By Allison Moore of Warnock Real Estate in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Allison is a licensed real estate agent who has been selling and staging homes in Arkansas since 2014. As a Realtor-Stager, she combines a passion for the real estate industry, a background in marketing and an eye for design to help her clients reach their real estate goals. She currently serves as the Fort Smith Board of Realtors Vice President, is a graduate of the Realtor Leadership Academy and was awarded 2016 Rookie Realtor of the Year.
When getting your home market ready, staging your home can help get your home SOLD more quickly and for Top Dollar.
Here are my Top Ten Tips I implement when working with my clients:
Buyers want to know the home they are viewing has been well maintained and cared for. A dirty space can send the wrong message. You cannot change the location of your property or what the current market demands. You can however control how clean your property is when it is listed and for all showings. Give special attention to kitchens and bathrooms. These rooms help sell properties and they also can be the grimiest. If your budget allows, hire a professional cleaning service to do the job. If you tackle the work yourself, have a friend or neighbor come over to make sure something wasn’t overlooked. Don’t forget to clean the tops of appliances like refrigerators and range hoods, clean ceiling fan blades and clean the windows!
Buyers will look at every inch of your home. Overfilled closets and drawers give the impression that there is a lack of storage. If you have been procrastinating cleaning out the garage, bonus room or that entry closet that has become a catch all, now is the time. Sell or donate items you no longer need or use and pre-pack as much as possible. Pack collectables and seasonal décor. Edit closets and drawers so that buyers can easily see there is ample storage throughout the home.
Remove family photos and anything that has personal information such as framed awards, diplomas, etc. The idea is to create a neutral space that buyers can easily picture themselves living in. In addition, you don’t want buyers spending time looking at your vacation photos instead of viewing your home.
The way we live in a home and the way we market a home are very different. You may have two recliners that you love and are your absolute favorite but if they are taking up valuable space, remove one or both. When buyers enter a room, they immediately question if their furniture and belongings will fit in the space. Think about what truly makes sense in the room and what allows for an easy traffic flow.
If a home smells like pets or smoke, buyers may not get much further than the front door. Make sure there are no odors lingering in your home. It may be necessary to have rugs, drapes and furniture professionally cleaned. You can also rent odor neutralizing machines if necessary. Do not use perfumed air fresheners, outlet plugs or scented candles. Many of those irritate allergies. Open doors and windows and let the fresh air in to help neutralize any smells.
The objective when preparing your home for the market is to make it as appealing to potential buyers as possible. Neutral paint colors throughout helps make a home appear spacious and creates an easy flow for the eye. The eye stops when it sees color. While a pop of color for accent is good, it should be only used with accessories or art. If possible, paint walls a neutral color throughout.
Regardless if you use Incandescent, LED or Halogen bulbs to light your home, make sure to use the same type of bulbs throughout. This doesn’t matter for everyday living but can impact the outcome of the photos of your home. You want to avoid a mix of cool and warm tones in the same room. If you cannot use the same throughout, use one type in each room. For instance, if you have incandescent lighting under your kitchen cabinets, make sure to have incandescent in the other kitchen light fixtures.
Curb appeal is like the bow on the birthday gift. It doesn’t tell you what is inside but it makes you excited to open the box! You want to draw buyers to your property. A freshly painted front door or new mailbox can make a big difference. Potted plants or new house numbers can as well. Make sure the lawn and shrubs are tidy. If the exterior of your home looks a little tired, consider power washing or painting the trim.
Make sure each room and space in your home has a defined purpose. Buyers can be confused with what they would do with a space if it lacks definition. Highlight built in desks, alcoves, window seats and breakfast nooks for their intended purpose. Did you use the bonus room for storage? Now is the time to turn it into a home office or home gym. Don’t forget the outdoor spaces as well. If you have a sunporch or covered patio, show buyers how they can utilize those spaces.
According to Realtor.org, 92% of buyers begin their search on the internet. The use of a professional real estate photographer is critical. It may be the most important factor in selling your home. You know what they say about first impressions. You don’t get a second chance to impress potential buyers. You want to wow them at first look! Spend some time on-line looking at the homes listed that impress you and the ones that don’t. It is obvious to spot the ones snapped quickly from a Smart Phone. Even if you or your agent has the best camera phone available, it does not replace professional photographs. Good quality photos help to sell homes!
Allison Moore / firstname.lastname@example.org
House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com.