First impressions are very important when selling a home. A potential buyer will probably be in your home for about 5 – 10 minutes and while they won’t be able to specifically detect “defects” their subconscious will notice them and will cause them to either love your house or not. Staging your home for viewing can add value to your home, and in a poor market, be the difference between selling it or not. Most of the things involved in staging your home are not that expensive, but may take a bit of work. You will want to prioritize time and money spent versus impact. I checked the book 301 Simple Things You Can Do to Sell Your Home. It was a bit repetitive but the information seemed sound.
Removed half the contents of our house: We packed up and/or donated tons of things. We packed up almost all knick-knacks and cleared the counters in the kitchen of all appliances. We removed about five pieces of furniture. We stored the stuff we didn’t get rid of at our parent’s house, or in our garage (neatly). The goal was to have no clutter, and spacious walkways. Cupboards and closets needed to look like there was extra space in them, not stuffed to capacity. We cleared everything off all the kitchen counters. No toaster, no coffee maker, etc. Overall this makes the house look larger and more spacious.
Paint: Painting the entire house inside and out was a highly recommended task in everything I read. It claimed to be the cheapest way to improve the look of your house. It may be inexpensive, but it is very time consuming. Instead we scrubbed every single wall in our house and touched up every single chink and dent. This helped dramatically and basically looked like we had completely repainted. On the outside we did the same thing. We power washed the siding and touched up the areas that were fading.
Made repairs: We went around the house and fixed or replaced everything that was broken. This included replacing the faucet in one bathroom, oiling the hinges on all the doors, replacing the towel rack in the bathroom, replacing the laundry door that had a hole in it, replacing blinds that had broken. We also replaced the roof. This was the most expensive thing we did to prepare our home to sell. The roof was old and though it looked good from the street, when you walked on it we figured it probably would not pass inspection, so we decided to deal with it up front and not wait till negotiations with a buyer. Our carpets were in poor shape as well, but we decided to not replace them because we could make them look okay by cleaning them, and flooring might be something a buyer would want to choose themselves.
Yard work: We weeded, trimmed all the bushes, fertilized the grass, trimmed edges of the grass, put in fresh bark, power washed the driveway and basically made the yard look perfect.
Cleaning: We made everything spotless, which was hard to do with two small children. We hired a cleaning lady to do 6 hours of cleaning.
Decorating: We took down all family pictures and put up generic pictures. Supposedly people have a hard time imagining themselves in the home if they see evidence that it is someone else’s. Some of the pictures we used were pictures of animals I took at the zoo, others were things we bought at Goodwill. We hung up some curtains where we didn’t have any before. When the house was going to be shown, we turned on all the lights, and opened all the curtains so it would be bright and inviting. The house we bought had soft elevator music playing when we viewed it.
Here are some pictures to show how it looked.
If you find these posts useful and wish to offer monetary reciprocation I would gladly accept paypal donations or amazon.com gift certificates. Even just a dollar would be nice. ;)