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Staging to Sell

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Spring selling season is upon us and it's time for a refresher on staging tips. With inventory still high, and so many properties competing with yours, you will want to do everything you can to help your property stand out from the others.

Real estate expert Barbara Corcoran said recently during an interview that a buyer decides if he or she has interest in a property within 8 seconds of walking through the door. That doesn't leave much time to make a good impression! Use every second wisely by considering some of the following suggestions.

1. Curb appeal is important. When a buyer approaches your house, he or she makes the first judgment. Make sure your house is nicely painted. Repair that broken screen door. Tidy the front yard and plant some flowers. The buyer should feel drawn into the house and made to feel welcome by a warm and inviting entry hall.

2. Clear your house of clutter and personal belongings and scrub the house to within an inch of its life. Since your goal is to move out of the house, start packing today. Eliminate as many knick knacks as possible. Pack away any collections and replace photos of friends and family with neutral artwork. As far as cleanliness, everything should sparkle.

3. Straighten your closets and cabinets. Expect that buyers will open every door and cabinet. If your closets are packed to the gills, it will leave the buyer with the impression that the house does not have enough storage space.

4. Take the packing a step further and put extra furniture in storage. A sparse and simple approach to furnishings will make your rooms appear larger. Define a use for each room and furnish it accordingly. If you have a bedroom that has become a 'junk room,' pack the junk away and make the bed with inviting linens. It is important to show the buyer how the space can be used. When rearranging furniture, pull pieces away from the walls and keep in mind that you want to have a clear walking path between rooms.

5. A fresh coat of paint is inexpensive and goes a long way to making your home feel clean and fresh. Keep the colors earthy and neutral to appeal to the broadest audience. If you have a brightly colored room, consider re-painting it.

6. Shed some light on the subject. Open the blinds and turn on all the lights for showings. Bright spaces appear larger and overall create a positive impression. If you have heavy or dark drapes, consider replacing them with light colored window treatments.

7. Remove evidence of pets. When you are expecting a showing, pack up the pets and take a drive. That includes stowing away dog beds, crates and food dishes.

8. Make sure the house smells nice. Baking cookies before a showing makes the house smell yummy and inviting. This bit of advice is an oldie but goodie.

The common thread behind all of these suggestions is to present your home in as neutral a manner as possible so that the potential buyer can envision him or herself living in the property. While it is possible to achieve these goals on your own with very little expense, don't rule out calling a professional stager to assist you if you are feeling overwhelmed. Being a proactive seller will ensure that you have done everything possible to help your property rise above its competition.

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