WASHINGTON – June 6, 2019 – If you’re selling your house, the place has to look its best so buyers can see its potential and imagine themselves living there. That’s what home staging is all about.
A professional home stager will cost between $50 and $150 per hour, says Jessica Page, a broker with Innovative Real Estate in the Denver area.
The good news is that you can get it done for a lot less money. Page and real estate veteran Jennifer Radice of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Boca Raton, Fla., share these expert tips for staging your home at almost no cost:
Stash personal items
Packing away your personal stuff, such as pictures, sports memorabilia, even religious items, is one of the easiest, cheapest things you can do to stage your house.
“The reason you want to depersonalize your home is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home,” Page says. Prospective buyers may have a hard time envisioning themselves in the house if they’re surrounded by photos of your family.
“Pictures are extremely distracting,” says Radice.
Besides, when trying to attract a buyer, “you want the buyer’s agent to enjoy showing the home,” Radice says, because even if a particular buyer isn’t interested, the agent might represent someone who would be a good match.
Clear away clutter
Decluttering is another simple way to get buyers to focus on the bones of the house.
“After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it,” Page says.
Radice recommends clearing off kitchen and bathroom countertops.
“If you have kids, get rid of the toys all around the house,” Radice says. “For all you know, the buyers could be empty nesters.”
She suggests packing that stuff in boxes and neatly stacking them in a corner of the garage. Anything extra should go in a small storage unit. Even better, ask a friend or relative to stash your items at no charge.
Rearrange, paint rooms and give them purpose
Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a distinct purpose. Page suggests touring builders’ models to see how the rooms are furnished.
“Builders are experts on preparing their product for prospective buyers,” she says.
If your home has been painted recently, you’re ahead of the game. If not, take a paintbrush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint the interior of their home will see a large return on the investment, Page says.
Scrub and deodorize
No one wants to visit a dirty house, especially prospective buyers. So make sure your house is squeaky clean.
“When buyers see an unkempt home or smell something when they first walk in, they become turned off immediately,” Page says. “They can rarely see past it to look at all of the great features in the home.”
Radice suggests having the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless. She also recommends baking cookies in the oven, bringing cinnamon sticks to a slow boil in a pot of water or using air freshener before each showing. Ridding the home of litter boxes is a must.
Enhance curb appeal
“Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside of the home,” Page says. “It’s the buyer’s first impression of your home.”
Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk and driveway are free of clutter and debris, and make sure the house number is easy to see. You may need to pressure-clean your driveway and sidewalk.
Another valuable low-cost solution? Mulch. “It makes everything look trim and neat,” Radice says.
SOURCE: Copyright © 2019 Capital Gazette Newspapers, Melissa Neiman
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