When it comes to real estate, especially in times of financial downturn, you cannot always expect to be in a sellers’ market. Fortunately some experts are predicting a slow and steady recovery.
However, this shouldn’t mean that you just sit back and hope for the best. No, when it comes to listing your house you need to put your best effort in to attract motivated buyers.
The best piece of advice I can provide to you is to get your home professionally staged. Of course hiring a home staging professional can be expensive, but if you know what you are doing it doesn’t have to be. To help you get started I have put together this list of the top 5 home staging tips that won’t break the bank:
#1 – Organize it
As a professional organizer I know a thing or two about organizing. When it comes to home staging your top organization goal is to get rid of all that clutter. When someone comes to look at your house they want to see big, open, airy spaces and lots of storage space. Too much of your own clutter and all they will see is how little storage space is actually available.
Here are a few organization tips to get you started:
- Tackle one room at a time
- Go through all you belongings and organize them into three piles: keep, donate, and discard
- Once that is complete, go through your keep pile again. If you haven’t used it in over a year or more you will probably never use it again. You know what to do with it.
- Once you’ve taken care of the donate and discard piles go through your keep pile one last time. If you haven’t used an item in over three months, and think you can do without it for three more, pack it up and put it in storage.
It might be a daunting task, but organizing is one of the most important steps in staging a home and is absolutely essential for all those storage spaces such as closets, cupboards, and yes even the garage. And just think, when it comes time to move half your packing will already be done.
#2 – Fix it
The next most important, and relatively cost effective step is to tackle all those minor fix-it jobs that you have been putting off, like the dripping kitchen faucet or the closet door that keeps falling off the track. The last thing a potential buyer wants to see is all the work they will have to put in a house before they can move in. Even though it may cost you some, for those larger or more complicated jobs it is always recommended to hire a professional.
#3 – Refresh it
One of the cheapest ways to spruce up your home is with a new paint job. Pick neutral colors that help to accentuate the size of a room, making it look both clean and inviting. Also, if you haven’t had a remodel in a while your fixtures may be out of date. Although it can be a little more expensive than just adding a new coat of paint, updating the light fixtures, faucets and cabinet handles can go a long way into transforming your house into something that looks both modern and fresh.
Savoy House ceiling lights are an excellent example of fixtures that can completely change the look of any room around the house. These fixtures come in a variety of different styles, so you are certain to find one that matches your new interior decor. Savoy House lights are also highly versatile and will not look out of place if you make other changes to the room in the future. You can choose between units that support 40, 60, 75, and 100 watt bulbs when selecting your lighting fixture, giving you flexibility using light to set the mood in your home.
#4 – Clean it
Now this step should go without saying, but if you really want your house to look move in ready you need to clean it. I don’t mean just your everyday-dust-and-sweep kind of cleaning; I’m talking the full-fledged, the-Mother-in-law- is-coming-over-for-holidays type of cleaning.
Here are a few areas to really concentrate your efforts on:
- Floors: Make sure they are spotless. It is not as hard to keep hardwood, vinyl or ceramic looking like new, but it can be a little more challenging when it comes to carpets, especially if you have little ones and pets. For staging your home it is really worth the investment to get a professional carpet cleaning company in before your house is listed for showings. With three youngsters and three pets of our own our carpets can get pretty filthy so once a year I use the local Chem-Dry here in San Francisco. They’re fantastic.
- Ceilings and Walls: Even though you may have slapped on a new coat of paint it is still a good idea to wipe down all the walls and ceilings, making sure you get rid of all those cobwebs.
- Appliances and Fixtures: If you can’t afford to replace those old appliances you want them to look as new as possible. Remember, the idea is to make your entire house sparkle. So tackle that fridge, the stove and the dishwasher. Scrub that bathtub and toilet, clean out the washer and dryer, and take down those light fixtures to vacuum out all those fly carcasses.
#5 – Final touches
With all your clutter organized, the small repairs completed, a new coat of paint and a sparkling clean home that even Martha Stewart would be jealous of, you are just about ready. These final touches will help to set your home apart from the crowd:
- Open all the windows before guests arrive to let fresh air in.
- Buy fresh flowers and display them on the dining room table or the entranceway
- Place a bowl of fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) in the kitchen
- Purchase new bedspreads and pillow covers to be used for showings.
- And finally add a set of new, plush towels to all bathrooms.
Olivia C. Dunsworth is a Professional Organizer, Blogger and Super-Mom. She lives in San Francisco, California with her wonderful husband, three beautiful children, two loving dogs and one grumpy cat.