When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter a lot. But staging your home while you are still living there can be a bit tricky. You want to ensure that the house is in order at all times in case a potential buyer drops by. This will involve plenty of discipline and cooperation from the entire household. Here are a few tips on staging your home while you’re living there.
A general rule of thumb when staging your home for sale is to declutter about a third of your possessions. This will create more space in your rooms and closets, and make the house look less chaotic and more inviting. Find some cardboard boxes and fill them with the excess items from all the rooms, closets, and drawers. This includes all the stuff you don’t use or need anymore. Separate them into three groups: for giving away, selling, and donating.
Repainting the house will enhance its general appeal significantly. Go for light, neutral colors, in case the new occupants decide to paint over. A good way to go about this is to consult a painting contractor or interior designer. Most professional painters will be happy to offer color consultation advice. Take out any heavy curtains and blinds and replace them with sheers or any lightweight window treatments. You can even leave the windows uncovered, as long as it does not interfere with your privacy.
Keep the family room neat
The state of the family room can make or break a house selling deal. Make use of closed storage to keep the space neat. Put the kids’ play items and toys in a storage ottoman, basket or cabinet for easy containment, and ensure there are not more than one or two magazines on the coffee table. Sort out the mail as soon as it arrives, discarding the junk mail and keeping the rest in a basket or drawer. This will not only help keep the house neater, but it will also ensure privacy from unexpected visitors. Similarly, if you haven’t changed the address for your daily newspaper yet, be sure to move the copy to the recycling area once you are done with it.
Organize the bedrooms
The bedroom is usually one of the most cluttered spaces in the house, especially around the closets and nightstands. You can counter this by hiding items in a closed cabinet, or invest in a lidded basket that can retract easily under the bed. This can accommodate all your bedroom clutter, including creams, gels, journals, pens, reading glasses, tissues, and so on. At the most, there should be just one or two books around the nightstand, alongside your alarm clock and lamp. Anything else should be hidden from view, and remember to make your bed daily before leaving your bedroom in the morning.
Keep the kitchen tidy
The kitchen sink and countertops should be kept clean always. Limit the number of appliances on the countertop to one or two, if there is sufficient space, but keep them in good condition. Avoid keeping dirty dishes in the sink and instead place them in the dishwasher or wash them immediately after use. You can leave the counter dish drain on the counter during brief showings, if it’s neat and not interfering with the dishes, but it is preferable to hide it from view. The pantry should be kept neat and clean too, as buyers will probably open this door to check out the space. Leave just ONE scatter rug on the kitchen floor, preferably a solid color in front of the sink, and get rid of the rest. Too many rugs with different types of patterns can lead to an undesirable appearance on the floor!
Setting the Stage
Once you have packed away all the clutter and cleaned the surfaces, go through the rooms one by one arranging the furniture to make the space look presentable. Ensure that each room looks as vividly as it is supposed to be. This simply means that, if it is the family room, make it look like a family room. Take the focal points of every room into account, arranging these focal points to emphasize space and function. Take the bedroom, for instance, whose focal point is the bed. When a potential buyer is peering inside the bedroom from the doorway, the bed should not make the space look small or hinder the view. If that particular room does not have the necessary furniture that is characteristic of the space, consider renting or borrowing some furniture for staging purposes.
First Impressions count
The potential buyer will probably make up their mind within the first few minutes after entering. As such, the importance of first impressions should not be underestimated. The first thing that will catch their attention is obviously the driveway, immediately after pulling in. Ensure that any shrubs around are pruned and the kids’ outdoors toys are cleaned up. Plant some grass seed on the naked spots in your yard, lay fresh mulch, plant some flowers, and paint your foundation. The driveway is one of the most conspicuous parts of a home, and you want the prospective buyers to feel nice when pulling into the compound.
Complete minor repairs
Note down all the necessary minor home repairs like burnt out light bulbs, loose pieces, running toilets, squeaky doors, paint touch-ups, and wall nicks in a notepad. Most of these repairs are relatively inexpensive and simple to handle. In any case, the repairs have to be dealt with in the long run, so tackling them before parting with the house means that you will actually get to enjoy them as well.
Tackle the major repairs
Check if there are any kitchen appliances that need to be repaired, a leaky basement that needs to be fixed, or a roof that needs to be replaced. These repairs can be expensive, but since you are still living in the house, you may need to take care of them. Besides, once you decide to sell the house, you’ll be instructed by a realtor/inspector to solve the problems. In that case, it will be too late to enjoy the facilities and you’ll be literally paying for someone else to use them instead.
Remove bad odors
Removing bad odors from a house before selling it is one of the most underrated steps. Regardless of how beautifully presented your home is, if it has a bad smell, it will likely chase the buyers away. This will involve more than simply spraying artificial deodorizers or room freshening sprays, as these tend to fade away quickly and the solution is only temporary. Moreover, most people recognize that room deodorizers are normally used to hide an underlying bad smell. A better option would be to identify the source of the annoying odor and then get rid of it.
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