By, Janet Armstrong (Simply Swank Interior Design)
At this time of year a number of us will consider selling our homes for a variety of reasons: downsizing; upsizing; finding a more manageable space; or, simplifying living arrangements. This time of year is the most popular time to buy and sell homes and with a larger number of homes on the market than at any other time of year, you really want to make sure your home stands out. You want it to be memorable so it attracts as many buyers as possible from your target market and makes the most of the all-important first impression. If the initial impression of the property is positive, potential buyers will walk through your home looking for reasons to reinforce their positive feelings – reasons to purchase your home. And let’s face it, our home is typically the biggest investment we make so want the best possible price in the shortest time possible!
There are a number of ways you can make your home stand out from the abundance of homes that will be for sale at this time of year.
You want your home to flow and be as open as possible both visually and physically so that it appears calm and spacious. Do this by removing unnecessary furniture, bric-a-brac, piles of books, papers and magazines, clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, clear the entrances, clean out closets and edit your collections. You may enjoy your collectables but a select few items on a side table or dresser will make more of an impression to buyers than having the entire collection on display. Having your home as uncluttered and streamlined as possible will enable prospective buyers to envision themselves living there with their furnishings.
Your home should be in a good state of repair both inside and out. I’m not suggesting major renovations are necessary, but dripping faucets should be fixed, a fresh coat of paint applied to ensure neutral colours throughout your home (trust me, buyers will not appreciate your penchant for bright, vivid colours!), stained and fraying carpets replaced, broken hardware updated, etc. Repair anything that will make sure your home is presented in its optimal state so that buyers do not see a huge amount of work and associated cost.
Many of us tolerate the occasional dust bunny that takes up residence or the smudges that appear on our windows from pets and finger prints. But when selling your home, cleanliness and tidiness must be a priority, although you will learn to appreciate the dishwasher and oven as quick and easy hiding spots! Windows and doors should be cleaned inside and out, counters and floors washed, rugs cleaned, everything dusted top to bottom including all lighting fixtures and bathrooms sparkling and free of the numerous personal care items we seem to accumulate. This will keep prospective buyer’s attention on the home itself rather than the scrubbing and cleaning ahead of them.
Keeping your home light filled and bright will contribute to making it appear spacious and airy. When a showing is scheduled, open all draperies and blinds and turn on all lights (overhead and lamps). Buyers want to be able to see everything clearly, want to safely tour your home and you do not want them to assume dim lighting is ‘hiding’ something.
Where Do I Start?!
For some the thought of doing all of this work in preparation for listing their home for sale is an overwhelming thought. Engaging the services of a Home Stager can be a life saver for a variety of reasons.
Stagers are a fresh and objective pair of eyes and typically have a ‘team’ behind them that can assist at every step of the way. They will walk through like a prospective buyer and see features and aspects of your home that you’ve become ‘blind’ to. They can subsequently make recommendations to highlight interesting architectural features and suggest ways to downplay elements that may not be to everyone’s liking. They can make recommendations for any necessary repairs and updates, places to dispose of unwanted items and storage facilities that can be rented to store furnishings and items that are packed away during your decluttering. Stagers can also suggest ways to rearrange furniture that will maximize the space in your home and make recommendations for décor items that will make your home attractive and appealing to prospective buyers.
The cost of hiring a Stager depends entirely on the state of your home and the amount of work that needs to be done to prepare it for listing. But a recent National Associate of Realtors (NAR) survey found the average home staging investment is 1-3% of the home’s asking price which produced an 8-10% home staging return on investment as staged homes spend 72% less time on the market and sell for more. (A 2015 NAR survey revealed that 50% of staged homes sold for 10% more than unstaged homes).
Up to 90% of potential buyers search homes online first before going to see them. You want these buyers to select your home for an onsite visit and exceptional photos will make your home stand out. Staging your home enables the realtor’s photographer to capture its attractiveness and make it appealing to as broad an audience as possible.
While there are additional factors that affect the sale of your home, the suggestions discussed here can go a long way to ensuring you maximize the features and attributes of your abode. These ideas provide a handy reference guide for what you can do to make sure you attract those buyers that are on the hunt for their next home this spring. And at the very least decluttering, disposing of unwanted items and cleaning means your preparations are well under way for your upcoming move!
Creative Director Janet Armstrong is inspired by the use of timeless design and furnishings that provide the ‘bones’ of a room and building on this foundation she will create a new and personal look for you whether it’s a refresh of the entire room, seasonal décor updates or designing and completing your holiday decor so you are able to relax and enjoy the festive season with family and friends. She loves the challenge and unexpected that comes with re-purposing items well as having a wee bit of 'whimsy' in decor.
Janet Armstrong is a graduate of the Interior Design Institute and a member as well as Director on the Board of the Canadian Decorators Association (CDECA).