparkling can make a huge difference in the perception of whether a house is kept up or not. Windows and baseboards are crucial. If you’re not replacing carpets, have those cleaned. The potential outlay for cleaning service and carpet cleaning is likely in the neighborhood of $300-$500 total. And it has a much greater impact than most sellers think.

Add square footage – free. Ditch junk and clutter to make your house look more attractive and spacious. A couple of pro tips – Laundry room: Make it neat and orderly. Your goal is to make it look like the room is plenty big enough for the job. Pantry: It’s for food only. Using the pantry for general storage screams there is not enough cupboard space. Garage: If it’s a two-car garage, make room for two cars. For a lot of men, if the garage looks small because of clutter there’s an issue. While you’re decluttering, you’re also depersonalizing. You really need the buyer to be able to picture your home as their home. A picture of your kids on the nightstand is not a big deal, but you don’t want the family portrait gallery lining the hallway.

Color it neutral. With paint, stick to neutrals. Personalized colors on the walls can be more of a negative than a positive when you put your home on the market. The mistake is the color selection. Opt for neutrals, which have broaker appeal. If carpeting is old and stained, replace it.

Keep plans practical. Keep any planned changes to the house reasonable and in character with the home and neighborhood. Don’t lie to yourself. If the hosue has areas that show wear, get that work done before offering the home. Seek a second opion from your agent or a potential agent. A real estate professional can advise you on what repairs or upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck. The price of your house is going to determine what hings you should do. For example, spending $10,000 putting in hickory cabinets and granite countertops in the kitchen of a home that lists in the $100,000 range is not necessary. In that price range, you wouldn’t get any more money for the house because of that improvement.

See with ‘buyer’s eyes.’ View your house from the buyer’s perspective. Pull up and stop right in front of your home, just like a buyer is going to do. Then let yourself in the front door, like a buyer is going to do. How does your home compare to others on the street? Is it inviting? Does it make you want to see more? Walk through the home with the eyes of a buyer. If you are buying another house, think about what you want to see in your new home. Pay special attention to the entryway. You want it to be open as much as possible. Look at the furnishings you have and err onthe side of less-is-more. When in doubt get it out. You want itto be open and bright with neutral paint.


About Karen Carpino

Karen Carpino is an interior designer and founder of Chicago-based Karen Carpino Design. A professionally registered interior designer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Carpino's clientele includes both residential and commercial projects. She brings you techniques, trends and tips in “Style At Home.”