Nail the Details: Open House Preparations that Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Most real estate agents agree that there’s no substitute for a well-prepared, professionally staged house when you’re trying to sell. The term “well-prepared” covers a lot of territory (it’s much more than just vacuuming and straightening), and it’s easy to overlook less obvious details that can make a big difference with potential buyers who like what they see but can’t quite make up their minds.
Staging means presentation — creating an inviting and memorable impression on buyers both inside and outside. You don’t want to overlook a relatively minor detail that could have helped seal the deal if only you’d been aware of it. Discriminating buyers don’t miss much, and some people are more discriminating than others, so it’s important to cover every possible base during your open house. Consider adding the following tips to your staging to-do list if you haven’t already done so.
It’s Not About You
Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for buyers to envision your living space as their own, so don’t impose your family’s vacation photos and children’s artwork on them. Take down those bowling and hunting trophies — save them for your next home. You’re trying to create a blank slate, as nearly as possible, with minimal distractions, so take care not to over-personalize the place.
Clear the Clutter
A cluttered living environment is one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers. When they see clutter, they think they’re in a poorly cared-for house that may have other, more serious problems they’ll have to correct later on. Specifically, clutter refers to that disheveled look a home gets when things have accumulated over time, such as papers and documents, old mail, shoes, and excess furniture (as if objects have been left lying around because you couldn’t decide what to do with them).
Clear out anything you don’t need and haven’t used within the past year. Put any papers you still need into files so they’re out of sight. Organize closet space so all the kids’ shoes are put away and where they should be. Bear in mind that good traffic flow is one of the most important factors when selling a house, and buyers will definitely notice if it’s difficult to move from room to room because there’s too much furniture in the way.
Making a lasting impression usually involves adding a few small, personal touches. Make sure there are fresh flowers in each room on open house day, and consider laying out some appetizers or cookies and offer drinks (you don’t need to hire a caterer). It’s all part of showing people just how nice your home can look. You never know — if it comes down to your home and someone else’s, a buyer might appreciate the delicious chocolate chip cookies you served more than the bowls of stale pretzels they got at someone else’s house. It won’t seal the deal, but it creates a favorable memory.
Pay Attention to Storage
Sometimes, sellers get so wrapped up in cleaning carpets, rearranging furniture, and repainting that they neglect less obvious, but no less important, parts of the house. That would certainly include storage space — everything from the basement to your hallway and bedroom closets. Savvy buyers know to check these areas out carefully (closet space is an important factor), so spend plenty of time cleaning and organizing them.
Smells and Stains
A home with that “lived-in” feel will probably look and smell different to you than it does to a visitor. Stale dog smell might elicit fond feelings in you for the family pet, but someone wandering in off the street may wrinkle their nose, do an about-face and head for the next “For Sale” sign. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service if years of living have left their mark, which definitely won’t help sell the place.
Getting a house ready for sale is a big undertaking. Take care not to overlook some of the less-obvious detail work that can make a deep impression on someone who’s trying to make a difficult decision. Sometimes, little things really do mean a lot.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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