If the housing crash of 2008 taught us anything, it taught us that when the market is hot you need to sell, because the market is fickle. It can turn on a dime, causing your $300,000 home to depreciate by $50,000 literally overnight. Still, even when you know the importance of selling, it’s not always a smooth process: people either bite or they don’t, you can’t exactly force them to sign on the dotted line. Thus, it pays to increase your odds of making a sale any way you can. The best way to influence potential buyers? Staging your home for sale.
The Market Recovery
Home prices have been on the rise since the market’s recovery began. This year they continue to rise at a slow and a steady pace. This recovery has been felt far and wide, and houses all across the nation have increased in price. Even after the nadir of the crash saw median home values fall to $215,000, the recovery has seen them climb back up to around $300,000—good news for anyone getting ready to sell their home.
Making Your Home Say “Buy Me”
There are several things you can do to stage your home like a professional would. It all begins with removing clutter. The appearance of clutter will destroy a sale faster than the resident ghost making an appearance. This step not only involves cleaning your home—really cleaning it—but also removing anything that isn’t absolutely essential. Things like kids’ toys, storage boxes, and old computers should all be put in storage (or your parents’ garage) during the selling process.
What you should definitely avoid doing with your clutter is storing it in one room of the house. A room filled with junk makes the home seem less appealing by visually removing one useable room from the mix. So instead of turning your den into a jumbo junk drawer, empty it out and turn it into something attractive, such as an art studio or reading room.
Figure Out the Furniture
Another element that can make or break your home in terms of staging has to do with your furniture. Furniture that is arranged poorly isn’t going to benefit you; furniture that is pulled away from the wall and arranged into smaller conversational units will. If you reposition couches, chairs, and love seats into conversational groups, the traffic flow in the room will become more obvious. This helps give off the appearance that the space is more user-friendly and larger.
Use Light to Your Advantage
Another element of a home that can make or break a sale is the lighting. Most homes are lit improperly, resulting in an uninviting or dim aesthetic. To fix this problem, be sure you up the wattage in your lamps and overhead fixtures. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 100 watts for each 50 square feet of your home. It’s best to go all the way with lighting, rather than depending on one or two bulbs to do all the work. Be sure to focus on all elements: ambient lighting (general lighting and overhead lights), task lighting (reading lights and underneath cabinets), and accent lighting (table and wall lights).
Color Your Home Awesome
The final step in staging your home involves the painting: colors have the power to actually dictate how a person feels about your house. One way they do this is by making your home look and seem larger than it actually is. Painting adjacent rooms the same color or painting the walls the same color as the drapes will give an illusion of space, making the rooms look much more expansive than they are.
You should also stay away from very bright or daring colors; you may like them, but they’ll scare many home owners off. So, as you try to sell your home, let your colors be Switzerland, and let them revel in subtle neutrality.