Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Tips for a Well Staged Home

Today we have Jennifer Riner guest posting from Zillow.  If you're anything like me, you spend hours on Zillow researching your neighborhood, learning more about your home's worth and daydreaming about buying your next home. 

And with this process, comes prepping your home to sell. This topic is a very relevant one for me (and I'm sure many of you!) because we're hoping to sell our home in the next couple of years. As you all know, we've been deep in our remodel all winter with the hopes that it will increase our home value and we'll be able to sell it more easily when the time comes. And learning how to stage our home properly is the next step!

5 Tips for a Well Staged Home


By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

Staging homes to appeal to the widest audiences of potential buyers is tricky. Home sellers need to find the right balance between trendy, tasteful and traditional to best showcase their homes’ selling points. For most sellers, expensive home staging isn’t worthwhile because upgrades primarily benefit buyers and returns on major investments rarely exceed the costs of the improvements. While some conditions may warrant professional repairs, most homes just need sprucing up before listing.

Home Improvement

For simple, inexpensive, cosmetic upgrades, consider the following five tips.

1. Design the Yard Space

Curb appeal is the first thing house hunters see when checking out homes on the market. While bland landscapes may not necessarily discourage homebuyers from pursuing a purchase, lack of curb appeal does not attract anyone passively searching for a new home. Invest in a few potted plants and consider privacy solutions, such as fences or hedges. Make sure the exterior of the home is in good shape; pathways and drives should be free of divots and cracks. Repair broken shutters and depending on time constraints, consider giving the house a fresh coat of paint.

2. Keep a Neutral Color Palette

First impressions are tough to look beyond; especially when it’s challenging to visualize a different space. House hunters typically have difficulty seeing past paint color and furniture styles. Extreme hues can deter potential buyers because they aren’t able to visualize spaces as their own, and ultimately rule out properties as bad fits. Home sellers are wise to stick to neutral shades of beige, grey, white or black for walls, cabinets and floors. Bright green rugs are not going to sit well with the majority of potential homebuyers, so consider installing Pergo flooring or basic carpeting to widen the market for potential offers.

3. Update Old Fixtures

Change out old hardware in kitchens with new knobs and pulls. These are relatively inexpensive, yet noticeable upgrades which add to the general appeal of rooms. Broken, hanging handles make spaces look unkempt, and can be a red flag for potential homebuyers who are scoping out move-in ready properties. Dated or shoddy fixtures also indicate to buyers how well the property was maintained by its current owners, implying other features might require repairs. What does mismanagement of small fixtures say about the condition of internal plumbing and electrical systems? These are the types of questions homebuyers ask themselves during the home buying process. Avoid any speculation by keeping all aspects of homes in good order.

4. Restore Old Furniture Pieces

Even if a home isn’t being sold furnished, it’s still imperative to feature the space with the most complementary pieces. Well-designed interiors are important for attracting homebuyers, regardless of personal tastes. Rather than invest in new furnishings for staging, consider revamping existing pieces. Sand, stain or paint old dressers and bookcases. Reupholster damaged or dated fabric on sofas and dining chairs. These small, cost-effective improvements impress potential buyers and allow them to see how attractive and functional existing rooms can look. Similarly to wall, floor and kitchen color, adhere to neutral design schemes; avoid bright orange nightstands and purple velvet chaise lounges. Plus, after staging, home sellers have repurposed pieces to incorporate in their new apartments or homes.

5. Clean Thoroughly

Dusty floors and spotty bathroom mirrors are huge turn-offs in open houses. Easily avoid such drawbacks by wiping down all surfaces a few hours before an open house is scheduled to take place. Rent a steam cleaner to rid carpets of stale smells and dirt. Consider burning candles, baking cookies or spraying air fresheners to mask stale odors. Most importantly, safely put away personal belongings. Not only does proper storage protect homeowners’ assets, but a disorganized and messy interior tends to distract shoppers from the actual structure and layout of a home. Don’t let toys and clutter dissuade individuals from seeing homes at their full potential.

These five, quick fixes are designed to cosmetically enhance properties prior to open houses. However, all major systems, including electrical, plumbing and wiring components, should be appropriately upgraded and maintained before hitting the market to ensure the safety of sellers and buyers.

Thanks again to Jennifer for tips to properly stage your home. Anyone else have any tips to get a house sold? 

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